Professor: “Looting Is An Expression Of Power”

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Michael Smerconish had an interesting discussion today with Professor Cliffort Scott, Professor of Social Psychology at Keele University.  Scott believes that rioting should not be portrayed as random and without meaning.  I think that is true. There are deeper causes that should be considered when considering violent dimensions to some protests. While I find Professor Scott’s work on protests and “hooliganism” quite interesting, I do not agree with his assertion on the program that “looting is an expression of power.” It is more often a means of acquisition not expression (unless they are expressing their desire for a Nintendo Switch). In other words, it is a crime act that arises in a myriad of public emergencies that offer an opportunity to steal with less risk of detection or arrest.

Scott is the co-author of such work as Stott C and Radburn M. 2020. Understanding crowd conflict: social context, psychology and policing. Current Opinion in Psychology, vol. 35, 76-80.  I commend his research to you because such work can challenge assumptions and bias in viewing scenes of violent demonstrations.

However, it is the looting point that I find troubling and less compelling.  Scott invoked Dr. Martin Luther King who once said riots are “the voices of the unheard.”  It is obviously not a view shared by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms who declared last night: “This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. This is chaos.”  Likewise, Minnesota Tim Walz objected last night “The absolute chaos — this is not grieving, and this is not making a statement [about an injustice].”  Today he called claims of the violence as an “expression” is a “mockery.”

Sometimes a crime is a crime.  Deterrence is often found in the relationship between the rate of detection and the severity of punishment. As detection falls, increases penalties can theoretically achieve the same deterrence.  When detection rises, penalties can be lower.  During a public emergency a rational actor can conclude that the chances are lower that they will be detected or arrests. The result of the reduction of deterrence is greater crime.

I have previously discussed my problem with the media “guide” to refer to rioters or looters as protesters.  I think that framing of such terms is as artificial as claiming that everyone involved in a riot is just drawn to mayhem. I have the same reaction to Professor Scott’s view of looting.  I fail to see how running out of a Target with a flat-screen television is an expression of anything other than opportunistic crime.

231 thoughts on “Professor: “Looting Is An Expression Of Power””

  1. The attacked franchise businesses should pick up stakes out of the rioted area and establish their businesses elsewhere. If need be, the mom-and-pop shops should do the same, even if it means setting up GoFundMe pages to get the money to do so. Do not remain where you and your property rights were not defended.

    The Antifa and paid non-local rioters should be treated more harshly than the local rioters (although any rioter deserves punishment).

    1. I agree. If the community is going to take the first opportunity to destroy your business, then don’t throw good money after bad.

      The problem is that this level of destruction may have driven businesses under for good. Many are barely hanging on with the shutdown. I don’t know if a GoFundMe would raise enough, but worth a try.

      I would want a separate GoFundMe to raise funds to buy a billboard, prominent in the area, which said that due to looting and rioting, they can kiss jobs goodbye. For about a decade. They cemented their reputation as their town being infamous for a criminal element.

      Wonder why there are no opportunities near you? Look in the mirror. You threw a brick through those opportunities, for you, and for those who did not throw any stones.

      1. Often small businesses can’t afford the insurance premiums because they are so high in neighbhoods where blacks steal snd destroy everything. The government might come in with money to rebuild but they won’t allow businesses to relocate; at least they didn’t after the Rodney King riots.

  2. Diversity is our strength. Rioting is our show of it. Burned down cities, our shining light on the hill.

    Diversity is our divide.

    Stealing brains from all over the world and formerly having most loyal was our strength.

    1. Diversity is our strength

      Genetic recombination, random reassortment, maturation and survival depend on diversity on myriad levels including genetic diversity. You would die if you ignored diversity. Then again you would die if you were obese so there you go Opsem

      Personalized Medicine and Human Genetic Diversity
      Human genetic diversity has long been studied both to understand how genetic variation influences risk of disease and infer aspects of human evolutionary history.
      https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25059740/

  3. If looting is a expression of power, then what is camo, ammo belts, assault weapons and white pride flags doing in state houses? Looks like only one group gets the ear of power, the other gets riot gear, rubber bullets and gas. Both acts are a use of terror, but we live in a system of separate and unequal justice.

  4. “Deterrence is often found in the relationship between the rate of detection and the severity of punishment. As detection falls, increases penalties can theoretically achieve the same deterrence. When detection rises, penalties can be lower.”

