The Lesson From Ferguson: Riots Work

The country stands in room filled with gunpowder that could ignite an open insurrection, and the police departments are in the room waving a lit match at the people.
By @Justinkingnews |
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    A protester returns a tear gas canister fired by police into the crowd outside of the Ferguson city hall, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.

    Ferguson, Missouri (TFC) – After a cop killed an unarmed teenager, riots broke out. After the grand jury failed to indict the cop and the police tear gassed innocent protesters, riots broke out. Now that the tear gas and smoke has cleared, Americans are coming to a shocking conclusion: the riots worked.

    In scores of cities across the country the same scenario has played out: a cop kills an unarmed person in a blatantly unjustified shooting, the officer says the magic words of “I feared for my life,” and he gets away with murder. Possibly the most interesting thing is that Mike Brown’s death, while unjustified, was probably the most excused by the media. His death was the only one that wasn’t completely in vain. Why? Because the citizens of the community rioted.

    In Beavercreek, Ohio a young man was gunned down by cops inside a Wal-Mart while committing no crime whatsoever. The officer was completely exonerated despite a video clearly depicting an unjustified shooting and months of protests. The police chief promised to resign, and then changed his mind once the heat died down. Would a riot have changed this? Is violence the only effective way to send a message in America? Many now say, “Yes.” To quote an activist involved with protesting both events,


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    “It’s speaking to the government in the only language they understand: force.”

    Since the outbreak of violence in Ferguson, civil rights leaders and politicians from every level of government have advocated peace. Americans are now asking why they should employ peaceful tactics while the government does not, and noticing that those peaceful tactics have yet to make the people safe from police abuse.

    The government has trained people to believe peaceful protesting works. The government-run media holds Martin Luther King, Jr. above all others in the discussion of the American civil rights movement.  Of course, decades later the American people have found out that the decision to propose the Civil Rights Act was not because of the eloquent words of the Reverend.  Instead, it has been revealed that the legislation was proposed because federal authorities were concerned with people going cop hunting. It’s contrary to everything you’ve been told in your history books, but there’s no need to take a book’s word for it. Declassified tapes show that the Birmingham riot was the reason for Civil Rights Act. Robert Kennedy said

    “The Negro Reverend Walker…he said that the Negroes, when dark comes tonight, they’re going to start going after the policemen – headhunting – trying to shoot to kill policemen. He says it’s completely out of hand….you could trigger off a good deal of violence around the country now, with Negroes saying they’ve been abused for all these years and they’re going to follow the ideas of the Black Muslims now…If they feel on the other hand that the federal government is their friend, that it’s intervening for them, that it’s going to work for them, then it will head some of that off. I think that’s the strongest argument for doing something…”

    President Kennedy replied

    “First we have to have law and order, so the Negro’s not running all over the city… If the [local Birmingham desegregation] agreement blows up, the other remedy we have under that condition is to send legislation [The Civil Rights Act] up to congress this week as our response…As a means of providing relief we have to have legislation.”

    Violence, not extremely eloquent speeches, is what finally produced meaningful legislation.

    The other example held up by the media is Ghandi in India. The independence movement in India came into its own around 1800. Ghandi’s passive message began being heard in 1920. Independence wasn’t granted until almost thirty years later in 1947. Another movement sprang up alongside Ghandi’s peaceful movement.  It was called the QUIT India Movement. Ghandi endorsed the movement that carried out bombings and ambushes. Just five short years before the British granted independence, the Indian National Army began waging an amateurish hit a run campaign.

    Just like in the case of the American civil rights movement, a charismatic man preaching nonviolence brought the movement together, but it was acts of violence that finally achieved victory.

    Nelson Mandela began using nonviolence, but it didn’t work. When widespread violence sprang up against the Apartheid government, suddenly laws were changed.

    The killer may have gone free in Ferguson, but the effects of the rioting brought about federal probes. The investigation led to officers being fired, others resigning, the police chief resigning along with the city manager and a municipal judge, and the admission that the Ferguson Police Department engaged in a blatant pattern of racism. There is current pressure on the Mayor of the city to resign, though he is attempting to state that he shouldn’t be held responsible. Those are just the immediate effects inside the city of Ferguson.

    Across the country politicians and police chiefs are paying attention and realize that if they stand in the way of justice when an officer kills an unarmed person, they will pay the price. They will lose their position and their pension, but only if a riot occurs.

    The very harsh reality of the government only responding to violence has been noticed by many. The country stands in room filled with gunpowder that could ignite an open insurrection, and the police departments are in the room waving a lit match at the people.

    So those that condemned the rioting as the pointless destruction of people’s own neighborhoods owe the rioters an apology. The activists and protesters in Ferguson may have struck the first real blow against the government in the war against the police state.

    This work was published by The Fifth Column under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
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      • Tisci II Dos Two

        Josh Norris you my friend are dumb, you wrote this long piece thinking it was genius but it was really dumb

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      • James Lee Goetz

        Of course rioting works. That’s why police brutality against African Americans came to an abrupt halt after the L.A. riots that erupted as a result of the Rodney King video.

