People Damage over Property Damage: Contextualizing Riots

I think this is the last thing I have to offer on the Ferguson riots 2.0:

Ferguson has a long history of problems between the police and the community. It’s so typical and common that it’s become more than a climate of ongoing tension. It’s become a given.
Then Ferguson had a child shot, Michael Brown.
Then Ferguson had no immediate action on that murder.
Then Ferguson listened to every leader, pinned every hope on peaceful protests.
Ferguson did that for 100 days virtually without incident.
Then Ferguson watched an imbecilic, corrupt process unfold in the handling of the murder of the child that couldn’t even be bothered to be slick this time.
Ferguson watched that for months.
Then Ferguson stood outside with the murdered child’s family in the cold for hours waiting for an outcome from a process so mishandled that the outcome surprised exactly zero people anywhere.
Ferguson watched that family lied to and disrespected by the law about notification.
Then Ferguson watched as a smug prosecutor acted as a defense attorney, essentially confirming what the entire world could already see.

And then – THEN – Ferguson burned up some property.

You can only push people so far before they break. I am not condoning rioting. I am empathizing with the people who have to live and suffer under all of the conditions that made a riot inevitable. I am choosing to focus more on the cause than the symptom. I am choosing sympathy. I am choosing acknowledgement. I am choosing to see people’s suffering as suffering. I am choosing to see dead bodies – everywhere – instead of insurance claims. Every ounce of energy you spend decrying property damage is energy you don’t spend focused on why the property got damaged.

I am choosing people damage over property damage.

2 thoughts on “People Damage over Property Damage: Contextualizing Riots

  1. I have greatly appreciated the thoughts you have shared about Ferguson. They are heartfelt, well thought out and clearly presented. It’s easy to demand others take the high road when you are the cause of their suffering. Thank you. People first.

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