    I don’t agree. My understanding is that the biggest deterrent to crime is the criminal’s fear of being caught. Very few emotional crimes like rioting or domestic violence or most murders are deterred by the penalties that may be imposed later. In these riots, not only do the rioters believe they will not be caught, they have been assured that they will not by the officials who pulled out the police and national guard and gave the rioters free rein. Deadly force against an arsonist is justified because of the clear and present danger to others but none of the politicians in the cities where the riots have occurred had the courage to authorize deadly force because they are so afraid of being labeled a racist (as they would be) and thus losing the votes of the black community that they must have to win.

    One other thing. Does anyone really believe that the rioters are representative of the black communities in these cities? Stop talking about the rioters as if they are on some kind of social justice mission and speak of them as the depraved criminals they are. To do otherwise is to label all blacks in these cities as criminals. Can you get any more racist than that?

    1. I have lived in a black community and’ yeah, I do believe the rioters are representative of a significant proportion of that community. Didn’t believe it–didn’t want to believe it–until I lived there. But live there and they will teach you.

      1. Young– that is depressing. I may be wrong, but in the last 60 years (since the 1960s) it seems that the vast majority of the rioters in large scale riots are African Americans. There has been plenty of discrimination and unfair treatment of other racial and ethnic groups but those groups do not riot when bad things happen. It must be learned behavior and so who teaches African Americans that it is ok to riot?

        1. Honest Lawyer– You are asking good questions that nobody is willing to ask. Part of it is Skinnerian, a few get away with it and a lot are encouraged to follow. The cheese at the end of the path is a Target store. Make the path painful and a lot will never go to the end. But part of it is a culture of criminality. Two nearby black families were very good people and they were robbed and burgled by the black thugs in the community so opportunity rather than race was the main factor there. One was elderly and could not move. I used to mow her lawn for her and we took Thanksgiving dinner to her. But she was not safe in that neighborhood; cried when we moved. The young family across the street were burgled while they were shopping. They had the means to move and did. It is a terrible situation.

          1. Young:

            That must have been so hard to move away, worrying about what would happen to the elderly lady.

            My grandparents had to move when the neighborhood they grew up became crime ridden. When my mother was a child, it was a nice neighborhood. Kids were always out playing on the street. When I was a kid, I remember it was still a safe place. But by the time I was a teenager, the bars were going up on windows. People got stronger locks for their doors. No one hung out on the porch any longer. Cars started to be parked on dying dry lawns. Crime started at a trickle, and then a torrent. When someone tried to climb in the window and my Grandpa had to scare him away with a hammer, that was it. My parents moved them out, and then when they had health problems, moved them in.

            My Grandpa built that house. The criminal element ruined the neighborhood. Once that happens, those who can move, do. Those who are left either are part of the criminal underground, support it, or they are too poor to move. I think that’s why some areas become so crime ridden. It just takes over and chases everyone out who can go.

            I think that’s how entire neighborhoods can have lock step animosity to cops. Why everyone they arrest in an area is nearly guaranteed to resist. Why whole towns riot and burn. Those who could leave are long gone. There are poor people who are terrorized as the crime gets rampant. The rest are part of the problem.

            1. Karen– That sounds exactly right. Those good people who can will flee. Those who can’t hunker down and live in terror. The thugs rule. The politicians talk, maybe about white racism but usually nothing. A very liberal friend of ours lectured me about ghetto life. We were planning a trip to Miami and I told him that when we get there I will take him on a drive through Liberty City or Overton and if we survive he will never lecture me about ghettos again. Just the thought scared him and he refused before we even got on the plane for Miami. Apparently he still had some survival instinct beneath all the liberal bs that knew that that drive would be dangerous.

            2. Karen– Yes, we did worry about that lady. She used to collect aluminum for a little extra cash–we gave her our soda cans– but the local thugs stole them. She got a dog from the pound for company and a little protection. The thugs killed the dog and took her next bag of cans. I stopped to visit one time after we moved. Her eyes brightened, “Are you coming back?” No, we weren’t, not ever.

              1. What kind of low life steals aluminum cans from a little old lady, and kills her dog? Poor thing.

                I don’t know how to stop the cycle of violence. Even if cops were posted on every street corner, how can this vicious cycle end, where one generation after another succumbs to poverty and violence? Change has to come from within the community. Meanwhile, the good people you mentioned are trapped with the bad.