      • GALT

        Sorry I missed your reply and your question. What you cite is true and the
        only advice I can offer is to challenge the present crop of “so called progressive
        pundits” to address the fundamental questions as posed in the first paragraph
        above until you get answers. Human beings are NOT generally intelligent and
        never have been…..we mimic the behavior we see…..and while certain individuals
        may exhibit flashes of “specialized insight”……and given the 50,000 years of
        “language ability” the rate of progress had been pathetically slow…..we are still
        no closer to accepting our “common cause” and still have yet to develope any
        anticipation of adverse consequences regarding our actions, despite all the
        evidence that this is far more important now than ever. If one reads Confucious, whose observations are 2600 years old, and secular…..one sees little
        improvement in human nature or the state of things.

        One can only expose the lies of “history” and that humans are simply
        rather stupid “talking monkeys” until there are enough people who are
        willing to accept this “fact” and want to change it. ( and you will not be
        popular for doing so…..especially among those who claim to be progressives.)

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      • bwbw123

        Can’t avoid the analogy of two cars headed for the intersection and both have a green lite. After the collision and just before dieing they both proclaim they were right. Just a malfunctioning lite for the two and forgotten and cleaned up as most quickly. But today we have a race similar and a crossing with that needs that beacon on the hill America was meant to be for all to see and be assured of safety and justice.

        Considering that for the first two hundred years after Christ died Christians did not believe in self defense until Augustine and the Just War theory. Today with thousands of just causes and overlapping at an alarming speed and frequency we would be led to despair and cowardice and since each of us are mostly the same decide our intersection may be just ahead or like a gun fight nobody will want to be there without a gun and therefore it is time to be a coward and be ready/already fearful. All well and justified except for that nagging voice that reminds us of how thin our flesh is and how much we would like to save our children and after all the world is a beautiful place etc etc etc.

        So then we look at the connections from Christ to St. Francis of Assisi to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin to the King’s and Ghandi’s and the hero’s to our modern Pope and that Universal Consciousness of Chardin starts to short circuit the relience placed on superiority and guns. True in history as the Author points out violence is like the screaming child to authority but we each have that Consciousness that is waking up from our more primordial fight or flight or freeze.

        Modern science is confirming that our evolution is moving us away from the above reactions or our Limbic condition to use our prefrontal cortex where empathy and thinking takes control more as we evolve and care. And as Chardin pointed out our cities would show this first because the need is felt there as people live closer and closer and feel each others pain. With the whole world connected we feel the pain in Ferguson and it becomes intollerabe and has to be addressed. Europe is a good example of our evolution and more primordial condition.

        One author and at least one Noble Peace Prize winer wrote about the cycle of violence where one Country would get a superior weapon only to produce insecurity of the neighbors and just before catching up the neighbor would go to war out of fear and the cycle was regularly repeated as each country mindlessly sought something to be a better killing machine. We see that coming to an end despite the massive lingering fear and fear mongers like our right wing talk hosts here. What does hurt one hurts the rest and on an individual level.

        Thus humanity is headed for an interesection and perhaps is in a race to insure our Universal Consciousness or prefrontal cortext slows us down in time to consider how exactly the same thin skin we have and exactly the same needs we have and exactly the same demand not to be the victims which all plays into everything from saying no to KeystoneXL/tarsands schemes and the mad pragmatism that makes how it all plays or if it works it is right pointless in the grand scheme of our evolution and adding to our Christ like nature or humanity. I too don’t want to be the last one to the gun fight/intersection without a gun so slowing down and working not with the corrupted history but with our best minds seems the way to get where we are supposed to go. After all, selling our children short just to divide us and get a few more bucks out of denial for climate change and for profit prisons etc. is about as dead end as it gets.

        • bwbw123

          As written about Africa the tribes would spar for days after someone was killed and sometimes they would avenge the death by eventually killing someone from the offending tribe or just go home tired of it all. Modern weapons or WMD’s are on every street corner and thus we may have already seen a better message sent that balanced the death of Mike Brown should we make improvement and look at the reality of the horror as something not to be repeated or turn to the wmd’s in blindness.

        • L13

          I truly appreciate your lofty appraisal, analogies and your hypothesis.The problem in the end is that we are dealing with a well armed racist corrupt gang comprised of mostly out of shape so called “civil servant” white men that are usually uneducated,hired for their lack of intellect and one step over the common postal letter carrier and armed to the teeth…… accountable to no one.The only thing these goons understand is brute force,and the so called government is/are the biggest organized crime gang in the world,possessing the best weapons that tax payer money can buy/steal.

          • bwbw123

            I understand your position and think neighborhoods should be returned to the people with unarmed police walking the beat to know the people and have the people on the side of peace.

      • Quazi Moto

        The thing is Mr Justin King is that you were not there. You were not holding the gun and you were not facing it either. You sit at your word processing application and make judgements you are not qualified to make.

        As such this article has little meaning. The reality is that all the problems we face in the US are due to letting government tell a community how, what and where which undermines and dis-empowers that community.

