Street justice: the language of the unheard

July 14, 2013


Civil unrest, vandalism and looting in Oakland after the Zimmerman verdict. Not a lot, but some. I can not condone it or any kind of violence. Let me make that perfectly clear.

I hope this is all the civil unrest we see as a result of this case.

Street justice comes in many flavors–including that of vigilante– but today, I’m talking about riots and looting. It’s always seems counterproductive that so-called street justice often hurts the community of the protesters and looters.

It’s not something I could ever do.

But I do not walk in the shoes of the disenfranchised.

There’s so much I don’t understand about civil unrest.

So, as I age, I’ve learned the importance of seeking to understand, rather than be understood.

I make no apologies for violence and criminal behavior. I do not accept it.

But I do seek to understand the deeper roots of this behavior.

And so I ran across this, the other day:

Just weeks before he was murdered, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said

It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots.
It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time,
condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society.
These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have
no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention.
And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.

 It’s worth some thought.

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