                1. How does it end? I don’t know. It would help to have an education system that isn’t corrupted. Enforce classroom discipline. Require learning proper English. Run schools in juvenile halls for those who won’t behave in school. Don’t lower srandards for anyone. Cut off support to parents whose children fail to show for school and behave properly. Get rid of the notion that a kid who tries to learn is ‘acting white’ and should be ridiculed for it. Enforce the law in black communities so the decent people can feel safe again. None of that is being attempted now.

      2. How true. I find myself forcing myself to remember that ALL blacks are not like this. But it is getting harder and harder. Luckily, there are a few blacks I deal with to keep me from whole-hog down on the race.

        Squeeky Fromm
        Girl Reporter

        1. Squeeky– I know the feeling. You don’t want to feel that way but negative feelings are reinforced frequently. And if you don’t retain those negative suspicions when around them you put your safety in danger. Particularly the young men are like pit bulls, some are gentle but too many will rip your arm off if given a chance. Forget it at your peril.

    2. honestlawyermostly:

      Agreed. Plus, the criminal element rampaging through these areas have ruined opportunities for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you don’t steal anything, if enough people do they drive businesses away.

      They’ve ruined it for everyone. Convinced business owners it’s an unsafe, high crime area. Why bother putting all your savings into a business if people will just burn it down?

    3. Over 40 people were arrested. Many of the rioters weren’t black, and the governor estimated 80% weren’t from the area. St. Paul mayor said “every single person we arrested last night, I’m told, was from out of state.” They’re currently investigating organized efforts by outsiders to cause chaos and blame peaceful locals who were only protesting.

      Here’s an example with video of a masked white guy breaking windows and leaving: twitter.com/keithellison/status/1266127105621983238

      1. Committ – I do know there was video from the first evening of some blacks trying to stop Antifa from joining the protest.

      2. Commit– According to FOX News, “a report by KARE 11 showed “about 86 percent” of the 36 arrests listed their address in Minnesota, and that they live in Minneapolis or the metro area, according to data the outlet analyzed from the Hennepin County Jail’s roster. Five out-of-state cases came from Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Michigan and Missouri, according to KARE 11.

        I don’t know if it is true but apparently that is what the station is reporting.

        1. @honestlawyermostly:

          Your comment was “Does anyone really believe that the rioters are representative of the black communities in these cities? Stop talking about the rioters as if they are on some kind of social justice mission and speak of them as the depraved criminals they are. To do otherwise is to label all blacks in these cities as criminals. Can you get any more racist than that?”

          My claim, “Many of the rioters weren’t black,” was about rioters, not about the subset of those arrested. We can see on the videos that many of the rioters aren’t black. Moreover, your response says nothing about the race of those arrested. IIRR, the governor’s statement was also about rioters, not about those arrested. St. Paul isn’t in Hennepin County, so your data don’t address his statement.

          And if it turns out that the governor’s and St. Paul mayor’s statements were wrong, so be it. It still doesn’t address your choice to talk about the rioters as if all of them were black.

  5. How long before they whine that they don’t have no place to buy sh*t ’cause dey no stores and it’s the white racists’ fault? It’s happened before–every time. CNN will cover it if there is anything left of CNN.

    Aside: Things have gotten harsh when those who believe in the rule of law laugh when a mob attacks CNN headquarters.

    1. I was a teen living with my family in Miami in 1980 when the McDuffie Riots broke. At one point 2/3 of the Metro was considered riot zone.

      We had just arrived from Cuba, thankful to America for taking us as political refugees, and wanting nothing more than to work and live the American dream. My parents had zero education (6th grade max for my mother, 3rd grade for my father), no English skills, no job skills, but they worked like dogs. They wanted us kids to do what they could not do in Cuba. Juxtapose this paradigm with some Blacks in Miami (who loathed Cubans because we were immigrants) who in 1980 were rioting, setting Miami on fire and pulling drivers out of their cars to mutilate their genitals and remove their tongues with knives. They were “protesting” a jury decision on 4 Dade County police who were acquitted of manslaughter. Janet Reno was the lead prosecutor and her team failed to convince the jury of the charges

      it was a very frightening time for us as a family, bewildered that Americans would burn down their neighborhoods.

      Had they lived in a Communist country, they would have realized they were idiots. Cubans in Miami were astonished at these Blacks. We had the job they refused to do while they complained about x, y and z.

