Peaceful Protests

The events that have unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri since the August shooting of a black man by a white police officer has brought forth many emotions. The recent decision of the grand jury not to indict the officer has inflamed many. Those emotions have kicked into high gear in that divided town, and led to looting, fires, and vandalism since it was announced recently. The media has certainly not helped this endeavor, it seems to many that the media attention isn’t so much focused on what can be changed or how things might be resolved but instead has only served to get certain people riled up.

Lawyers for the Brown family maintain they are not ruling out a civil suit against the police officer, who also recently quit his job. The family is upset about the outcome of the grand jury decision. And they have every right to bring a case against the officer by pursuing legal avenues. Other citizens also have the right to protest against what happened, particularly if those protests are peaceful. Unfortunately, there are those that have opted for drastic and damaging methods. The violence that has erupted is frightening and quite frankly, not very constructive. As many have said, more violence is never the answer. And the citizens who have had their businesses looted and burned will probably agree with that statement.

Real change is not attained through looting, fighting, and burning down neighborhood businesses. In fact, those are the very things that hold back progress. A large group of people that are intent on destroying things will not actually help the cause. It will however, often lead to an arrest and charges that could possible alter someone’s life course – and not necessarily in a good way.

There is a time and a place for those who want to enact true change. Unfortunately, there are many who are very misguided about when that time and place is. Destroying your neighborhood doesn’t make a valid point – it only hurts you and those around you. Too many of those who are using violence as an attempt to be heard are misguided and will only succeed in perpetuating a cycle that is doomed until positive change and real avenues of communication and direct dialog can be established. But that also requires a fair amount of listening – something you can’t do if you’re throwing a molotov cocktail through a window.