Protesting is not an excuse for violence

I’m sure many of you are aware of the recent protests taking place in Baltimore, MD.

Tempers have yet again been fueled by the death of a young black man in police custody. While the circumstances of his arrest and the specifics of his death will continue to be debated, thousands took to the street in protest over what is being called “police brutality”.

I learned a long time ago not to make assumptions until all the facts have been revealed to me, and this unfortunate case is no different. I wish more people would do the same instead of turning to violence, which solves nothing.

What I will talk about is the word protest.

I looked up the word “protest” in many resources and as a noun it means, “an expression or declaration of objection, disapproval, or dissent, often in opposition to something a person is powerless to prevent or avoid.”

The one word I’ve NEVER found associated with it however has been violence.

Let me be clear: I believe American’s should stand up for what is unfair and unjust. I believe they should make their voices heard toward inequalities and brutality. There are far too many issues in society that demand such attention – demand that we all unite and advocate for change.

But violence doesn’t solve anything. Violence does not show strength and courage – it doesn’t define our character and share our intelligence.

What it does is make a bad situation worse. Instead of helping our cause, it paints a negative picture of the people we are in this world – branding many because of the inappropriate actions of a few.

Love him or hate him, President Obama said something incredibly profound regarding the Baltimore riots.

“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 business and opportunities in their own communities. That robs jobs and opportunity from people in that area.”

If only we as a society could hear what he’s saying. To understand that protesting is not about violence – it’s about having our voices heard. Rest assured that violence will do nothing but silence them.