Looters undermine fight for justice by Black Lives Matter

Willful criminal behavior of looting is not a form of protest.

SHARE Looters undermine fight for justice by Black Lives Matter

A man sweeps up outside a jewelry store on the Monday morning after looting in Chicago’s Loop and on the Near North Side.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia /Chicago Sun-Times

When George Floyd was summarily killed, there was an outcry around the world, and we felt a great hope that great social iniquities might finally be prioritized and solved.

Peaceful protests were everywhere. A heretofore elusive unity prevailed.

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But the willful criminal behavior of looting is not a form of protest; it is not in the non-violent tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is anarchy, and it cannot be allowed in a law-abiding society, no matter the excuse. Criminal looting serves only Donald Trump’s vicious law and order agenda. 

I hope the leades of Black Lives Matter will not squander goodwill and the progress they’ve made by supporting rioting and looting in the name of “reparations.” Justice moves too slowly — that is true, but we’re getting there, and we don’t want to give Trump and his minions an excuse to send troops into our cities and arrest peaceful protesters and hoodlums alike.

Carol Kraines, Deerfield

Looting unrelated to seeking justice

The brazen looting of Loop stores on Sunday night and Monday morning had nothing to do with seeking social justice. It was criminality, plain and simple. It ought to have been met with the harshest police response possible.

It jeopardized efforts by many leaders to advance reform goals that could reverse economic stagnation in mostly Black areas. It gave Donald Trump greater impetus to “send in the feds.” It embarrassed Mayor Lori Lightfoot. It undermined the concept of “restorative justice.” It erased gains made by Black Lives Matter.

Among many older Chicagoans, the looting resurrected memories of Mayor Richard J. Daley’s 1968 “shoot to kill” order to the police, a directive not obeyed, in response to riots in reaction to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It strengthened current arguments by the Fraternal Order of Police for greater freedom to get tough. It has undermined Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’ more lenient approach to first-time offenders.

Chicago’s reputation has taken a hit. Lawlessness must be met with draconian measures or we risk losing Chicago to the vandals. Is our current leadership up to the task?

Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde Park

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