Cuz, it ‘raises awareness’

Bob Collins: Why is looting a response to a police shooting?

This is apparently an earnest question by Collins, if not a somewhat naïve one. Insofar as I am somewhat easy to caricature and will be at odds with that caricature here, do note that in this missive there will be no confusing attempts at irony from me.

It’s not obvious that policing in this country isn’t abysmal these days. Here, the police say the suspect was shot in a tussle for the gun. Eyewitnesses say the suspect was running away, quite possibly with his hands up.

If the police are lying, there’s a typical, systemic potentiality that the county prosecutor and internal review boards will sign off on that lie and not pursue action against the officer. And this potentiality would probably withstand the contact and monitoring of the victim’s family alone.

But if the community riots, they have ‘raised awareness’, and made it hard for the prosecutorial apparatus to credibly acquiesce to a police cover up.

It’s like whistle blowing, and these people in this community don’t have much leverage with their local political institutions. I’m not sure rioting isn’t a completely rational response.

Updated to add:   They started out the first night with some looting, and that was probably spontaneous.  But it’s been followed by some very effective street theater and protest.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2014/08/12/ferguson_s_motif_protestors_with_arms_raised_asking_police_not_to_fire.html

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5 thoughts on “Cuz, it ‘raises awareness’

  1. pm1956

    An expression of anger and frustration?

    Particularly if you feel that official channels/ways to express opposition are shut down

    Reply
  2. Joe Loveland

    “It’s like whistle blowing, and these people in this community don’t have much leverage with their local political institutions. I’m not sure rioting isn’t a completely rational response.”

    Thought-provoking take. I still struggle to understand the whole trash the community to speak out for the community approach, and think some, maybe most, in the mob have impure motives. But there is also some of what you’re talking about here.

    Reply
      1. Joe Loveland

        I can’t know what is going on in folks’ heads, particularly people living a very different life than I am, so am just speculating. I imagine there is some of what you’re talking about going on, and that has a noble side of it. But in those mobs there are also probably latent criminals being oppotunistic, and spontaneous young knucklehead adrenalin junkies being spontaneous young knucklehead adrenalin junkies (see college campus post-game riots). I just don’t know what the proportion of each group it is. I hope most are in the first category, but I’m not sure they all are.

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