Just an excuse to break windows

As citizens of this country, we all have the right to a peaceful protest. This is a part of our freedom of speech and our freedom of expression.

As citizens of this country, we all have the right to a peaceful protest. This is a part of our freedom of speech and our freedom of expression. Monday night’s protesters, however, showed a remarkable level of immaturity with acts of vandalism and mischief. But why are we surprised?

According to kgw.com, “Police say three officers were injured and eight protesters arrested during a Monday night demonstration in downtown Portland against police shootings. The eight were arrested for investigation of disorderly conduct, criminal mischief and riot. Police said today that an investigation may lead to further arrests of people accused of assaulting officers.”

The group of 200 people who were marching through the streets were protesting the shooting deaths of Jack Collins this month and Aaron Campbell in January. According to various news networks, during the protest the windows were broken at a Bank of America near Portland State University.

Although freedom of speech is a right of everyone, this kind of protest makes it clear that the people who were part of it had no understanding of the issue they were even protesting. It is hypocritical to protest violence with violence. Standing up for what you believe in does not mean you have to do so with violence. Since when is law-breaking during a protest acceptable? From what I know, it is illegal under all circumstances.

Wearing masks and then trying to justify that what you did is somehow right is also not very intelligent. Covering up your face only proves that you were doing something that you had to hide your face from. If these protesters truly believed in what they were “standing up” for, showing their faces should be safe. What are you hiding from?

Aside from this instance, though, it seems like protests in general and other demonstrations may have been legitimate in the past for groups with few legal rights (i.e., the Civil Rights Movement, LGBT rights), or for those who are facing extreme threats to personal liberty. But how is a group of 200 people, the majority of whom were not affected personally or legally by any of the issues being protested, legitimate? This kind of protest only shows that protesting as a form of political activism has now become worthless in the 21st century political society because there are better alternatives today for peaceful activism.

Monday night’s protest did not even have a logical argument, nor did they even make an attempt to make an argument. According to a witness quoted in a KGW article, the people attending were “just regular people, outraged over police violence.”

“Just regular people” do not shout that “cops are murderers” and “just regular people” do not break windows because they are upset by the actions of two police officers. The way that you feel about something does not make it rational or safe for everyone else. This kind of protest was nothing more than a political distraction.

There are other methods of activism instead of demonstrations which are more effective. This includes the use of newspaper column writing, letter writing, blogging, social networking and petitioning your elected officials, among other methods. There is no excuse for a protest, especially a violent one, as the only option of activism.

If these people were really serious about what they were protesting, they would have put their “Police Everywhere, Justice Nowhere” signs down and put their efforts toward any number of other effective ways to get a point across.