Violence – Religion and Politics

In my last post to this blog, I took special care to make it clear that I believed things happening in this present moment, and in the very recent past, are and were unwarranted. The actions in question ran the gamut from protests, to riots, to looting, to personal harm of individuals and property not involved with the thing being “protested.”

I made no strong distinction between those being violent, hurtful and harmful , and those not doing so. That was because, in my way of seeing things, none of the folks were warranted in their actions.

I know there will be those who disagree with me. You’re obviously within your rights so to do.

Further, I recognize that those peacefully demonstrating were within their rights, too.

As I pointed out in my prior article, being “within one’s rights” and doing the right thing are not synonymous. I can do things which I have every right to do, and still be errant in doing them. The results of my actions can be manifold, some may be good, others may be bad (and some may be anywhere in between the two extremes).

My unwillingness to concern myself with the level of violence of the protesters, as opposed to the rioters, looters, and doers of other harm, was based on the fact that I agreed with none of them, and that nobody was doing anything worthy of my consideration (past in how it affected others), much less my acceptance or approval. It’s obvious that my acceptance and approval are in no wise required (nor even desirable) by those doing as they’re doing.

Someone posted a prime example of the worst of all “social communication” on the “feed” of one of my social media accounts—to wit, the “meme.” The essence of the “inaccurately terse” message was, “How is it that you take the worst of the protesters, rioters and looters as who you use as your baseline, and not the worst of the people they’re protesting?”

The irony in this post hit me like a ton of bricks! The point of the “protests” was not (at least not according to most I’ve heard speak) about any but the worst of the group against which protests were occurring.

Put another way, the person was complaining about the very thing the “protestors” were doing. They were castigating a whole class of people in their society on the basis of the actions of a very few (not even generally supported) miscreants. They literally called for the groups in question to be disbanded on that basis. Then came this absolutely preposterous meme.

Here’s the best part though. Where there will always be “outliers” (who cannot, by the way, as the badly phrased meme tries to indicate, be considered as “mainstream”), that’s not where the majority even of detractors appear to “live.” By their very nature, the outliers will tend towards extremism. That being said, I tend to be on the “edge of” common sentiment about what’s going on. The end I occupy is the “right (not per se correct, but on the right side of the political spectrum) side.”

My perspective? Well frankly, I’ve already stated my view, but allow me to encapsulate it here. “Those people peacefully protesting, where within their rights are being extreme in doing so. Those  rioting, looting, and harming others, doubly so. The peaceful protesters have every right to continue to protest peacefully, my viewpoint on their doing so aside.”

The majority of folks seem to feel those demonstrating, have not just the right to peaceably assemble, but that it’s proper for them to do so.

It’s not until we get to rioters, looters and doers of harm that even the average conservative person has any problems.

Put simply, for the most part, people I have seen speaking and writing about what’s going on are certainly not judging the majority (the peaceful protesters) by the acts of the (terribly harmful) minority (the rioters, looters, and people doing injury). Most folks are encouraging (peaceful) protest, and discouraging harm to anyone.

There can be no doubt, those responsible for unjustifiable violence against the persons and property of their fellow citizens are incorrect in what they’re doing. It doesn’t matter upon what “side” they’re counted.

That means, when a rioter acts violently and it’s not called for, he or she is wrong. That also should be understood to be saying, when a  law enforcement officer does likewise, he or she is equally so.

You see, it’s not the “class of” a person that makes him or her problematic, it’s their words and actions. That’s why I maintain that the one who was largely causal to this whole series of events, was certainly wrong in his actions and statements. That being said, to this point I have seen zero indication of “racism” on the part of that individual.

That doesn’t mean he doesn’t need to be held accountable for what he’s done, just that what appears to have motivated it, is not what many are claiming.

As a final thought, I want to say this again. For a group of folks who seem to have a problem with their ranks being categorized as “bad” by virtue (or more correctly by vice) of an obvious minority who are problematic to them as well, it’s funny that they have chosen to champion a cause that takes that very same perspective.

Nobody in their right mind is trying to say law enforcement is “pure as the driven snow” (that would be like trying to argue that my children are “perfect angels”—which not one of them has ever          been). But the majority of folks working to keep the streets policed tend to be good, honest, hard working folks.

Just as in any other segment of society, there are people in the world of “marshaling,” who don’t belong there. Those folks do things they ought not, and some of them (a pretty small percentage, it appears) are heinously wrong in their actions.

In an estimated 370,000,000 (three hundred and seventy million) interactions with law enforcement a year, even if we assume 10,000 (ten thousand) result in misconduct investigations, that means less than a hundredth of a percent (.01%) end in even investigations of wrongdoing on the part of officers (of any kind). How many are then cleared of wronging of any kind. I have no idea, but if any are, the number of problems is even lower.

Now consider that all misconduct is being considered here. Suddenly “systemic” seems to be a bit of an overstatement for any kind of infraction on law enforcement’s part.

By the way, the last number I saw, was more like 8,500 investigations in the average year for a decade.

In closing unwarranted violence is wrong, it doesn’t matter who is being violent.

May your time be good, and thanks for reading.

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