We have all probably heard that phrase ‘taking your anger out on the wrong person’ or had someone tell us ‘don’t take your anger out on me’. Well it seems like not all of us have as riots broke out in Washington DC on the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration as 45th President of the United States. While it came as no surprise that many people would protest and while
it is welcome that most people exercised their right to protest peacefully, not all did. Public bins thrown on the floor, businesses windows smashed and a Washington Examiner reporter had their phone thrown on the pavement. It led to over 200 arrests and many will no doubt face be charged and face court.
There are many things unsettling about these riots. Many of these rioters no doubt are worried about what the incoming Trump administration may do due to Trump’s comments on the campaign trail. They worry about Muslims, illegal Mexican immigrants and women. They probably worry about their safety and status in America. If that is the case when why does this
safety not extend to the members of the public who may have been having a coffee in the Starbucks who’s windows got smashed? Why does this concern for safety not extend towards those who were eating in the nearby McDonald’s?
One has to question if concern for others was the real reason why they came out that day. These rioters also seem to have absolutely know respect for the concept of property rights and there actions displayed that. Individuals, have a right to be secures in their persons and possessions, something which these rioters rightly say to Trump about Muslims and women. So why do they not extend this thought process to the owners of Starbucks, McDonald’s (or specifically the owners of the buildings)? It seems that not all people are right to be secure in their persons and possessions particularly if anti Trump rioters are not happy with him becoming the US President.
But there is one thing in particular that these people are doing that they might want to think about: giving peaceful anti-Trump demonstrators a bad name. One of the biggest problems with protests (and one of the major reasons that I tend to stay away from them) is because there is always a bad bunch that want to cause trouble.”Riots can attention while protests send a message.”says Phillip Wegmann who is comment writer for the Washington Examiner. And how right he is. The rioters of the group will end up getting most of the media coverage just like how the violent rioters during the tuition fee protests a few years ago got most of the media coverage. What that then does is demonise all those peaceful protesters who do not want violence or to be associated with it. It could also lead to a crackdown on the right to protest, something which Trump supporters as a well as protesters wouldn’t want. It is quite interesting that those rioters, determined that they have the best interests of various groups at heart, could be inadvertently making it harder for those people to have a voice in the future.
So often people who protest violently believe that their behaviour is right. They believe that the end justifies the means. They believe that because they have a grievance or are unhappy with a particular outcome that they can damage property, cause destruction and infringe of the property rights of local business owners. Well it’s not right and in future I hope business owners feel more compelled to defend their property and the lives and liberties of the people within their property more rigorously (American business owners have the right to bear arms the last time I checked)
Protesting is a right that all people in free societies deserve and it should always be upheld but damaging property both private and public and throwing journalists phones on the ground is not on. It does nothing for the cause or the people the cause is intended to help. And it discredits people protesters and their reputations.