The Little Guy

Once again the airways are filled with the sights and sounds of a threadbare scenario: COP KILLS MAN, CIVILIAN RIOTS ERUPT. Riots have had a continuous run on the world stage for centuries. Their causes have almost always centered on race, severe economic imbalance, or physical oppression. Often, all three causes are combined. There are anomalies, e.g., riots in celebration of sports events. These are often discussed in terms of social unrest manifesting itself in the guise of overwhelming joviality.

Whatever its cause, a riot is condoned or condemned according to the perception one has about its cause. Riots in slave or otherwise repressed societies have erupted thousands of times. Certainly, freedom from oppression is a good cause to riot, whatever the oppressor’s perspective may be. But, whatever form it takes, looting is no argument against perceived or real societal injustices except when riots are sparked by literal hunger imposed on the rioters- – -and even then, looting (if any) should be restricted to food sources, escape vehicles, and so forth, preferably without unnecessary violence or damage wherever possible.

Hunger is certainly not the cause of riots in the United Kingdom. People don’t eat TVs, appliances, or clothing. Whatever claims looters or their apologists make as the cause of looting, the fundamental cause for it is greed. The recent looting in the United Kingdom is an insult to the man who was killed by the policeman, especially if his death was unnecessary. I find it impossible to sympathize with a rioter who is protesting with a looted TV under his arm.

I saw a disturbing TV image in which two rioters ran toward another rioter who had fallen to the ground as a result of an injury. At first, I thought they ran to help him. Instead, they pried the fallen looter’s bounty from his firm grip, and ran off with it. I have no doubt that all three men involved would claim that they were out on the street to protest excessive police force. Some go further when they claim that little guys are forced to act maliciously because capitalists oppress them.

True, manufacturers and middlemen may have originally overpriced a looted item, but I fail to see an honest connection between protests and looting. I also question the rapid transition from moral outrage to looting. Gang members and students will tell you that they are motivated to riot by the injustices of the prevailing society. Of course policemen and capitalists are at the top of their hit list. But their true motives are blatantly obvious to anyone who observes the savagery with which they break into storefronts.

Gang rioters are comfortable with a world of crime and violence, however temporary and local. They love the sound of shattering glass and the rage of destructive fire. Student rioters reflect attitudes promulgated by most academic professors. The unusual compatibility between gangs and college students indicates that the riots are motivated by unsound societal attitudes, including greed.

Riots are a phenomenon within which students and gangs can come together. Both believe they are protesting police brutality. Both believe that the little guy acts maliciously because he is forced to do so by capitalist oppressors. Both vandalize with the security of relatively risk-free crime. Both identify with the little guy. Both fail to see the enormous fallacy of their social and moral attitudes. The material gains of unscrupulous corporate peddlers and those of looters vary in size, but the motive for looting at the little guy level is identical to that of the corporate thieves they despise: greed.

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