If you're a little confused about what's going on in Charlotte, North Carolina, allow me to explain: a black cop shot and killed an armed black man, so a bunch of black rioters decided to burn down a black neighborhood and loot black-owned businesses in order to protest racism against black people. Make sense now?
No, I suppose it doesn't. There are many questions that immediately come to mind. Questions like: Why are they claiming Keith Scott was unarmed when all of the evidence clearly shows he had a gun? And no matter if the shooting was justified or not, why are they shouting "white cops are devils" when the cop who shot Scott was black? And even if the cop was white and even if all white cops are devils (which seems unlikely, theologically speaking), why are they destroying their own community in response? And perhaps the biggest and most confounding question of all: Why are we still calling this sort of brutal violence, mayhem and criminality a "protest"?
Police fire teargas as protestors converge on downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
At this point, it seems like too strange a coincidence that literally every single Black Lives Matter "protest" involves chaos and bloodshed. I almost said it "descends into" chaos and bloodshed, but that wouldn't be quite accurate. After witnessing this play out in cities across the country for the past couple of years, I think we can now officially declare that chaos and bloodshed are the point, not just unfortunate byproducts; not the result of an otherwise peaceful demonstration "devolving" into something decidedly less peaceful.
The media keeps saying — as it has reported about every BLM riot before it — that Charlotte "started as a peaceful protest" and then became violent. But that's like claiming a drive-by shooting "started as a peaceful jaunt through the city" until the passengers starting firing indiscriminately out of the driver's side window. That may be true, in a certain sense, but the drive was always leading inevitably and purposefully to the shooting part, just as these "protests" are, from the beginning, merely a staging ground for savagery, looting and destruction. The riots are not aberrations. They are not surprising and unexpected developments in the midst of otherwise peaceful demonstrations. They are planned, coordinated and widespread. And they seem to only be getting worse with each successive incident.
Last night, a person was shot and nearly killed by another "protester"; businesses were looted and vandalized; journalists were viciously assaulted; swarms of people ripped cash registers out of stores and grabbed fistfuls of cash; white bystanders were brutalized; roadways were blocked and motorists were attacked; a white pedestrian was stripped, kicked and dragged through a parking garage; rocks and bottles were thrown and several police officers were injured; and so on. Perhaps the most disturbing incident happened when a group of "protesters" set a fire and seemingly attempted to throw an unconscious photographer into it.
That's where we are now with these "protests." They're trying to burn white people alive in the middle of the street. One can only imagine what would happen if a group of maniacs at a Tea Party rally attempted to incinerate a black man. Well, I think we all know: The Tea Party would be forcefully disbanded, outlawed, declared a hate group, and all of its leaders would be in federal prison by the end of the week. But when Black Lives Matter does it, we're told that we have to understand the "hurt" and "frustration" of these poor, misunderstood people. If they torch a couple of honkies here and there, no big deal. It's just a little collateral damage in the fight for social justice. Besides, who are we to judge? These people are mad. They're mad because they heard a black guy was shot by a white cop while sitting in his car reading a book. Yeah, sure, it turns out the "book" was actually a gun, and the white cop was actually black, but that doesn't matter. Stop focusing on the details, bigot. They're upset, OK? That's the point. And sometimes you burn down a city block or loot a Wal-Mart or assault a white dude when you're upset, and that's all right.
Demonstrators protest the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Of course, those of us who are not insane (a small demographic, admittedly) are rather sick of trying to "understand" the emotional needs of rioters and looters. We're tired of being lectured about our "closed-mindedness" as we watch a bunch of thugs rampage through our communities. We don't care about their message anymore. If you can't get your point across without setting things on fire, your point doesn't deserve to be heard. You lose the right to have your "movement" taken seriously the moment you throw a cement block through a convenience store window and run in to snatch an armful of souvenirs.
If you simply can't manage to get together for a "protest" without causing millions of dollars worth of property damage, you don't deserve to be listened to. There is, it turns out, a word for people who use destruction and violence against the innocent to bring about "social change," and the word isn't "protesters." It's "terrorists." What we're seeing in Charlotte — just as we saw in Ferguson and Baltimore and Dallas and in so many other cities — is terrorism, by definition. And that's what we should call it, once and for all.
But many people refuse to call it what it is because they're more concerned about protecting a narrative than protecting our communities. Indeed, the only thing more shameful than the barbarians who loot, maim and destroy are the cowards who sit off at a safe distance and make excuses for them. They're as much a threat as the rioters themselves because they're the ones who legitimize this madness. They're the ones who give the crooks and terrorists "space to destroy," in the immortal words of the mayor of Baltimore, by stubbornly refusing to condemn the sort of behavior they would certainly condemn in any other context.
No doubt I'll be called a racist for using rude terms like "thug" and "terrorist" to describe people — black, white or otherwise — who flip over cop cars and beat innocent bystanders, but the real racists are the white people who don't use those words. If BLM militants had any self-respect, they'd feel profoundly insulted to hear these pompous white liberals on cable news explain why black folks can't be blamed for throwing rocks at police or setting gas stations on fire or whatever else they decide to do. It's called "the bigotry of low expectations," but it's even worse than that. It's the bigotry of no expectations. The bigotry of paternalistic, condescending panderers who claim the laws against assault and arson should apply only to the white race.
I, on the other hand, believe firmly in equality. I hold everyone to the same standard. I don't care where you're from or who you are or what you believe, if you take part in the kind of violent pandemonium we saw in Charlotte last night (or Ferguson or Baltimore or Dallas or ...), you should be arrested and locked in a cage. And if you're part of a group that roams from city to city creating havoc everywhere it goes, and doing it all for political reasons, then you are a terrorist. Plain and simple. And you deserve to be treated like any other terrorist.
You'll notice that few people are insisting we be sensitive to the feelings of Ahmad Rahami. Few are demanding we sit and listen as he explains the deeper meaning behind his decision to rig an explosive device in the middle of Manhattan. That's because most of know that we can't allow a terrorist to "spark a conversation" by blowing people up. The moment we stop and say, "Yeah his methods are unorthodox, but he has a point," is the moment we actively encourage more terrorism. Terrorist groups deserve to be scorned, rebuked and resisted. They shouldn't be heard or empathized with or understood. That applies to Black Lives Matter just as much as it applies to ISIS. The only difference is that ISIS has not even come close to causing the kind of damage to American cities in the last two or three years that Black Lives Matter has. ISIS must be incredibly envious of BLM's success in that regard.
I'm sure they're looking on with envious eyes — and taking notes.
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