Many residents of Ferguson, Missouri were rightly angered by the shooting of an unarmed man by police. Protests ensued, and the FBI is taking a close look at it.
Protests are good. Show your anger, demand answers.
But for God’s sake, stop the looting and vandalism. No one looks at that and says, “Gee, those poor people must be right. Burning businesses that had absolutely nothing to do with the situation and stealing from them surely is the best way to get back at police who have gotten out of hand.”
These people may have watched Spike Lee’s excellent “Do the Right Thing” and decided that this is how you protest. (In the film, a young unarmed man is killed by police, after which the neighborhood riots and destroys local businesses). But even that film didn’t say that the looting and destruction was a good thing that should be emulated.
Martin Luther King had it right: Appealing to American’s sense of right and wrong is the way to get public opinion on your side, and that is what leads to change. Violence only creates enemies out of those who could be your allies.