        How about supporting the novel idea of communities taking responsibility before tragedy strikes? To step up and be our own solution to the issues we face in each of our communities? How about starting a conversation about how and when our youth started to be raised as a responsibility and a consequence of intimacy instead of an asset?

        I too was not at this event in Ferguson and every ‘journalist’ who is foolish enough to state as fact that what happened was unjustified etc vs a tragedy is embarrassing all of us and themselves. It only polarizes so a similar tragedy is guaranteed and so far this has been the human experience.

        I understand it gives you the opportunity to spew your angst which I will point out has the potential like all angry rhetoric to be as a virus which is contagious and like biological virus the emotional ones sicken the host, in this case a community. I can appreciate you feel strongly in regards to this. However you may also consider your readers are that host and like you may see in a medical ward consider covering up before you cough and spread that illness… One that spreads to the less informed people who read what you write as editorial to be factual and not just opinion.

        Yes, bigotry is here and always has been. Until we understand that bigotry’s root is greed and fear then we are not ready to be adults nor to take a place of responsibility in the community. As long as we incite hate by stating a action is wrong as an armchair quarterback pounding beers espouses poetic profanities then we will be damned to repeat this horror again and again.

        Just another opinion from a old man who has gone down this road and wishes to make amends for my own impetuous youth. Me… I have no emotional attachment to making either party right or wrong, but I do have an attachment to doing everything I may to bring strength of purpose as well as courage to our youth because they are THE asset we need to be looking at. Our children are the most important people in our world and we are not doing our part to stop this kind of conflict in our communities.

        • GALT

          He actually didn’t need to be there…..he offers historical evidence, which you
          have to deal with……and there is far more available than, Birmingham, India
          and Ferguson…..and given that only Ferguson has produced results……the connection
          can not be avoided…..even if the “implications” frighten you.

          In hindsight I am certain that both Louis the XVI and Czar Alexander II, wish they had responded
          differently……and the British learned from the American Revolution, which has permitted
          them to keep Canada in the fold, as well as Scotland.

          Also, you need to understand that the powers that be have always understood this and feared
          it…..but in America ( the U.S. ) they have always had many more factions and ignorance
          to play off of……and by writing what you have written…..you are just another foil for them.

          So here is your problem…..”You have the RIGHT? to redress grievances”…..what do you do
          when ” the authority that can and should SOLVE your problem ” ……..IS YOUR PROBLEM?

          BTW at some point…..you may actually have a stake in the game….and it will be too late.

          • Quazi Moto

            Frighten? Me?? You are a funny guy… Girl, troll, whatever. You think Ferguson’s riots worked? That is like saying cutting off your foot will remove a splinter. We the people are USA and we need to be proactive not reactive for empowering the community. Vote, etc and be informed and involved before someone is killed not after .

            • GALT

              Until the species actually evolves to some consistent degree
              of “intelligence” and the unalienable right to life is “understood”,
              violence is the only thing that “authority” ( government ) will
              understand……this works even better when the “victims” of this
              authority direct the “violence” at the “powerful” rather than other
              victims…….vote early, vote often……it matters not…..government
              is FORCE…….and it is the “minority”……as long as it fails to
              deliver what its promise implied the cycle will continue……force
              must be met by greater and well directed FORCE!!!!!!
              Whether you comprehend this or not is irrelevant.

              “He who controls the past, controls the present. He who controls
              the present controls the future.”

      • GALT

        ” The lesson of history is, we have learned nothing from history.” This seems rather STRANGE
        when “violent” revolution was the means by which THIS NATION came into existence. Of course,
        there is a darker side to this “history” , because if this revolution was about the fact, that
        “all men are created equal” “with an unalienable right to life” for which ” governments are
        instituted among men”…..”to secure”……”deriving their just powers from the CONSENT of
        the governed”……then this revolution FAILED. ( or maybe the “real reason” why it was fought
        and for whose benefit has never been truly understood or taught? )

        Riots may work. Terrorism may work. But both of these types of responses are misdirected
        and the victims are usually among the equally oppressed and exploited…..while those truly
        responsible hide behind the trappings of power, corporate boardrooms, or in undisclosed
        locations.

        The people of contemporary America have been the beneficiaries of the sacrifices of history,
        in places like Homestead, and Pullman, and countless others, buried and suppressed by
        “winners who write the history books” while simultaneously benefiting from the “temporary
        free lunch” of both technology and stored energy in geologically sequestered
        “carbon based fuel”……but this period is slowly coming to an end and the natural order
        and greed of what is our true nature is reasserting itself, as it has in every other period
        of human history.

        “To conquer, first DIVIDE!!!!” because “slaves do not dream of freedom, they dream of
        becoming masters” which means “the fault lies not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

      • TecumsehUnfaced

        Remember, these arrogant clowns are only giving up small bits of ground to see how little they have too give up (temporarily they plan) to get the people they feed upon back into harness. Watch out for the massive suppressive trickery they have demonstrated they do in secret.

        Against these clowns of no moral compass there is no end to struggle.

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