Los Angeles – Defying the concerns of thousands of Black Lives Matter critics that destruction and looting only dilutes the message of nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism, local hero Dianne Frisbee has in fact managed to not be distracted from the concept that murder is bad.
“I thought, ‘what if I agree that the looting is a problem, and then the image of a black man slowly being asphyxiated on a sidewalk just vanishes from my memory?'” she said Monday, before going silent and zoning out completely, her eyes drifting as she became increasingly less present, then finally snapping out of it and saying, “Hasn’t been a problem so far!”
John Chastain found himself similarly relieved when the images of isolated riots miraculously didn’t undercut his fundamental sense of morality. “I’ll admit, I saw some windows getting smashed in and I almost forgot how much I dislike when defenseless people are killed in the street. But after carefully weighing which I’d rather have happen to me, I guess I’d take the broken windows.”
Others were not so lucky. Jan Gilbert of Rhode Island is one such bystander who has been disillusioned from the cause entirely. “I used to get a lot more upset about cold-blooded murder.” That was before her local Nike shop was raided. Now, she’s not so sure. “How can anyone be haunted by the memory of a man calling out for his mother as he dies when entire shoe stores are losing their inventory?” she said.
“How am I supposed to take death seriously when people are getting all mad about it?”
She is among many who have taken to social media to voice their dismissal of an entire movement. “There are really only two options,” she said. “Take the side of the protesters and call for nationwide police reform, so the current culture that attracts and feeds racism, power hunger and emotional stupidity can be replaced with one that encourages actual justice and understanding; or lump all the protesters, rioters and looters together in the form of unconstructive Facebook comments and memes.
“I think I know which one will end these protests first,” she said, opening the Facebook app on her iPhone. “Think of all the shameless looters I can reach with my opinions!”
Related: Opinion: “I Actually Believe Every Protester Is Taking Part In The Destruction of Property. No, I’m Not Lying! No, I’m Not Saying This To Excuse Myself From An Honest Dialogue! I Argue This In Good Faith! Really!”
Thomas M. Scanlon, Professor Emeritus of Moral Philosophy at Harvard, agrees that these can be muddy waters to navigate. “It’s a question that’s perplexed moral philosophers since the very beginning – is murder bad? Should those who aid and abet in the killing of innocent people be held accountable? That’s not a question I can answer.”
But should outrage about property damage take priority?