Trading in humanity for violence

Burning. Turn the TV on to any major news network right now, and all you will see is a city engulfed in an inferno of hungry flames. It resembles more of a war zone than a community that once thrived.. The war zone was created by the warring individuals that live within its walls. It consists of the people of LA, Chicago, Detroit, and most importantly the people of Ferguson.

“I think one of the biggest things with riots is you have to look at the purpose they are trying to get across, and I think when you look at riots you find that the point has been lost and it becomes something else. It becomes riots out of a different issue,” history teacher Abigail Haselton said.

The people involved in riots lose their identities as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, or whatever they once were and become part of a mindless mob that lost its original purpose.. A fire that once raged for justice and for truth morphs into one of anger and fear.

How can anything good come of such destruction? According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, at least 61 people were arrested in the aftermath of the Ferguson riots, with charges ranging from trespassing to burglary. Some ten businesses were destroyed or damaged in fires.

“What [I saw that night] is probably much worse than the worst night we ever had in August, and that’s truly unfortunate,” St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said.

Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, who became the face of the police force as one of the few black officers in a position of authority, added that he was disappointed at the protesters’ reaction to the news.

“We talked about peaceful protest, and that did not happen,” Johnson told reporters gathered at the news conference, the Post-Dispatch reports.

“We definitely have done something here that’s going to impact our community for a long time … that’s not how we create change. Change is created through our voice, not the destruction of our community,” Johnson said.

Instead of a tale of justice and victory, riots often tend to turn into something more of sadness and destruction. This is especially visible amongst business owners, most of which are minorities. One TV broadcast recently showed a shot of an African-American business owner surveying the destruction of his store and plaintively asking, “How am I going to feed my kids?” Destroying the property, the livelihood of the people around is no way to get anything resolved or to get the intended message across.

How can we see what rioters are trying to prove in the midst of all the ruin and smoke they create? How can we hear their roars above the din of screaming children who cling to their mothers as they watch their city burn? How can anyone think to even notice what you stand for when all they see is the mess left in their wake?

You want to be heard? You want to be understood? You want to be respected? Take back your pens, trade in your roars , pick up your humanity and tell me what you stand for. Tell me what you want to change, and together we shall change it. With loud words, not loud actions, we may set the world on fire.