Why Riots Are Counterproductive
On Tuesday May 26th, Minneapolis erupted in chaos as demonstrators gathered to protest the unjustifiable murder of George Floyd by a police officer. As the protests heightened, so did the violence.
The protests quickly devolved from a peaceful gathering to a violence filled riot. Shortly after the riots began, stores such as Target and CVS were looted and vandalized, while others were set aflame. The rioting did not officially end until Friday May 29th, and that point the riots had moved on to other major cities around the country such as Nashville and Atlanta. The riots themselves raise some questions: are riots justified and are they productive?
In short, riots can be justified if the right targets are being violently protested against, but the way they are conducted in the United States are in no way justified in the slightest. As for the productivity of the riots, I see nothing but further discord and animosity being sowed by the riots themselves, therefore, I do not see them as productive.
-Black owned business destroyed by the riots.
With that being said, I do think there will be some needed legislation that will possibly be aided by the riots, but I am more inclined to believe the legislation will come due to the murder of George Floyd and not so much the riots because, as I will explain later, riots tend to illicit a negative reaction against them rather than forward their political goal assuming there is one to be found.
The point of a protest is to make a political point about a perceived injustice whether that be an unlawful killing, a bad law, a wrongful firing, etc., and they are used in order to make a public scene without causing harm to those not involved in their plight.
Similarly, a riot can be used to make a political statement, in which the riot would target a specific entity and violently assail it until it is brought to heel.
An example of this would be more or less a miniature insurrection against a tyrannical government in which the mob assails the leaders of the tyrannical regime but leaves those who were not involved unharmed. In that case think of the Italian people creating a mob and executing Mussolini in the streets. That had a direct political message and it went after the correct target.
Then there are just riots for the sake of rioting. These are heinous acts committed by violent people without a purpose and without a specific political target. Rioting without a political motive or target is just random acts of violence done by a mob of which hurts everyone and everything in its vicinity. Take the riots I mentioned above, none of them have anything to do with what the death of George Floyd of which supposedly led to the original riots in Minneapolis.
If they were, then private businesses would not be getting destroyed and cash registers would not be the prime targets of the rioters.
The fact that rioters are using the guise of protest to commit robbery of uninvolved parties shows these are unprincipled people with evil intentions. They claim to decry police brutality specifically against blacks because it is racist, yet many of their targets have been black owned businesses.
That is the problem with unorganized protests. They devolve into riots and riots in most cases have no meaning or purpose. They are simply an excuse to loot and destroy.
-The destruction of private companies like Mcdonalds (see above) have no positive impact whatsoever.
There is no point being made by the riots and it does not draw anybody to your supposed cause. Focused protests can bring attention to an injustice. Riots bring attention to just that, the riots, and given the uncontrolled violence of the riots, there is no plausible reason for anyone to sympathize with them.
To the contrary, it will cause people to fear them. Just as a tornado causes everyone in a community to cower in fear because a tornado shows no bias in what it destroys, so will riots as they too have no bias in who is attacked.
The very people the riots are supposedly liberating will be the ones who despise them the most. According to The National Bureau of Economic Research, the riots of the 1960s had a large negative impact on Black Americans’ income, employment and property values over the short and longterm with virtually no rebounds over the following decade. If that is the case then not only are the riots empirically destructive and counterproductive, they are also just simply evil.
Blacks are disproportionately hurt by the riots, so what how would the riots possibly bring them over to the side of the protesters?
Even if they agree with the premise of your protest, they will choose the route that appears to lead to further prosperity whether the original message of the protests are addressed or not.
The protests were usurped by detrimental riots that will have turned the very people it is supposedly helping against the protesters. Because of that no positive will happen. People understand that there are precious things in this world and those things are life, liberty and property. The unlawful destruction of any one of these things will lead to a powerful reaction from those who were wronged. And the people who were wronged are law abiding citizens, it can be assumed the reaction will come at the ballot box with the election of law in order candidates who will strengthen the power of the police not diminish it.
The proper response to an injustice is to peacefully protest the people and institutions that have wronged you while using your voice at the ballot box to elect leaders who will work to reform those institutions. Attempting to incite gorilla warfare among major US cities is only going to postpone needed reform until the next tragedy.
Moral of the story, by rioting you are not advancing change, rather, you are inhibiting it, and the impasse you have helped to create could have unintended consequences