In all of the commentary on Ferguson, Missouri and now Baltimore, Maryland there’s something missing. When Person A injures Person B as a protest over the actions of Person C, it is immoral. Person A is treating Person B as an object rather than a person. A means to an end rather than an end. The riots going on in Baltimore are both illegal and immoral and commenters on the events should avoid trying to justify it.
If the people of Baltimore have objections against the Baltimore police that cannot be addressed through ordinary government channels, they might be storming the police stations or bombing city hall. When instead they are robbing convenience stores or looting appliance stores, attempts to justify their actions are misplaced.
The president strikes what I think is essentially the right tone in commenting on the riots in Baltimore:
Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama on Tuesday condemned the “criminals and thugs who tore up” the city of Baltimore on Monday night, after rioting and looting paralyzed the city and overwhelmed local officials.
The sustained outbreak of violence followed the funeral for Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old man who died after he was arrested more than two weeks ago. Cars were set on fire, stores were destroyed, and six officers were seriously injured. It was the first time Obama has commented on the turmoil in Baltimore that has followed Gray’s death.
“There’s no excuse for the kind of violence that we saw yesterday. It is counterproductive,” Obama said at a press conference from the White House. “When individuals get crowbars and start prying open doors to loot, they’re not protesting. They’re not making a statement. They’re stealing. When they burn down a building, they’re committing arson. And they’re destroying and undermining businesses and opportunities in their own communities. That robs jobs and opportunity from people in that area.”
Those who make excuses for the rioters and looters or conjoin the issues of the riots and police misconduct shouldn’t mislead themselves. They aren’t holding up the progressive side. They’re holding up the anarchist-hooliganism side.