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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 17, 2018

End the violence, stand for peace

By Bryce Kelly | Aug 19, 2016

Baton Rouge, Ferguson, Baltimore, Dallas and now Milwaukee. Violence, blatant racism and destruction has swept the country in the last two years at alarming rates, and has left many asking, “When does it end?” I have been asking myself the same question for a long time.

On Saturday, the violent riots erupted once again, this time in Milwaukee, Wisc., following the fatal police shooting of an armed 23-year-old black male who made threats against police before he was shot in an act of self-defense by law enforcement. Despite the fact that very little was known about the actual incident at the time, rioters quickly organized and took to the streets, setting parts of the city on fire within hours. Businesses were indiscriminately razed to the ground, police forces who have moved in to try and stop the vandalism have been assaulted with gunfire, rocks and bricks by rioters, and in some cases, seriously injured. To make matters worse, rioters have looted and stolen from area convenient stores and shops, and even assaulted journalists.

And if the mob’s actions weren’t horrific enough, reports from the ground of some of the rioter’s verbal messages towards outsiders were very clear. On Sunday evening, as several large crowds gathered for vigils, the environment quickly turned from peaceful to violent with protesters shouting expletive-laden rants towards onlookers and passersby.

“What the (expletive) is that white guy doing here?” a protester with Black Lives Matter (BLM) was reported shouting to white vigil-goers near the scene of the original shooting.

According to reports from multiple news sources, BLM protesters also threatened a number of journalists, particularly white reporters, vowing to physically “beat the whites” and chanted for white people on the scene to “get the (expletive) out of here.”

Violence, vandalism, and racist threats - all this was done in the name of wanting justice for black Americans and other minorities? It looked a lot more like a group of people calling for one thing, but acting more like hypocrites. With all that has transpired in Milwaukee, I have to finally say that enough is enough. Enough with the violent and turbulent assemblies.

As it has been the case thus far in Milwaukee, as well as at other similar riots across the nation, at the center of much of this upheaval has been the aforementioned group, BLM. The self-called social justice organization’s website says they are dedicated to “ideological and political intervention in a world where black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”

Now, I can get on board with much of that purpose statement. I believe that all human life is valuable and important, and in relation to this country, all American lives are valuable and equally important to the makeup of the United States. Additionally, I do believe, sadly, that racism and prejudice exists in this world and has for a very, very long time. It is wrong on every level, and yes, it should be something that is condemned when it raises its ugly head.

Now, let me be clear, many of these so-called protests are in fact riots. A number of national news outlets have labeled these violent and vandalism-laden acts as “protests” but that is far from the truth. Peaceful protests and the like are every American’s right to partake in. It’s our Constitutional right to speak out against injustice, but it should be done in a manner that is respectful and above reproach.

Now, I am not suggesting that all those involved in BLM are partaking in this uncalled for behavior, nor am I saying that all its leaders are spurring it on. However, I do want to see all BLM leaders speaking out against violence and vandalism during their rallies. I want the movement’s leaders to stand with people of all races who are just as concerned about issues of race relations and prejudice as the leaders themselves claim to be, and open up civil discussions that can get these issues moving in the right direction.

So, let me pose this question to BLM leaders: When does the violence and injustice end on your group’s part? As leaders of such a large movement, BLM leaders need to publicly denounce these racist and violent acts by BLM members, and stand up boldly for justice and peace for all people.

BLM leaders, do you really stand for justice and equality, or is the violence and criminal behavior that have taken place at many of your events acceptable to you? Are you approving of this debauchery or not? The blatant truth is that if you don’t speak out against it, I have to assume you are for it.

The longer BLM leaders stay silent and allow this to go on unchecked and unchallenged, the more people will begin to discredit the movement all together. For some, the discretization of BLM has already been solidified, and I cannot say I blame them.

I want to believe that BLM is for justice and the Constitutional rights of all Americans indiscriminately, but the continuing violence towards police and the usurping of peace for the sake of causing chaos is not allowing me to do so. BLM leaders and members, please, take a moment and realize that the increasing unlawful and destructive behavior that has come from many of your events isn’t moving the country in a positive direction. It only divides us further.

Stop the violence. We must all work to end racism and prejudice on all sides. Love one another and vow to raise up a generation of Americans who want to do the same. If we can’t come together and respect one another, we will all die as enemies. I want to leave our country better for our children than the way we found it. What about you?

 

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