The Four Layers of a “Protest”
I’m trying not to have my posts become too political, but I have an observation from the recent Protests/Riots.
I’ve been watching the protest, and the citizens and media twist and distort in how to describe the “participants”. It’s everything from all Peaceful (which is not true), to all Thugs (a word used by both Obama and Trump), which is also not true.
So, I’ve come up with Four Layers. (If you have something valuable to add, please do. If you’re just looking to make political points- I’m not that interested.)
Layer 1- The Peaceful Protestors. I watched several gatherings around the country with protestors dancing, kneeling in solidarity, carrying signs of protest, peace, and hoping for progress. These participants were hugging each other, and in some cases even the police. They were engaged in dialogue. And often, they may have been standing right in the face of a line of riot clad officers, but they were engaging in peaceful protest. It was inspiring. It was beautiful. It was the design of positive change. And, it’s being usurped by the following three layers.
Layer 2- The Angry Protestors. These seem to be the group that is beyond angry (and again, there are many grievances and every right to be angry), but this group is a little more “aggressive”. They tend to stand “behind” the peaceful group and hurl objects (bricks, frozen water bottles, etc.). This reminds me of a group of terrorists who set up in a hospital or school to protect themselves from the retaliation of their actions. What happens when the Angry Group starts throwing things? An officer gets hit in the head with a brick, and they retaliate and start pushing forward — against whom — the “peaceful” protestors who were just standing there. Now, the first group feels aggrieved by the actions of the police, which was really caused by the second group. This is the danger of the narrative now, especially from the Press. They often say that the Police “attacked the Peaceful Protestors”. Usually, not always, but usually, it is the Police pressing forward into the crowd when objects were hurled at them. This action makes both all three sides look bad; The Peaceful Protestors' message gets lost. The Police take aggressive actions. And the Press fuels it on with a dishonest assessment. These are my observations, not from a racial standpoint, but just the actions.
Layer 3- The Group Think Mob. (lest I have to say this again, not looking to get political, and not casting aspersions, just observations), but this group seems to get caught up in the moment. It’s the groupthink that when items are getting tossed from behind the line, or cars getting torched, or buildings set ablaze, or stores being broken into, the heat of the moment is too much to pass up, and the mob mentality takes over. These may be individuals who would not “normally” participate in such actions but get caught up in the moment. We’ve witnessed some of this will people who stole items one night, and then returned them to the store owners the next day. Often with contrition for what happened, or the recognition perhaps that it was their own neighborhood that was being destroyed.
Layer 4- The Opportunists and full-on organized criminals. These are the groups who don’t care per se about the protest. And, while they may indeed be angry about items, they use the tragedy to create chaos and opportunity for full-on destruction and thievery. We witnessed the organized groups showing up on cue, using social media to manage and coordinate their actions — they have spotters, cars without license plates, drivers, staging areas, and more. This was not about the protests, or a particular grievance, it was full-on anarchy (which some groups publicly advocate), or just pure theft (no different than organized gang activity).
I’m now seeing more of the Level 1 Peaceful, get upset, and call out the Level 2,3,4 groups — as they are not helpful to the cause.
I know there are many levels, layers, and years of grievances as well, some of them conjoined in a single message, and others muddled by competing groups.
Regardless, there is indeed a need, desire, and demand for Peaceful Protest, which hopefully can lead to meaningful change.
It’s the organized criminal activity from a subset of the group that continues to cause issues, create mayhem, invoke outrage, and perhaps even lead to additional murders.
The sooner we can distinguish the many for good, from the few for bad, the more honest our conversations can become. The better we can all support the need to call for change.
I want to be part of the process. I want to be able to support groups and advocate for change. Unfortunately, that gets harder to do when the criminals with no regard for life, property, or the progress of messaging are allowed to run amok.
I hope change can come from this.