Updated: Sep 8, 2020
Any/all violence is unacceptable, detracts from the real issues, and is aggressively counter productive. Rioters & Looters are the enemy.
The vast majority of Black Lives Matter supporters I've come across are staunchly non-violent, intelligent, and rationally thinking people, but that's not what gets views. If you're exclusively watching 24hr news channels you'd think that every Black Lives Matter demonstration ends in a riot.
So here are some actual numbers, facts, not just flashy headlines and wild images:
The Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) put together the data/map below of all the protests & riots. It's the best source I can find that's tracked it this closely. This non-profit was set up to track violence in places with regular conflict around the world like the Middle East or South America.
In 93% of all demonstrations connected to the movement, demonstrators have not engaged in violence or destructive activity. The riot number is heavily skewed to major city centers, and counts all violent or destructive activity as a riot.
The 93% figure warps a little with multiple peaceful protests happening in the same place over months, so another (harsher) way to look at it is by unique location.
2,400 distinct locations around the country, multiple in every single state, have had protests. 220 locations (9.1%) have seen violence of some manner. That ranges from a few people throwing objects to the madhouse in Portland.
9.1% is too high, .01% would be too high, but it definitely doesn't represent the broader movement. If you're looking for perfection out of Black Lives Matter that's asking more than has ever been accomplished by any political movement in world history.
If your perception is that protesters and rioters are one in the same, that all Black Lives Matter supporters are deranged Marxists, and that riots are happening everywhere, turn the TV off and TALK to one of us.
** For historical context I've included a 1967 political cartoon from the "Birmingham News" of Martin Luther King Jr. There's nothing new under the sun, one of the strategies deployed against MLK in the 60s is the exact strategy being deployed today. **
Finally, I'm going to get ahead of the "police suffer the same fate, only the bad stuff gets shown on TV" argument. The difference is that law enforcement isn't an untrained, loosely coordinated mass of people.
If I ran every Black Lives Matter event, trained every protester, got to throw out anyone I deemed unfit for the job, made it everyone's paid day job, and we were all uniformed so I could spot and expel outside agitators, there would be no rioting. The standards are rightfully higher for the professionally trained, coordinated and paid group of police officers.
Black Lives Matter by the numbers is an overwhelmingly a peaceful movement, but it's hard to see that through the noise. Almost all supporters of the cause advocate for non-violent protests, but the few can hijack the message of the many when 24hr news is the primary way people see the world.
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