      Rioting is the ultimate contempt to a society that gives you the opportunity to reach your dreams. Condi Rice, Collin Powell, Barack Obama did it. Anyone can

  6. Let’s see………….Our country allowed the destruction and removal of historic Civil War statues, for the purpose of appeasing the black community, so that they would not be offended and lash out at us through riots and criminsl activity.
    How did that work out for everybody?

    1. Nobody “allowed” anything. The voters of those localities supported taking them down, just like those in 1900 supported the racists erecting them.

          1. Young…..many were removed in the middle of the night without the public being apprised. Also, the U Texas Board of Regents removed many in Austin ……..Public schools in Austin had “offensive” names removed and replaced without voter approval.
            Sylvester Turner, mayor of Houston, in summer of 2017, was breathlessly driving his staff around the city, on the hunt for “offensive” statues to destroy, when he should have been heeding the warnings about the coming hurricane season that promised to be deadly. A week later, Hurricane Harvey approached the Texas Coast, and Turner was embarrassingly
            unprepared. Houston is still trying to recover from that disaster.

      1. Sigh. Hard as this may be to understand, never mind accept, statues of Confederate generals, regiments, soldiers, etc., were put up by those who loved or honored them (for whatever reason) to commemorate their leadership or lost lives – not to promote racism. It may interest you to know both Union and Confederate veterans participated in acts of reconciliation in the years following the War between the States.

    2. The Confederate statues haven’t been destroyed. They’ve simply been removed.

      The purpose for removing them is that we shouldn’t have statues in public squares honoring traitors. Not sure why you’d want to honor traitors. Rest assured that plenty of white people (including me) also wanted the Confederate statues removed. They belong in history museums, not in public squares.

          1. If you present some valid evidence of your claim, I’ll have no problem admitting that I was mistaken. What’s your evidence?

      1. No statues for traitors? Lets take down those Obama statues and erase his name from public structures.

          1. None of the Confederates was convicted of treason. Are you saying we should treat Obama’s treason differently just because he is black?

            1. “Treason” is your word, not mine. My claim was that they were “traitors.” The Confederates engaged in war against the U.S. If you don’t consider that traitorous, maybe you should rethink your position. I haven’t seen any evidence of Obama being a traitor. If you have it, present it.

          2. How about using the IRS to Target conservatives. How about Fast and Furious. How about spying on the Associated Press. How about cash payments to Iran in the middle of the night. How about Benghazi and the VA scandal and if you like your doctor and health plan you can keep them. How about making the racial divide in this country a hundred times worse by taking sides in events like Ferguson where he was proven wrong by his own justice Department.

              1. Yeah, Lois Lerner took the 5th and they played hide-the-ball with their own inspector-general just to be cute.

                No one can figure out if it’s gross mendacity or gross stupidity with you.

            1. You have a strange definition of “traitor.” If saying something false (like Obama saying “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan”) makes someone a traitor, then you’ll also have to conclude that Trump is a traitor, as he’s lied a whole lot more than Obama did.

              And if you want to discuss Obama’s actions, provide evidence and don’t conflate Obama himself with someone else in his administration. I honestly don’t care what your opinion about this is, but if you’re trying to say that your claims are facts about Obama himself and are traitorous acts, then you need to provide evidence. Your claim, your burden of proof.

        1. Wherever these Obama statues are – ?? – you’ll have to deal with those who put them up. Staues are poltical expressions, usually by the majority of the time. Most, not all are supported by a consensus and therefore not controversial. The consensus for honoring confederate soldiers is dead or mostly moved to the suburbs.

          Deal with it.

        1. Paul– That has always been an interesting legal question. I think Lincoln treated it as if the Constitution were like a mutual will, once parties agree they need mutual consent to withdraw. The answer to that question had to be found in cannon fire. But it takes ‘treason’ off the table for the South.

          1. Interesting. If the issues could have been settled with court decisions the Civil War would have been fought with briefs instead of cannoballs.

          2. Committ – the Supreme Court has overstepped its authority beginning with Maybury v Madison.

            1. You’ve presented no evidence that they “overstepped [their] authority” in *this* case, and if you’re not going to accept a SCOTUS ruling as evidence re: the constitutional question you asked, I’m not going to waste time presenting other evidence.

