Looters and violent protestors bury legit message


Reuters photo

Ferguson rioters express their displeasure in the Grand Jury decision.

Protests are still going throughout the country after a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict Daniel Pantaleo, the police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner. “I can’t breathe,” the last words Eric said before he died after being placed in a chokehold by officer Pantaleo in July, have become something of a mantra for activists everywhere in the past days and weeks. These protests gave fuel to fires started after the grand jury did not indict officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Crowds of protesters gather in New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh and other cities across the country following both decisions.

While the message of the protesters (most of them, at least) is a righteous one, and while many of the protesters are going about things the right way, with peaceful protests, the sad truth is that the intended focus – men dying unjustly – is being buried under an avalanche of scenes of riots, looting, and more violence.

In some places, traffic was stopped, shut down completely, on major freeways. More than 200 people were arrested in Manhattan. In Boston, subway service was disrupted when protesters stood on the tracks. Demonstrators gathered on Boston Common and shouted, “Justice now,” during the city’s lighting of its Christmas tree.

Kudos to the protestors who are staying peaceful with their actions. Sometimes the natural reaction is to fight, and to yell, and to scream, and to destruct. And many have done just that, setting back the fight for equality and fairness in doing so. The protesters who have acted with dignity and love are the ones who might, in the end, make a difference – if they are not drown out by their more violent counterparts.