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What’s the point of rioting?

A+St.+Louis+police+officer+in+riot+gear+is+on+duty+during+protests+in+St.+Louis+after+the+Jason+Stockley+verdict.
A St. Louis police officer in riot gear is on duty during protests in St. Louis after the Jason Stockley verdict.

A St. Louis police officer in riot gear is on duty during protests in St. Louis after the Jason Stockley verdict.

Paul Sableman/Creative Commons

Paul Sableman/Creative Commons

A St. Louis police officer in riot gear is on duty during protests in St. Louis after the Jason Stockley verdict.

Erika Schoemehl, Editor In Chief

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Former St. Louis City police officer, Jason Stockley was found not-guilty in the murder case of Anthony Lamar Smith. When the verdict came out, peaceful protests broke out, as well as violent riots. There is nothing at all wrong with people correctly exercising their first amendment right; however, rioting is completely wrong and not excusable in any way.  

After the ruling was announced, the city of St. Louis experienced, and is still experiencing, peaceful protests involving people who are correctly exercising their First Amendment rights, and then there are people who are choosing to go out at night and loot, vandalize, and harm police officers and fellow citizens, these people have no right to do what they are doing, and I feel bad for the peaceful protestors who are actually trying to do something to change something they very strongly believe in; however, the people who choose to riot, very unfairly overshadow the voices of those peacefully trying to enact change.

We all remember “Ferguson” and how much of a mess that was. People destroying their own communities by setting things on fire, looting and vandalizing local businesses, and causing bodily harm to police officers and civilians. The same things have happened post-Stockley verdict. A small group of violent individuals chose to use the ruling as an excuse to destroy property and further strain community-police relations.

In the first weekend post-verdict, more than 100 individuals were arrested, those being arrested are not peaceful protesters, they are violent people who have absolutely zero respect for the people and property around them.

While the violence of riots is a terrible thing and never tolerated, there is always a silver lining in everything. Since the rioters broke many windows of businesses, and even a window of  Mayor Lyda Krewson’s house, the community banded together to make things a little less terrible than they seemed. Many people volunteered to help board up windows, and not only did the windows get boarded up, but the boards got beautifully painted by volunteers.

There is never an excuse to destroy property, or loot, or for no reason cause harm to another human. What those rioters do is actually the exact opposite of what the peaceful protesters set out to do. Who gets the most news coverage, not the people who are actually peacefully working and correctly using their voices to enact a change they believe in. So, to those people peacefully protesting: you have all my respect, keep doing what you are doing; to the people violently protesting: think about how your actions are negatively affecting your relationship with the community, and how rioting does nothing but create new problems, it solves nothing.

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What’s the point of rioting?