Don’t excuse reprehensible violence in the name of some ‘greater good’. And don’t let the violence perpetrated by a small minority become the defining narrative and drive division.
Yesterday we have seen the best and the worst of Boston: First a weekend of peaceful protests and solidarity against government overreach and police brutality: protests against the continued economic shutdown, that is destroying livelihoods, as well as protests against the murder of George Floyd by a police officer, and against the continued injustice it has become a symbol of. Later, we had to witness a night of violence, rioting and looting. People getting hurt and private property being destroyed, innocent business owners and their employees, who are already put under enormous pressure by the government-mandated lock-down, receiving another blow - all under the eyes of Police and National Guard.
It was predictable that rioters would use the earlier, peaceful protests as a pretext to wreak havoc. The anger over the injustice symbolized in the agonizing murder of George Floyd as well as the killings of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, the penned-up emotions from months of lockdown, the desperation in the face of economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the flawed government response to it, have created the type of climate that is so often the trigger for rioting and sometimes used as a cheap excuse for this type of violence. And while riots and looting have been a common scene across the country accompanying the protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, we have to note that in Boston they are somewhat special: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and other elected officials in the state have appeared to at least negligently encourage this kind of mob violence, while slandering peaceful protests that went against their agenda, or in some cases going so far as promising non-prosecution of violent offenders.
There really is nothing to justify the attacks we have observed last night in Boston or the often even worse violence that occurred all over the country. There is really no way one can justify for example a mob beating up an elderly store owner in broad daylight as seen in Rochester, NY. Everyone with an intact moral compass will be disgusted by these brutal assaults. Yet, we should not fall into the trap of allowing the violence perpetrated by a small minority to become the defining narrative. We can observe first hand the scramble by corporate media and the duopoly parties to own the defining narrative around the riots. And everyone can find something that confirms their preconceived views and biases: There is real anger that finds its outlet in rioting, there is real looting, I am sure there are just-for-fun rioters, it is likely that groups of different political ilk are trying to stoke the riots for political gain, there are just plain criminals who use it to even a score, and yes, it is plausible that even agent provocateurs are involved in some cases. So if we are honest, no one is going to get their clean story. The reality is, that any attempt to glorify anything here is going to be based in lies and end in fiasco.
What many people appear to be missing, is that this pattern is what keeps the same cycle of change-prevention alive. Rioting is false and just serves as a justification for expansion of government control, and making it the main narrative is the catalyst for that. The saddening and outrageous death of George Floyd in a city run by Democrats for generations, in a state run by a Democrat Governor, demonstrates that there is no real ‘lesser evil’ between the duopoly parties. In reality, rioting is merely a symptom. We have to address the underlying disease in our society, and that is government overreach. Stand up against violence, call out those who riot, don't let the rioting become the defining narrative. Don't let the symptom get in the way of treating the problem.
To paraphrase Libertarian Congressman Justin Amash: Let’s not confuse the protesters in Boston with the rioters in Boston. Two different groups with different agendas - one righteous and the other perverse.
The injustice that so many are feeling in different ways is caused by one problem: government overreach. People on either side of the traditional political divide are realizing that they are merely pawns in the establishment’s play for power. As Libertarians in Massachusetts, we have the opportunity to stand against that and lead by example guided by our principles of Self Ownership and Non-Aggression.
It is unacceptable, that property is being destroyed and innocents are being hurt. And the killing of black men must stop.
Tune into a conversation with Vermin Supreme on current issues at the Libertarian Nuts and Bolts show Episode #1 on Thursday, June 4 at 7 pm.