One of the things that has amazed me, during this time of violent riots and looting, are the number of people who are willing to profess affiliation with, affection toward, or sympathy for Black Lives Matter, Antifa, and various individuals currently “protesting.” I add the scare quotes to “protesting” because this stopped being about George Floyd after the first retail shop window was broken.
When private businesses and even homes were stormed and looted, this stopped being political and became criminal. When a wooden children’s playground in Upstate New York was burned in the night for no other reason than because “it was good to burn,” this was no longer about “justice.”
Right now, the “protesters” — really, violent anarchists, terrorists, and would-be revolutionaries — are destroying and attacking, not because they feel it will bring them “justice,” but because it’s fun. They believe it is fun to destroy. They believe it is gratifying to get payback. Look at the footage. When they beat innocent people who are trying to defend their stores (in some cases, killing them), they don’t look indignant or filled with righteous fury. They look happy. They look like they’re doing this, not because they need to… but because they want to.
It is unquestionable that among the rioters are Antifa agitators. Antifa exists for only one reason: to silence, through violence, anyone who disagrees with them. Any individual who expresses an opinion Antifa does not like is maligned and mischaracterized as a fascist. They then feel free to assault and even try to murder people they see as “fascists.”
The group is only a terrorist organization, and it is long past time that the government designate Antifa as such. But the composition of the rioters — their percentage of protesters, agitators, and opportunists looking to score free consumer merchandise by stealing it from shops — does not concern me. What bothers me are the people, even now, posting on social media, telling the world that these riots are good.
You’ve seen them. You’re friends with some of them on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media outlets. They are people desperate for a pat on the head and to be told they are good allies, professing their affiliation for political groups who don’t want them. They are the ones owning themselves on social media by raising their “power fists” to the sky in alleged solidarity one moment as other people’s buildings burn… then sniffing in outrage when the mob gets to their neighborhood.
There is evil aplenty to go around in the United States. Criminality knows no color; racism and prejudice know no creed. Bad people come in all shapes, sizes, and races. Pretending otherwise is misguided at best. But there remain foolish people who think looting and burning will have some positive outcome. It won’t. Yes, a government should be afraid of its citizens. But when the citizens themselves become afraid of their fellow citizens, society unravels.
Without exception, without qualification, every last one of the people right now expressing support for this violent rioting, this widespread looting, these vicious mob assaults, is doing so because he or she is not directly affected. I understand that good people hate racism. That’s a decent person’s perspective on racial matters. And while they mean well, it is disgusting to watch people who’ve committed no crime — who are guilty of no overt or even indirect racial prejudice –subordinating themselves to people who feel entitled to threaten violence in the name of their outrage.
Our society cannot function in an atmosphere of anarchy and mob violence. There’s a reason that in places of extreme lawlessness, warlords and strongmen inevitably rise to fill the power vacuum. Anarchy never lasts long; it is always replaced with a kind of feudalism, where human beings — desperate not to spend every waking moment anticipating attack — rally around any figure or group that can offer them security (no matter what the cost). So, too, these race riots cannot persist… because those under threat will first cry out for, then beg for, then demand extremely violent counteraction no matter how many rights they must give up.
This is why we’ve seen video of National Guard firing paint balls to drive innocent people from their porches to inside their homes. This is why we’ve seen police vehicles ram through protesters on the street. This is why we’ve seen police, already accused of brutality, turn to increasingly heavy-handed responses. They are living under the day-to-day threat of being murdered, regardless of their individual guilt or innocence. Small wonder, then, that they lash out with greater force to eliminate the threat.
Our citizens are no different. They’ve suffered these last several months through quarantines and lock-downs. They’ve watched their savings and their jobs evaporate. They’ve lost their freedom to assemble, their freedom to worship, their freedom to live their lives and even interact with other human beings. Now some of their fellow citizens are rampaging through the streets, threatening innocent people’s livelihoods and homes. Worse, our very ability simply to live our lives and be left alone is now under threat. No human being can live that way for long. He or she will either demand that something change… or take action, often recklessly, to make it change.
Every one of you who right now is expressing sympathy for the riots, solidarity for the burning, sympathy for the looting… your opinion will change when they get to your block. When the rioters are marching down your street, targeting your home and preparing to destroy your life, you’ll realize you were wrong. You’ll realize this isn’t a political protest anymore. You’ll discover they don’t care whether you consider yourself an “ally” to their cause.
They want to destroy your property. They want to steal from you. They want to hurt you. But at this point they want to hurt you, not because they need or even want to be heard, but because they enjoy it.
And they don’t care if you die, or your life is ruined, while they have their fun.