the thing is…it does more damage. not simply to property, although the blazing cars and crushed car and business windows show proof of that, but of lives. fourteen arrests so far and what does that mean for young brown people. livelihoods of folks who own property that has been destroyed.  resentment – on both ends – and fear and distrust mounting between shiny gold badges and stricken brown faces.

a protest would have been loud and obnoxious and filled with cameras and footage of people lying down in respectful imitation of the posture oscar grant III was in when shot to death.

riots happen when anger turns palpable. when pounding fists find something to pound. when a single irrational voice becomes a medley of irrational voices screaming incoherently and demanding something the circumstance can give.

the streets couldn’t dispense justice tonight. neither could the assembled riot police or even the mayor.

protests can quell anger and frustration but riots feed fear and consequences.

and so tonight i pray for calm. i pray for rational thinking. i pray for composure…even as the tear gas has been released and city hall opened for an emergency meeting.

there will be no righting of the wrong of shooting an unarmed prostrate (potentially) handcuffed young man. but if we stay vigilant and step back from destructive distractions, we may demand justice. his family – and the city – deserve at least that.

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