USA Today: Terms such as riot, looting are insensitive to rioters and looters

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This editorial is brought to you by a former Chief of Police and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, MN.- As riots erupted across the United States this week, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in damage, if not billions, hundreds of people injured, and businesses being destroyed, there are literally people who are justifying this thuggery.

Apparently using the terms “riot” and “looting” are not politically correct. 

An article in USA Today took the absurdity to another level.

First of all, let’s define “riot”- “a violent public disorder, specifically : a tumultuous disturbance of the public peace by three or more persons assembled together and acting with a common intent.”

Rightly, many on social media called the arson, assaults and looting exactly what they are—“disgusting, reprehensible.” Who can argue otherwise? Well, there are people that do so.

The article, which appears to be a news piece rather than opinion piece dismisses those who refer to the rioters as “thugs” as President Trump did, or who condemned the “violence and destruction” as being “absolutely unacceptable” as the Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, Greg Fischer did.

From the article:

“Historians and sociologists reflexively condemning the actions as reckless or self-defeating minimizes the extent of people’s rage.

Floyd’s death has become part of an all too familiar pattern of confrontations between police and African Americans who lose their lives over minor offenses.”

Let’s get this out of the way first of all.

This particular incident resonated across the country, including among police officers by the way, who saw this incident as completely unacceptable.

Law enforcement officials from police chiefs all the way down to the rookie patrol officer across the United States were not only offended by what that officer in Minneapolis did to George Floyd, they were outraged.

Did people have a right to be angry, outraged? Yes, absolutely.

This incident in its initial stages had overwhelming support among the American people, politicians both liberal and conservative, radio talk show hosts including Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck and others, who all condemned the incident.

When people started to protest peacefully, they had the full measure of support from probably 99.9% of Americans and likely an equal number of police officers. So, what happened?

Organized protesters…the Antifa, Black Lives Matter radicals.

We have seen story after story of protests which started out somewhat peacefully, such as in Boston, Dallas and other cities that turned into virtual anarchy when certain groups of people arrived on scene.

Businesses were burned to the ground, peacekeepers, many of them NOT police officers were attacked, and highways were blocked.

When the riots started, the support went away. The outrage of what happened to George Floyd is still there. Support for those who are now dishonoring his death? Gone. 

The article’s author said, “For all the denouncements, there are many who defend riots as the actions of those who have exhausted every other way to be heard.”

Here is a picture of the 20-year-old soy boy who started the riots in downtown Pittsburgh Saturday. He doesn’t appear oppressed to us.

According to so-called experts, riots are intended to demand justice among people who believe they have been unfairly targeted, in this case by police officers, for years.

They claim that riots come about when people feel they have nothing left to lose, when calls for affecting change have been ineffective.

So instead of using the power of the ballot, they choose violence.

Here is a picture of someone who has “nothing left to lose.” 

The experts say that while people do not need to condone the riots, they should understand them, according to USA Today.

More oppressed people:

So now, what we have is so-called experts getting into semantics over words. They suggest that using the term “violence” is incorrect because it is being used to define attacks on property rather than people?

So, is the store owner down in Dallas, who was beaten within one inch of his life not a victim of violence?

Are police officers, who have been assaulted, dragged, and in one case had Molotov cocktails thrown at them not victims of violence?

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Colorado woman uses red flag law against officer who shot and killed her knife-wielding son

Apparently, the term “riot” is also a loaded term. We are supposed to use terms such as “rebellion,” experts say.

One even suggested the term “reckless violence,” or “political resistance to oppression.” Kind of like how the term “homeless” is now known in some parts of the country as “unhomed.”

It sounds much better. Oh, and criminals are known in some circles as “justice involved persons.”

We can’t be offending people apparently.

More people engaged in “political resistance to oppression.’ 

Darnell Hunt a UCLA professor of sociology and African American studies and dean of social sciences said:

“The term ‘riot’ tends to connote a senseless venting of frustration, of destroying your own community and all these other things that are counter-productive, as if there couldn’t be political value in urban unrest and forcing the system to examine itself.”

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City…another monument to “oppression” apparently

Spoken like a true college professor.

Oh, looting is a bad term as well. Hunt says it “minimizes the political implications of what people are doing when they rob stores.”

He related that during the riots in Los Angeles after the acquittal of four LAPD officers in 1992 in the Rodney King incident, people were “looting” their basic necessities.

“You had a huge immigrant population that was barely getting by, barely surviving, and people were going to drugstores and ‘looting’ diapers, things to make ends meet in their families,” he said.

“To minimize that as just, ‘Oh, people are just looting,’ completely robbed it of the political content and the political possibilities that people are trying to communicate by taking a risk and getting involved.”

Evidently, Prof. Hunt missed the part where looters have been stealing wide-screen televisions, designer makeup, jewelry and sports memorabilia out of the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

He claims that buildings that are destroyed are symbols of “violence and oppression,” while citing the police station in Minneapolis in this case.

Oh, and liquor stores are only targeted not because they want the alcohol it’s because they are “complicit in the subjugation of their communities.”

That must be whey they burned down a sports bar in Minneapolis that an African American firefighter had poured his entire life savings into for a retirement gig.

In Los Angeles, Hunt said, businesses spray painted “minority owned” were largely untouched, and noted similar messages were posted on businesses in Minneapolis.

Hunt must have also missed truck driver Reginald Denny getting beaten within one inch of his life:

In 1992 Los Angeles, of course that didn’t stop looters from burning down and/or looting Korean owned businesses. Apparently, minority owned businesses in Los Angeles didn’t mean ALL minority owned businesses.

Hunt, who obviously has not been following the carnage on television said, “People are making the distinction between businesses that are owned by these large multinational corporations versus those owned by people in the community who, like them, are struggling to get by.”

According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, at least 255 businesses across the twin cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul have been damaged or destroyed by looters and rioters since Wednesday.

Some were reduced to rubble, while others had significant fire and/or water damage.

Out of the businesses listed as damaged by the Star-Tribune, only a few appeared to be “large multinational corporations.” Most were likely small, mom and pop type businesses, many of which might not to reopen.


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