“Violence is not the answer.” The safe and typical common ground that both supporters of the protests and supporters of the status quo spout off in their media interviews.
They’re right off course, violence does beget violence.
When our uniformed officers use excessive force and act with apparent disregard for black lives, it begets violence.
When racist vigilantes shoot first and ask questions later, it begets violence.
When laws are enacted that excuse those who “stand their ground” for reasons borne of ignorance and hate, it begets violence.
When unarmed children are systematically caged and forcibly removed from their guardians, it begets violence.
When minority fathers are disproportionately cuffed and sentenced to multiple years in prison for victimless crimes, it begets violence.
The problem with the statement “violence is not the answer” is not that it’s incorrect, but that it is only used reactively to condemn the victims of violence instead of the perpetrators. It’s utterance the very essence of systemic racism. We need every police academy, every uniformed officer, every teacher, judge and elected official to be trained in this simple concept from the day they enter their desired vocation.
The fires in our streets today are not being fueled by protestors but by systemic ignorance and lack of training. The vast majority of European officers do not carry lethal force weapons on them for a reason. They are trained in non-violent deescalation and apprehension techniques first.
Violence is not the answer but save those empty words and condemnations for the perpetrators of that violence. Until then this country can expect to continue to see nights of violent unrest.