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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Let me explain how rioting works so that you understand what the problem is. When parents leave a young child alone in his room, the parents expect that child to play with his toys and just generally follow the rules. We can use playing to represent protesting. If the child does not play with his toys and just sits there, then the parents assume something is wrong and they ask the child what the problem is and they take action.

If you have a job and part of your protest is to not go to that job, then you are harming the economic foundation of your community. More than likely, the government or some group in a position of authority is going to try and find out why a large group of people peacefully walked off the job and determine what it will take to get people back to work. In that instance, peaceful protest using some sort of leverage is extremely effective in getting things done.

Now, if that child starts throwing his toys around and breaking windows, mirrors and bedroom furniture, then the parents are going to discipline that child severely. They may ask what is wrong with the child, but they really do not want the answer. They scold the child, they punish the child and then they repair the child’s room. If the child has another outburst the next day, the punishment gets more severe until the parents are eventually forced to have the child restrained and possibly put into some sort of facility.

If children up and down the street start destroying their rooms, then the parents are not going to stop and ask why they are doing it. The parents are going to want the destruction to stop and all of those parents may have to have their children restrained and put into some sort of facility.

Gandhi was able to remove an entire empire from his country by convincing his people to stop working. All Gandhi and his followers did was peacefully demand independence and, after a while, they got what they wanted. The violence, in that situation, was perpetrated by the British. And, in the end, the violence solved nothing. In reality, it was the peaceful protest and the ability to stop commerce that got things done.

Look at the pictures of the rioters and looters in Oakland, Ferguson and wherever else this is happening. The people are smiling, they are laughing and they are from different races and ethnic backgrounds. This rioting isn’t about justice. It’s about people doing their Christmas shopping early and oh, by the way, wouldn’t it be cool to watch this building burn?

Do you know what the rioters in Ferguson accomplished? The people who worked at the Family Dollar in Ferguson, people who were more than likely living paycheck to paycheck, have no more paychecks. Happy Holidays to all of the Family Dollar employees in downtown Ferguson, Mo. Your gift is that you and your family can now wonder if you will become homeless and hungry by Christmas. Why? Because some selfish and weak idiots wanted a free armful of DVDs and their 10 seconds on CNN.

Cornell Brooks is the president of the NAACP. He is a person that we would expect to be a voice of reason in all of this chaos. When CNN showed Mr. Brooks the video of Michael Brown’s stepfather telling everyone to burn down Ferguson after the grand jury decision was announced, Mr. Brooks had the irresponsible audacity to blame the stepfather’s actions on Officer Wilson.

The NAACP had a chance to be a voice that calms the people but, instead, it continued to incite riots. CNN is also inciting these riots by putting the rioters on television and turning riot coverage into a new reality show. The NAACP and CNN should both be held liable for any damages done in these riots, but they won’t be.

What do I think? I think there was enough reason to at least have a trial. But it was not my decision to make. In the 1960’s, rioting actually had a purpose. Back then, rioting was African Americans striking back at a society that had been striking at them for a very long time. That would also apply to the riots of the 1970’s. Even if you don’t condone riots, you have to understand real anger when you see it and that was real anger.

There is no real anger in these riots. These are opportunistic thugs who just want to get on CNN and destroy a few buildings. The free televisions and Air Jordans are just perks. These riots have no purpose and no substance. Rioters should not be happy people. Real rioters are angry and destroy with a purpose.

These Ferguson rioters, no matter what city they are in, are weak. Should people be protesting against police brutality? Absolutely. It is a real problem that needs to be addressed all over the country. But rioting only proves that the people of this country are not ready to be left to their own devices. Rioting only proves that this new generation (as most of the rioters I saw looked to be 30 years old or younger) feels so entitled that they think they can destroy and loot for fun and it is just fine.

I think part of the punishment for every rioter should be to have to apologize to the single mom who works 60 hours a week at the McDonald’s or Family Dollar that the rioters just burned down and explain why they just ruined her family. I would love CNN to broadcast that live and show people the real effects of that.

But they won’t.

Nick Oliver is a Niagara County resident who thinks that rioting is about as staged as a WWE championship match. His column appears every Wednesday and does not infuriate anyone to the point where they would riot ... yet.

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