In the past few days, the police have murdered another innocent person, George Floyd.
The public, rightfully upset, started peaceful protests. The police used tear gas against peaceful protestors, even though that is considered illegal chemical warfare under the geneva convention. People grew more upset. A confirmed police officer struck out the windows of a local Auto Zone, even though peaceful protesters tried to stop him. This escalated into full-scale riots, looting, and the burning down of a police station.
While this was going on, Derek Chauvin, the officer who killed George Floyd sat comfortably in his home, guarded by an army of over 200 riot police. To the police department's credit, they did fire this officer and the three others involved. But this wasn't enough. The mayor and the DA refused to even issue a statement that the officer would be arrested or charged, with the excuse that they needed to conduct their investigation first. If any civilian had choked another person to death, in front of several police officers and with video footage, they would be sitting in an 8 by 8 foot cell waiting for their first hearing. They would not be sent home and protected by police until the investigation was complete.
Then they attempted to cover this up. The coroner stated that although this man died struggling to say "I can't breathe" with the weight of four police officers on his back, that it was not the officers that killed him. The coroner said it was his underlying health condition. By this statement is almost feels like they would defend a position that if it weren't for the police, George would have died that day anyway.
After many nights of riots, the police finally arrested one officer. Only one.
Nightly riots continue, and targets such as large corporations, CNN's office in Atlanta, ATM machines and small businesses have been the target of vandalism and theft. But why?
There are a few things I want to point out. There are plenty of protestors who are taking advantage of an already violent situation to steal for their own benefit. Others are angry and don't know where to direct their frustration, so they follow what others do.
But something keeps bringing me back to the confirmed police officer who started breaking windows across from the police station in Minneapolis. Following the broken window theory, all it takes is a few broken windows for people to lose respect for their environment and commit other crimes. As we have seen, this can spiral out of control quickly. Police who develop tactics for crowd control know this. So why did they break the first windows?
The initial protests were correctly targetted at the police station, the building that houses the people responsible for this murder. Had things escalated there, they would have lost their control over the population. None of their arbitrary rules would be enforcible. and they would have no place to take petty criminals. There would be no leadership to follow and no orders to obey. They must protect their power structure at all cost. If they can direct the violence away from the buildings that hold their power structure and towards buildings of lesser importance, they can allow people to release their built-up anger, but resume their reign of power when the smoke settles. They will also be viewed as the good guys by many, as they help to put out fires and rebuild.
Consider also that the big corporations aren't sweating. They can always rebuild and likely have insurance, but power can not be rebuilt like that. Corporations also have the help of the government to rebuild with bailouts. Bailouts are paid with money stolen from the people in the form of taxes. If the government loses its power structure, and people no longer fear the consequences of refusing to pay those taxes, then no taxes will be collected, and the power structure can not be rebuilt so quickly.
A line has been drawn, where we the people are on one side, and the government is on the other. They have declared war on us by sending their law enforcers into our neighborhoods to enforce laws we don't want, and using any violence necessary to that end. To prevent us from defending ourselves in this war, they have convinced many of us that the war is not between those in power and the people, but between different groups of people, where the government only serves to protect us. This is a dangerous lie that contributes to the misguided retaliation of city-wide riots.
I don't want to say that I condone the use of violence, but I can't say I don't share the frustration of many people rioting. It is important that we remember that these riots also take down small businesses that are owned by the community. Looting might be stealing from your neighbor who is on the same side of that line. But we have to understand that this confusion is intentionally created by government manipulation. We need to understand who has declared war against us, recognize why they refuse to acknowledge their own acts of violence as crimes, and see that they want us to obediently direct our response to each other instead of at them, the people who executed the first attack.