By Jessica Berget, Editor-in-Chief
The death of George Floyd is a horrible situation and the officer responsible should fully be held responsible to the fullest extent of the law. I sympathize with the anger and sadness many people are experiencing right now as a result of his death and I respect and will defend everyone’s right to protest police brutality as is their right in democracy. What I won’t stand up for though, is the senseless rioting, looting, and damage of businesses and public property in the wake of his death.
How does it help anyone’s message when there are people protesting peacefully, and then people damaging public property and setting fires to buildings? No matter what message you’re trying to convey, stealing or damaging property isn’t going to get your point across. Furthermore, innocent people are getting caught in the crossfire and losing their homes, business, and sense of security because of these chaotic riots. Why is the solution to pain and suffering more pain and suffering for others?
Of course, most of these riots have been in the US, yet surprisingly I’ve seen some Canadians opting for the same thing to happen here. Some people on social media even say Canada can and should be rioting alongside the US, crazy right? Rioting is chaos no matter how good of a message is behind it and it’s going to make more people angry and scared and not sympathize with your cause—even if they are on your side. How does destroying someone’s home or a CVS store get back at the corrupt police and change the abuse of power? It doesn’t.
To be clear, I am not more upset with the rioting than I am the death of George Floyd, and many people who also disagree with those rioting do no care more about property than a human life. The whole situation is upsetting enough, does rioting really make it any better? To borrow a quote from Anthony, a member of “Stand Up Philly,” a group in Philadelphia banded to stop looters, “there is no justice in robbing stores and looting your own neighbourhood and burning the city down.”
What’s more is that people are defending rioters because “damage is temporary, a dead person is forever.” But I beg to differ. The people whose businesses and houses are being destroyed are hard-working, innocent people who probably also don’t want to see a man die in police custody. These protests are about police brutality and making sure corrupt cops are given swift justice, yet innocent people are getting hurt in the crosshairs and I’m supposed to be okay with that because it’s for a good cause? Just like the officer who caused the death of George Floyd should be punished by the swift hand of justice, so should the rioters who are taking advantage of this awful situation and the people who are actually trying to protest.