Stealing is Not Protesting

There is a long and much honored tradition of protesting in this country. Civil Disobedience is not only tolerated, it is revered and even welcomed at times. But like everything else with true power, protesting must be done within the rules. Not “Special” rules either. I’m talking the same rules that govern everything else in our world. For example: Stealing is a crime.

Obvious Stealing is Wrong

On April 27th, 2015, the city of Baltimore exploded in multiple acts of civil unrest. Major news outlets went wall-to-wall with coverage. A pretty fair amount of that coverage showed good strong members of the community in peaceful protest. The TV showed people that should be and are leaders taking charge and helping guide people back toward peace. We saw a mother doing her absolute best to keep her son safe and on the right path.

But what do we remember most?

And what’s sadder still? What is the name of the movement that seems linked to these criminal acts?

Black Lives Matter protest sign

Black Lives Matter – Wikipedia

Subtle Stealing is Wrong Too

Then we have moments like happened on August 8th, 2015. Two people representing the Black Lives Matter movement ascended the stage and threatened Bernie Sanders. It went like this:

The Anger demonstrated by the two ladies was “over the top”. But more important was the fact that they stole the microphone and the media coverage from a legitimate presidential candidate. It was a lawful public speech, presented by a specific group (Bernie Sander’s political campaign) and rightfully assembled in public. And these women just walked up and stole it.

From us. Not from Bernie Sanders and his campaign. They stole it from us, the people of the United States of America.

You Violated My Civil Rights

In the language of today, they “violated my Civil Rights”. To be specific, they violated the Civil Rights of Bernie Sanders and all the people assembled there to hear him speak. Their act of civil disobedience ceased being disobedience once they committed the crime of stealing the stage and the microphone. Bluntly speaking, they reduced themselves to the same level as the criminals looting the CVS in Baltimore.

Credibility is Crucial

Any movement that hopes to gain traction in today’s world has to keep a sharp eye on their reputation. They cannot hope to gain empathy or sympathy with the public if they act in criminal, irrational or violent ways. When right-thinking people do wrong-headed things in the name of the movement, they need to be corrected or disowned. Otherwise their mistakes land squarely on the face of the movement and its members.

The Future of “Black Lives Matter”

The Black Lives Matter movement is trying to gain respect and legitimacy. But time and time again they are being associated with violent or criminal acts. They have to find a way to stop it from happening, or at least stop it from becoming red meat to the news media lions.

Look To Our History

It seems that a lot of the lessons learned in recent National History have not been learned by those engaging in rioting, looting and other crimes. It wasn’t that many years ago that a great man stood up and showed his own people and the entire Nation what it really meant to be Black in America. He did so without needing to steal anything, destroy anything, or harm anyone.

I have to wonder what he would think of two young women violently and relentlessly stealing what wasn’t theirs? I have to wonder what he would feel about having more disrespect and distrust heaped on an important and worthy cause? I wonder what he would say to those who advocate violence and retaliation instead of peace and open conversation?

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