In the above video from Reason.tv, protestors in Ferguson, Missouri, rationalize the looting and property destruction which has taken place in the wake of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by police. Asked “Do you see a problem with the destruction of private property…,” one protestor stated unequivocally:
No. I believe that the only reason we have this attention is because of the looting and rioting.
Another expounds with a unique perspective:
I’m a business owner. So I understand both sides. Of course I wouldn’t want my – any of my businesses burned down, broken into. But without these businesses broken into, none of y’all would be out here, because that’s the only reason people tweeted. People Facebooked. People Instagramed. If it was just a peaceful – everybody get together – you know, “Justice for Mike Brown” and everybody leave, we wouldn’t have the national attention we have now, and it would be swept under the rug.
It’s an attitude toward violence which has been more overtly articulated by agitators on the political left. Consider this Salon article covering Occupy protests in Oakland back in 2011. Protest organizer Michael Spencer rationalized rioting in much the same way the above protesters have:
“Property damage is not violence,” said Spencer with a frown. “The reality was, no cops got hurt. It looks like more than it was. They were just burning shit in the street.”
Such is the quality of thought which manifests in riots like those seen in Ferguson. Whether Michael Brown’s killing was justified or not, the question will not be settled by stealing things, breaking stuff, or “burning shit in the street.” Indeed, any legitimate criticism of police conduct losses its impact when coupled with open disregard of justice as such.
So, sure, you might get more attention from looting than you otherwise would. But it does no favors for the cause.