              1. Committ – any court decision in 1868 is suspect. The court is under the Radical Republicans

            2. Paul– I think you are probably right. President Jackson thought so too. I expect we will soon hear the same from the left as it gets harder to use judges to rule with the Trump appointees.

        1. SCOTUS has ruled that secession was unconstitutional (in Texas v. White, which I linked to elsewhere in this thread), and I’ll take their opinion over yours.

          Had the American revolutionaries lost the war instead of winning it, with this land remaining part of Great Britain, they would indeed be consider traitors to Great Britain. And of course the colonies weren’t British states with equal rights (that was the main point of the complaint about being taxed without representation), whereas the states that seceded did have equal rights with other U.S. states. Best to avoid false analogies.

          1. Committ – one of the reasons South Carolina left was they felt they were no longer equal. Border states left because the Federal forces would have to invade them to invade the Confederacy.

            1. Interesting to recall that General Lee would have commanded all Union forces if Virginia had not decided to go with the Confederacy. He remained loyal to ‘his country’ which he regarded as his state over the union.

  7. It really doesn’t matter what it is an expression of, in fact it is lawlessness which blindly victimizes others who have nothing to do with whatever perceived offense may have triggered it. As a society we should not forgive it on any basis and it should be roundly denounced by all, especially political leaders.

    Shooting is another BS macho pose which is somehow often called for by those pretending to oppose a too strong state. These are not crimes which warrant the death penalty and should be met with strong police or military force, but short of shooting.

    1. For some reason, my earlier response to you hasn’t posted. You might be interested in this response by a local business owner: twitter.com/mollyhc/status/1266375603864735746

      1. Sorry, I don;t get it commit. Nothing in that post, which I consider wrong to the point of delusional, changes my opinion. That’s like saying it’s OK to shoot someone who wants to commit suicide.

        1. I don’t think he was saying it’s OK. I think he was saying that it’s not the most important issue here.

          FWIW (and once again, one of my earlier comments isn’t posting and I don’t know why, so going to choose a different quote and omit the link):
          “[MN Gov.] Walz said, suggest[ed] that a growing number of rioters are coming from outside the city, and possibly outside the state, in what he called ‘an organized attempt to destabilize civil society.’ Walz said as many as 80% of the people causing destruction and fire in the cities could be from elsewhere. He distinguished the wanton looting and vandalism from the legitimate and mostly peaceful protests that began Tuesday, the day after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody. It was not clear if the outside groups suspected to be playing a part in the mayhem are made up of white supremacist agitators, left wing anarchists, or both.” (Star Tribune).

          Josh Campbell (CNN): “Minnesota officials say many of the violent protesters who have caused widespread damage are from out of state. Authorities have been monitoring alleged criminals online, including postings by suspected white supremacists trying to incite violence.”

  8. Mr Turley writes “Scott invoked Dr. Martin Luther King who once said riots are ‘the voices of the unheard.’ It is obviously not a view shared by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms who declared last night: ‘This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. This is chaos.’”

    Maybe you should read more of MLK Jr’s own words about it, as his stance is (unsurprisingly) more complex and more relevant:

    “Let me say as I’ve always said, and I will always continue to say, that riots are socially destructive and self-defeating. I’m still convinced that nonviolence is the most potent weapon available to oppressed people in their struggle for freedom and justice. I feel that violence will only create more social problems than they will solve. That in a real sense it is impracticable for the Negro to even think of mounting a violent revolution in the United States. So I will continue to condemn riots, and continue to say to my brothers and sisters that this is not the way. And continue to affirm that there is another way.
    “But at the same time, it is as necessary for me to be as vigorous in condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel that they must engage in riotous activities as it is for me to condemn riots. I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the Negro poor has worsened over the last few years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice, equality, and humanity. And so in a real sense our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay. And as long as America postpones justice, we stand in the position of having these recurrences of violence and riots over and over again. Social justice and progress are the absolute guarantors of riot prevention.”

    MLK Jr., April 14, 1967, “The Other America”
    For a video of the entire speech: https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/news/50-years-ago-martin-luther-king-jr-speaks-stanford-university
    For a transcript: https://www.crmvet.org/docs/otheram.htm

    Those words still resonate today. When will we have a just society for all?

