Let’s not resort to violence

Violent protests are dark marks in many countries around the world. From social injustice to economic inequality, social issues tend to be deep seated and repressed for such a long time that it may take very little to release the anger, despair and desperation. Peaceful protests are a healthy way to get the attention of local and national authorities and politicians; a way to get the collective voice heard. The problem with peaceful protests is they may quickly turn into a riotous mob with the incitation from a single person. Race riots and the U.S. have a long and deadly history. The recent rioting in Ferguson, Missouri after the shooting of black teen Michael Brown by a white policeman, has dominated the national news. Those protests, however, are not the only recent riots to come from race relations and the misuse of police power. Take, for example, the Detroit Riots of 1967. They resulted in 43 deaths and lasted for six days due to the raid of a club in which dozens of black citizens were detained without provocation. The public became outraged and began to destroy the neighborhood in which the raid occurred. What happens after a riot? The answer is nothing. The same people who destroyed their own homes and livelihoods must return back to their workplaces and houses, clean up and go on with their life with little change resulting from their public outrage. Other riots, including the Rodney King Riots of 1992, which resulted in 53 deaths and the Oakland Riots after the Oscar Grant shooting, had similar results. Both of those protests dealt with the mishandling of black suspects by white police. The town becomes torn apart and the people are divided. Positive legislative changes may be the cure for some of the ailments cursing the under-privileged in this country. The citizens in the places where these race relations are thin would be better served by using their votes to put people in power that have the authority and know-how to make significant changes to their way of life. As Eric Davis, Brown’s cousin, put it, “Show up at the voting booths. Let your voices be heard, and let everyone know that we have had enough of all of this.”