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Can the Threat of Violence Work?

Updated on October 23, 2014

Ok...I'm pretty sure we're all familiar with the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri. I mean, how can't we be? The media has bombarded us with story after story of how protesters have held a city and surrounding areas captive, even to the point where Rams fans can't even celebrate a big victory over the Seahawks without being reminded of it. But that's the point. Right? Getting in the way of traffic, disrupting local businesses, causing law enforcement to allocate men away from places where they could make a difference, and irritating Rams fans is a great way to keep the shooting of Michael Brown from floating to the back of our minds. But if that's not enough, the subtle and not-so-subtle threat of violence if they don't get the outcome they demand will definitely do the trick...right? I for one think this is a very bad strategy. For many reasons. First of all, governments don't seem to be persuaded by intimidation. Lets take the Trevon Martin case in Sanford, Florida as a starting point. The same organizations ( New Black Panther Party, etc.) were very vocal in there demand for an indictment, which they got. And when the trial was underway, many from the element claimed that violence was a possibility if a conviction was not attained. They even put a $10,000 dollar bounty on Zimmerman's head! All of this was for not. And the process played out like it always does. Lets face it, good for nothing...

And last but not least...lets take it all the way back to 1992....the riots in Los Angeles. I was only 14 at the time, but I remember vividly watching the news and seeing the vicious beating of Rodney King. I also remember seeing the cops who perpetrated that brutal act get acquitted. And even more vividly, I remember scenes of LA looking like a complete war zone. People looting and burning down businesses, a truck driver being pulled from his truck and savagely beaten with a brick. Absolute mayhem. And when all was said and done, after 3 days of rioting, 58 people lost there lives, 50 of which were murdered, 3,767 buildings were burned to the ground, over $1 billion dollars in property damage, and 11,000+ arrested and the only thing that changed was that 2 of the 4 cops were convicted of civil rights violations...oh yeah, Rodney King did get a settlement out of the deal, but he spent most of it on a failed Hip-Hop recording label and was eventually picked up for a few domestic abuse charges and a hit-and-run.

Now back to Ferguson. I understand that people are upset. I understand that people want to vent. I also understand that there's upstanding people in Ferguson that sincerely want to see justice done and don't have an agenda. But there's an element there that doesn't feel the same way. And the residents of Ferguson know who they are. If these people are allowed to hijack this situation and turn it into a platform for violence, your place in history will be cemented . And that's all people will remember when they hear of Ferguson....violence and hatred (lets face it, there's really no other reason for that city to be in the news). I really hope there isn't more of this...

Do you support Ferguson protesters when they threaten violence?

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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Straight talk.

    • AJDonkin profile imageAUTHOR

      Alexander Donkin 

      4 years ago from Newport News, VA

      Thank you kindly for taking the time to read the hub. You're right, strong and wise leadership would definitely help at a time like that, which I'm sure they have down there in Ferguson. I just hope the people in general realize the futility in taking this already bad situation into something much worse. Thanks for the compliment

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 

      4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Excellent Hub, AJ. The threat of violence is always a bad strategy and Dr. Martin Luther King showed that non-violence works much better. Unfortunately sometimes conditions get so desperate that they feel like this is their only avenue of action. Strong and wise leadership would help during these incidents.


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