Looting isn’t a protest – it’s a crime

I’m sure many of us have seen news reports about looting and arson in Ferguson, Missouri, after a young man was shot by police under circumstances that appear questionable (according to initial reports).  Protests and a prayer vigil had been organized, but last night some elements of the community took it upon themselves to rob local stores and set fires, allegedly in response to the shooting.

Looting and arson aren’t protest actions – they’re crimes.  Period.  There’s nothing else that needs to be said about them.  If local store-owners were to stand guard over their property (as some are reported to have done), good.  If some of them were to use force – up to and including lethal force – to protect their property against such criminals, more power to them.  I’ll buy them a beer – heck, I’ll buy them replacement ammunition if necessary!

I’m sorry if that offends some people, but I have absolutely zero tolerance for criminal conduct masquerading as (or committed under the excuse of) outraged public opinion.  It’s crime, pure and simple – and criminals need to be stopped.  I wish police had acted more firmly to stop the culprits yesterday;  but I presume the local powers that be were trying to avoid escalating the tension between them and residents.  Still, why more locals didn’t act on their own to preserve law and order, and defend local property, speaks ill of the level of community spirit in Ferguson.  It wouldn’t be that way where I live.



  1. Accurate observations, all. North St. Louis County has always been a problem; so much so that we always chose to bypass that area to the extent of driving miles out of our way to avoid the area.

  2. I live in the general STL area and am rather familiar with the community in question.

    Ferguson is one of St. Louis' inner ring suburbs. It's generally been a quiet working class community- over the last 30 years it's been changing demographics (like most inner ring 'burbs), but it's NOT generally been known for that much trouble… it has generally been an example of what one of these inner ring towns could be (most of them are as corrupt as the day is long). While there's a fair amount of poverty, there's also a fair amount of community pride. While north STL county can be problematic, Ferguson is an exception to the rule.

    The area affected by these riots are on the less-nice side of town. In fact, it's a couple blocks away from some seriously iffy areas. Jennings is just a few blocks further south on that road and it IS a troublesome area. I used to have some church members living in that town and visiting them was something only done in daylight with no valuables left visible in the car.

    The rioting seems to be more troublemakers from surrounding areas taking advantage of the excuse to cause some trouble than Ferguson residents trashing their own neighborhoods.

    As near as I can tell, the looting was confined to one particular street that isn't heavily residential. With a massive police presence last night (local news showed a huge amount of cops on hand), only a moron would go forth patrolling the neighborhood on their own hook. Best to stay in and watch your own. If it spreads then things may change, but we'll see what happens tonight.

    I'm not really thinking "it's a shame they didn't defend those businesses" because the potential trouble for doing so greatly outweighs letting them burn down a convenience store and looting a Walmart (yes, they got into one a few blocks north of there- cleaned out the electronics department and wrecked the registers). Honestly, even if they decided to drive a half hour to my suburb and loot the Walmart I'm not going to do a thing about it… if the barbarians are at MY gates then the calculus changes, but going loud to protect empty businesses you don't own is more likely to cause blowback on you. This isn't the Rodney King riots… stuff is quiet there now and cleanup is under way.

    We'll see if the miscreants come back out tonight.

  3. Thugs will be thugs, and criminal mobs will loot and riot.

    The problem is made worse when reporters call them "protestors" and "demonstrators."

  4. I agree, Peter. But the press has not been calling terrorists and their ilk what they are for a long time, either. Words have meanings – that's why this PC nonsense has to stop.

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