Stop the Looting


Monday, June 8, 2020

George Floyd was brutally murdered. His death is just one of far too many innocent people at the hands of our police. It was awful, unjust, and an absolute travesty that finally woke many Americans up to our need for change. People all across the political spectrum were up-in-arms about the unnecessary cruelty that cost George Floyd his life. 

Nevertheless, by answering injustice with further injustice through violent riots, protestors are squandering our chances of coming together to make any meaningful changes.

Everyone agrees that George Floyd was wrongly murdered. However, rather than building on this common ground and solving the problem of police brutality and bias in the criminal justice system against African Americans as adults, many have decided to try and take matters into their own hands.

As of Saturday morning, seven people are dead in Louisville and one is dead in Detroit. Countless businesses in Minneapolis, Atlanta, Indianapolis, New York City, Dallas and all across the United States have been vandalized. Around 200 people were arrested in Houston on Friday night. Many innocent people have seen their livelihoods, cars, and even homes destroyed in the name of a perverted sense of justice.

People are right to be angry about George Floyd’s death and the history of police brutality against African Americans in the United States. However, acting out of anger and pure emotion will only make things worse.

As Michael Brendan Dougherty writes, “Riots are never a coherent or moral response to injustice, they just multiply injustices and the rioters themselves often suffer more in the long run.”

How does burning down an AutoZone and Target bring justice for George Floyd? How does destroying CNN and the College Football Hall of Fame do anything to further this cause? How does dividing the country over a case in which there was so much potential for unity and change benefit us at all? 

In short, such actions don’t help to unify us. Instead of working together to find solutions, many have decided to follow up on their complaints with violence rather than reason. Chaos and anarchy are not the answer!

As Dougherty again writes, “Look at the long-term studies done on rioting. Riots harm their communities. They don’t reform them. They often initiate a general spike in violent crime.” Americans of all creeds need to be willing to work together to figure this out, but rioting distracts us from the larger issue. 

In his Letter From Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. emphasized the importance of taking direct action in advocating for change. The reason so many Americans are upset with the looting and rioting is that there is no correlation between the actions of the rioters and the problem at hand.

Some might try to counter this sentiment with MLK’s famous quote that, “You deplore the demonstrations that are presently taking place in Birmingham. But I am sorry that your statement did not express a similar concern for the conditions that brought the demonstrations into being.” 

However, most Americans have expressed similar concerns about the completely understandable reasons for the riots. Unfortunately, few people are offering reasonable solutions as the question of determining what direct action entails is one far too few people are asking. What might some actual solutions that everyone can agree on look like?

First and foremost, accountability is crucial in preventing such deaths. Police officers like Derek Chauvin who are prone to violence need to be fired when it is clear that they are unstable. Chauvin had over a dozen complaints filed against him and had already killed a man while on duty in 2006. That is unacceptable.

Additionally, the screening and training processes police officers undergo need to be vetted and amended. In many places, police officers need only eight to twelve weeks of training! How can we expect them to know how to properly handle the multitude of difficult situations they encounter with so little preparation?

As for the riots, taking direct action might entail protesting in front of police stations and courthouses. Symbolism is powerful and a nationwide protest in which people kneel in solidarity in front of their local police stations would hold a lot of weight.

Change is necessary, but rioting only serves to hinder any progress we might make. Fighting injustice with more injustice is always wrong because injustice is not relative. Instead of sowing division, we should work together as Americans to condemn these brutal murders and fix the hurt.

Jonathan Voos is a baseball player and Political Science/Economics double major at Austin College, a private liberal arts institution in Sherman, Texas. He currently serves as Treasurer of the Austin College Pre-Law Society and is an active member of his church and his community.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Jonathan Voos

Jonathan Voos is a baseball player and Political Science/Economics double major at Austin College, a private liberal arts institution in Sherman, Texas. He currently serves as Treasurer of the Austin College Pre-Law Society and is an active member of his church and his community.

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