Doh! Another unpopular opinion. It’s really easy to get lulled into a false sense of comfort when most of our friends and/or social media contacts are like-minded people and will agree with pretty much everything we say. We’re simpatico, ya know, we think in lock-step. And we’re individually intelligent people, we think these things through, and we sincerely believe we have come to the best conclusion, right?
But do we always come to the best conclusion? Sorry to say, no we don’t. Quite often, too often, we let emotion get in the way. Take the graphic here, which has been seen in various forms all over social media of late, since George Floyd was murdered. “If you are more upset seeing looting than you are by seeing a black man murdered, you are part of the problem.” Long story short, you have been shamed by the person who posted this because you don’t prioritize tragic events the same way they do… and their conclusion is correct, of course.
They say the murder of the black man is tragic and important… and guess what, they are correct. It IS tragic. It never should have happened. The man’s life was important. There are multitudes of reason why this happened, from systemic racism to utter failings of the justice system that allows police to do this with usual impunity (qualified immunity), and many other reasons in between. No debate from me.
The next part is comparing it to looting and rioting, which to be fair many people have condemned, including myself. The implication here is that property is not as important as people’s lives, property can be rebuild and replaced. Again, agree. No debate from me… as far as that goes, but it’s incomplete.
It’s either lying-by-omission or intellectual dishonesty, or some (probably subconscious) combination of the two. You want to talk the importance of people? Let’s talk the importance of people, minorities, poor people, yes let’s talk about them and how looting and/or rioting affects them.
- When businesses burn, people who NEED these jobs for survival and to feed their families are now suddenly unemployed. Any government safety net or charity will pale in comparison.
- Large corporations will usually rebuild reasonably quickly, but it will still be probably six months minimum. That’s a huge burden to the employees. You know, the poor people and minorities you claim to care so much about.
- How about “mom and pop” businesses. There’s no guarantee they will rebuild at all. If they can, insurance issues may take a year or more. Mom and Pop will be out of an income in the mean time, as will what few employees they have. And if they can’t work it out, everyone loses their livelihood permanently.
- More deaths. I don’t have a source because all the numbers I’ve read vary, but as of this writing I have read between 11 and 17 people have died as a direct result of the rioting/looting. (I suspect those are split between citizens and police.) Are those people not important? Equally important as George Floyd? Less important? You tell me. You made the claim.
- Don’t forget people’s lives disrupted by injury, who now… if they still even have a job… might lose their job and/or have serious medical bill to face.
Stop. Think to the logical conclusion. It’s not that simple.
And spare me the outright lies that change has never been achieved without violence. Some significant examples of successful peaceful protect include the Women’s Suffrage Parade of 1913, the Medals Heard Round the World, the Singing Revolution, the Conflict of Orders, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington, all of which can be read in 5 Times Peaceful Protests Made a Difference in History. You could also mention the Salt March, the Delano Grape Boycott, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and so on. There’s plenty of examples.
Peaceful protest will not bring change tomorrow, and that’s not emotionally satisfying, but neither will violent protest.