It was bound to happen, and it happened. What exactly happened is unclear, although one side claims some men with guns were defending a gas station while the other side claims they were just random vigilantes looking for a fight. Either way, it happened.
Three people were shot early Wednesday, two fatally, law enforcement officials said, during a chaotic night of demonstrations over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black resident whose children were nearby as their father was shot this week by a white police officer.
Was this a story about Jacob Blake’s children or three people being shot? Julie Bosman’s lede is conflicted, as she can’t bring herself to report the news without reporting the narrative in the same sentence. While this isn’t the cause of anyone being shot, being killed, this doesn’t help prevent anyone from torching businesses, smashing cars, and being shot.
— Anoncat Ⓐ☂️🏴 ➐ (@anoncatanoncat) August 26, 2020
The argument continues to rage over whether destruction of property is violence, or only harm to a person is violence, even if that includes words that some ears prefer not to hear. It was a stupid argument before, an absurd rationalization to justify rampant destruction, rioting, looting in the course of “mostly peaceful protests” so that no force could be used to prevent rioters from destroying property.
That wasn’t going to work. It was never going to work. And it doesn’t work for either side, even though there is no reporting in the media of the violence done by rioters, since the media’s good guys are the good guys, and what sort of moral clarity would the media have if they made the good guys look bad?
The police have tear gas and rubber bullets at their disposal. Others do not. The police have shown remarkable restraint in many instances, though some would call it neglect of duty, while others are outraged that they are preventing burning down courthouses as others engage in mostly peaceful protests inches away.
But Kenosha isn’t Portlandia. It doesn’t relish its reputation as “weird.” While angry people wearing black wanted their moment of protest, others wanted something else.
Many protesters left the area, but others lingered and walked to a gas station several blocks away. There, a group of men with guns stood outside, promising to protect the property and verbally sparring with the arriving protesters. As the night stretched on, the gas station became a tense gathering spot, with bystanders watching from parked cars and people milling around in the street, arguing and occasionally shoving each other.
Where are the words about businesses burned? Where are the words about the people whose lives were wrapped up in those businesses that had nothing, even in the most twisted delusion of the most passionate protester, to do with police abuse or racism? Just some “people milling around in the street, arguing and occasionally shoving each other.” And then some crazy right-wing militia-type nut starts shooting these mostly peaceful protesters.
The needless killing of any person, and particularly of black people, must end, but these riots and rampant destruction were never the way to accomplish it. It was an invitation to more violence, and now there are two dead bodies to show for it. These are not likely to be the only dead bodies. And no, NO, the cry that the defense of property never justifies the taking of a life will not prevent this from happening. It’s a defense of life, not an excuse to destroy.
The question now is how this can end. Will the rioters stay home because they don’t want to be the next dead body? Will the shooters stay home because they fear anarchy in the streets by empowered rioters who lack the maturity to grasp their outrage feeds reactive outrage? Is the point to end blood in the streets rather than add to it?
Stop making excuses. Stop arguing that your side is more righteous than their side. Violence and destruction, despite the cries for mayhem by the stupidest activists among us, only beget more violence and destruction. It won’t bring anyone back to life, and it won’t stop the next person from being killed. This has to stop or there will be more dead bodies.