    1. When the uppity public trouble makers and whiners shut their stupid pieholes, and walk their minority rear ends into their criminal decrepit ‘community’, and start repairing homes, opposing and lecturing the gangs, whipping their corrupt brother politicians, demanding stay at home Dads, picking the trash off the streets, mowing the lawns, speaking proper kings english, removing the gold chains and ghetto wheels, teaching young girls to be ladies, banning public rap music, promoting proper pants wearing, etc etc etc etc etc

      Then, the ‘outside communities’ will notice. They will look askance and ask themselves “What the ___ is happening ?!”
      “How can this be?!”

      Soon they will want to visit.

  9. Pulling women into cars and driving off with them and shooting into random vehicles – those are also expressions of power, you moron.

  10. The deeper cause is Original Sin.

    There is nothing to be done about rioting but to suppress it with force majeure. The earlier the better.

    1. That worked during the second Lozano riots in Miami after the police officer was acquitted. The police came down fast and hard and prevented little troubles from becoming big ones. The next day the Miami Herald claimed the lack of rioting was due to the maturing of the community. No, it was due to a well managed police response.

  11. What? Are you seriously stating that someone would take advantage of a emergency to enrich himself?

    It seems like many people took to heart Rahm Emanuel’s quote:

    “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

  12. Prof. Turley is too young to remember the riots of the sixties that occurred all over the northern United States. There were even riots on military bases and ships at sea. The perpetrators were young black men who rioted at the slightest provocation. The worst were in protest of the shooting of Martin Luther King, who was in Memphis because blacks were already rioting there over the deaths of two garbage collectors accidentally set off the mechanism in a city garbage truck after they got in back to get out of rain. My friend Gene Beck prevented a riot in Warner Robins, Georgia by black airmen who were planning to enter bars on Front Street. They sent in a black airman, expecting the bartender to refuse service and pull out a shotgun. Gene and I were the only customers in the bar. He told the owner to let him handle the situation. When the young black airman came in, Gene, who was a senior NCO, and I got on either side of him. Gene bought him a beer and commiserated with him about King’s death. He finished his beer and left and the crowd of black airmen went back across the street to the base and dispersed. The next day I flew to Fort Bragg and picked up a load of 82nd Airborne Troops and took them to Andrews AFB, DC for riot duty in the nation’s capital. Troops were flown all over the country to cities where blacks were rioting. Riots may start as legitimate protests but they quickly escalate into pandemonium. That’s why they’re called “riots.” o

    1. I remember there was a machine gun nest set up next to the Capitol steps. And, yes, it was blacks then as now. In Detroit they burned down businesses and then complained they didn’t have anyplace to shop. I think we have been in a smoldering race riot with flareups for decades.

  13. It appears that community organizers have inculcated the notion that any situation of chaos is a prime opportunity to “stick it to ‘the man'” and take his stuff to make up for your miserable life.

    This has nothing to do with protests or alleged grievances but is, never the less, always an anticipated outcome of any situation that can have the tinge of racism attached to it.

  14. ” It is obviously not a view shared by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms who declared last night: “This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. This is chaos.” ”

    The problem here is that I continue to hear from people – this is not the spirit of MLK. But MLK himself recognized that pent up injustice led to rioting. He attempted to rechannel that energy but increasingly found it a losing battle within his movement.

    I know you don’t read the comments here but the idea of riot as a form of illegal acquisition misses the importance of the trigger. The early joiners are not attempting acquisition but expression. Later joiner may be piling on.

    1. But MLK himself recognized that pent up injustice led to rioting.

      He did not ‘recognize’ that because it isn’t true.

      Rioting is an expression of feral impulses, nothing more and nothing less. It continues until it is suppressed. It had nothing to do with justice or injustice in any realm of human society.

      1. We can read MLK Jr’s words for ourselves (and I quoted a relevant excerpt from his 1976 “The Other America” speech in a separate comment here). You disagree with him. But your opinion about it doesn’t erase MLK Jr’s opinion about it. His opinions carry weight for many of us, even if they don’t for you.

          1. Well, Cindy, I guess you didn’t notice that I’d corrected my typo 2 minutes before you posted your comment. Maybe you need to reload the page to see it.

            1. Commit……apologies……you had not corrected it when I began writing my response. I don’t have spell check and am in my mid-70’s, so be patient with me, you hot-rodder, you.

        1. One problem with quoting MLK on anything is that you never know whom you are quoting. He was a serial plagiarist who probably should never been awarded his degree.

