The Other Side of Peace: Violence and Looting in Ferguson


Admittedly, I haven’t said much about the violence and the looting in Ferguson. Sure, I’ve made some side comments that it’s not defensible, which I still stand by, but I haven’t really addressed it. Whelp, this new report from Jake Tapper at CNN gives me the opportunity to “muse” on it a bit.

Check it out here.

The video there is horrifying and appalling. Seeing people just storming the store and taking whatever they want and destroying anything in their path. Why? What’s the point? What’s your thought process which enables you to do something with wanton disregard for someone else’s property and livelihood? They are innocent. They have not aggressed against you or slighted you. It’s terribly hard to fathom or understand it.

“We don’t need these antagonizers out here,” said protester Jerrell Bourrage, who earlier grabbed one of the bottle-hurling demonstrators and told him to stop. “We need people who can stand out here to the side and still let your word be known.”

Along with Bourrage, others like the New Black Panther Party have tried to keep the peace. For instance, the New Black Panther Party was trying to get the few leftover protesters to abide by the curfew. No go.

There have been reports of “outside agitators” coming from as far as California and New York. That’s troubling. It would make more sense to me (looking at it from the outside) for the protesters to stick to the daylight because these “agitators” take advantage of the night to be more inconspicuous and start trouble. However, to be fair, prior to the chaos of the night, Tapper reported:

“Absolutely there have been looters, absolutely over the last nine days there has been violence, but there is nothing going on in this street right now that merits this scene out of Bagram. Nothing.

“So if people wonder why the people of Ferguson, Missouri, are so upset, this is part of the reason. What is this? This doesn’t make any sense.”

The violence and looting is incomprehensible to me, but so is the idea that all the protesters are looting. That’s a clearly a misinformed opinion, which allows people to turn their eyes away from Ferguson. In doing so, they also turn their eyes away from the scores of people that return in the morning to help clean from other people’s looting and so forth. The Huffington Post has many of these individual stories.



Courtesy of Ryan J. Reilly

 Update: NBC News just released this article. Far more people, 78 in total, were arrested than initially reported last night. However, with respect to the above point from some that these are “outside agitators,” consider this bit from the article:

A list obtained by NBC News shows that at least 78 people were arrested overnight at the protests in Ferguson, Missouri — more than double the total reported by authorities — and that the overwhelming majority of them were from Missouri.

Granted, it seems most of the offense are minor — just refusing to adhere to the state-mandated curfew — but they are mostly Missouri residents. Not outside parties.

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