Peaceful demonstrations, even riots, can be understood from the perspective of minorities immorally discriminated by the legal injustice of public segregation, as in the America of the 1950s and 1960s. Martin Luther King Jr. called for non-violent freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly, but using the excuse of a probably illegal and tragic shooting of Michael Brown on August 9, 2014, and "longstanding racial tensions" to perpetrate violent riots, associated with pillage and plunder, in the America of the 21st century is inexcusable.
In fact, the FBI and the Justice Department, shortly after the incident occurred, announced a "civil rights investigation" of the shooting; Amnesty International sent investigators and trainers on nonviolent-protest methods to local activists; and President Barack Obama immediately expressed condolences to the family and dispatched Attorney General Eric Holder to Ferguson, Missouri. The U.N. Secretary General has called for restraint on the part of the police in responding to the riots, ensuring the protesters' civil rights and "the right to peaceful assembly." But that is not what is happening here!
The moral high ground of using the issues of racial tensions and civil rights are lost, frankly, when an inexcusable but isolated police incident is used as a pretext to create mayhem and perpetrate arson and vandalism, not to mention looting and seizing private property — robbery!
As the incident unfolds, it becomes obvious that pillage and plunder are now the real issue — not civil rights and "longstanding racial tensions"— at least for the greater part of vandals creating mayhem, terrorizing and robbing the good people of Ferguson!
Miguel A. Faria Jr., M.D. is associate editor-in-chief and a world affairs editor of Surgical Neurology International and author of “Cuba in Revolution — Escape From a Lost Paradise.”
This letter to the editor was published in the Macon Telegraph on August 25, 2014.
For the follow up to this article, see Let's not make any more excuses!
Copyright ©2014 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.