Updated: Oct 30, 2019
The looting in the Ferguson suits the media and the police just fine.
It changes the narrative from the devastated community to the wild angry mob they seek to portray. This is the juncture many people will choose to lose connection with the pain of the town.
So I wanted to propose a scenario to you:
You’re angry with your bank, they’ve been threatening to withdraw your overdraft, they always charge you ridiculous rates every time they send you a letter and don’t even start on the bailouts…
So you go to the cash machine one day and instead of getting the £10 out you asked for the machine gives you a £100. Do you take it? Do you report it? Or do you think it is your right because, damn them, they have screwed you so much in the past? Do you tell your friends about it? Get everyone down to the cash machine until it is empty? All because some unpaid back room office kid made a mistake when they filled the machine up. A kid who is probably going to lose their job over this.
Different scenario, but imagine one of your community has been murdered and their body left on the street for hours; your friends, family and community has had the soul ripped out of it all week as the police, the people who are meant to be the keepers of law, have attacked, harassed, and shot at peaceful protestors. When you are hurt and angry at the people who made the rules, why would you stick to them? My emotions would be raw too.
I’m not saying I would smash a shop window, and I hope I’d care for my community enough to never take something from a local shop, but I can see how it happens. In Ferguson as in London. And without the understanding of how it happens I do not think we are likely to prevent it happening in the future.
Ferguson is not an angry mob. It is a devastated, grieving community under attack. Let’s at least show them some respect by not buying into this narrative that these lootings are isolated greed and not related to the way they have been treated.