          1. He wasn’t a serial plagiarist. He plagiarized about 1/3 of the content of his dissertation at Boston University, some text from Paul Tillich, some from a divinity student of earlier years named John Boozer.

            What’s interesting about this is that it took someone knowledgeable about Tillich’s work 34 years to get a copy of King’s dissertation, read it, and comment on it in a public forum. (At least someone knowledgeable who was also willing to write about what he’d discovered). Even in the pre-internet era, the dissertation would have been indexed and abstracted and you could have gotten a microtext copy through the inter-library loan office at your institution within a couple of weeks if not sooner.

            Either no one in this nation’s divinity schools and seminaries took an interest in King’s academic work or the culture of such institutions was such that the common reaction was to file it away and say nothing.

            1. More than that, but even one third of his dissertation is a lot. In fact it is outrageous. He cheated all through school and ever after. I think part of his Letter From Birmingham Jail was jacked from other people as well. Serial plagisrist.

                1. Yes, there is. There is a book on it that cites passages King has stolen in detail. My copy is in storage right now and it has been years since I read it, but I was shocked and disgusted when I did. Like most of the people here I went through school without cheating and without plagiarism. King did not truly earn his degree.

                  If I can recall the title I will post it for you.

                2. King also stole much of the content of his I Have A Dream speech from another pastor without attribution. Then he copyrighted the stolen property and anyone using it gets a bill from his estate. Probably his statue in DC should be taken down.

                  1. Not sure when the donation was made.

                    There was quite a mass of archival material at the King Center in Atlanta. There was also anxiety abroad in the American Library Association about it. The conditions under which it was stored were known and written about in American Libraries (for example, water leaks). Not sure if the King Center had problems with it’s income stream, or was ineptly managed, or just not interested in a technical question like that. For a while, Coretta King had turned the formal administration of the center over to the younger of her hopeless sons. If BU got the papers from there, it was all to the good.

              1. Uh, he died 22 years before all of this was discovered and made public.

                It is kind of interesting that no one on his dissertation committee noticed. Paul Tillich wasn’t an obscure figure in that era and John Boozer had attended the school.

                1. DSS – degrees have been pulled after death. However, they traded half his papers for just putting a letter in the dissertation.

            2. Absured x xxii
              Tillich lived with a friend of mine, and her husband, about 55 years ago. Her only comment to me about him was that he liked women with big breasts.
              One more idea Dr. King “stole” from him?? 😁

                1. Absurd……..I’m not an idiot. Her husband and Tillich were best friends . Tillich lived with them for a couple of years up north. I must have gotten the year wrong, sorry. She and her hubby are deceased now.9
                  Her husband was a published Episcopal theologian and seminary professor….and she and I served together on the board of public access television in Austin. We didn’t meet at a beauty shop and then go for coffee and cigs and gossip at the local Chat and Chew.
                  The way you pounce on any hint of a mistake in my relating of personal stories that I think some people might find interesting, is breathtaking.

                  1. Cindy — I don’t doubt you. Authentic stories often drift on small details; mine do and I correct them when I can. And, thank you for your account. I found it interesting.

        2. It’s a matter of no interest to me what rhetoric King employed on some forgotten occasion. It tells us nothing about any social reality. You fancy King’s ex cathedra pronouncements should convince or motivate others. Not buying your bullsh!t.

            1. Plenty of church ladies who might find King at his best inspiring. They’re not the sort of person who goes in for undocumented shopping.

  15. Looting is more an expression of “I want to steal stuff I’m too lazy to work for and not get caught.”

  16. We’ve seen a lot of looting recently with regard to Covid 19 relief efforts. Looting by politicians, billionaires and corporate CEOs while working and middle class Americans and small businesses get nothing.

  17. I have to agree with scott on this. Its a crime as you state, however its a social statement more powerful than words.

    If the rats all of them had been arrested on Wednesday, rather than saying something about 9 months before anything would happen, do you think these riots would be happening?

    This is defacto equality, equity, equivalent and of the E words.

    You call it a crime, I call it social justice.

    1. The only statement made while looting a Target or private business is that these thugs never have understood the basic principles of western civilization and the rule of law. They are the societal flotsam resulting from that failed anthropological experiment created by the dems – The Great Society.

      1. The most concise descriptor I’ve seen is ‘the behaviorally incontinent urban client class’.

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