DUELING COLUMN: Rioting Is Irresponsible And Counterproductive

Vandalism spotted during Biscayne's George Floyd protest on Sunday, May 31, 2020. Jesse Fraga/PantherNOW

Damielys Duarte/Assistant Opinion Director

The death of George Floyd has inspired global outrage as protesters continue to take to the streets to fight against social injustice. While eliminating police brutality is a notable cause, some individuals have taken this as an opportunity to wreak havoc.

With rallies popping up over the last week, social media has been buzzing with posts and livestreams of police vehicles being burned, entire precincts reduced to rubble and even the looting of large department stores like Target.

In Miami alone, two days of protesting has resulted in the destruction of 17 squad cars, the injuring of four police officers and 46 arrests on Saturday night. Most of those arrested were for “breaking curfew,” the latest regulation sent out by Mayor Gimenez in response to increasing violence on our streets. 

Guido Gonzalez/PantherNOW

And while many believe this type of protesting is only a response to the decades of injustice racial minorities have faced from law enforcement in the U.S., I have to disagree and say that destroying your very own community will not resolve racial tensions. Instead, it might very well aggravate them.

Protesting has always been the right of the people to challenge those who govern unjustly, and no one believes that right should be stricken. However, negatively affecting the livelihood of your community resolves nothing and hurts more people.

A notable example can be seen with the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong, originally a peaceful congregation resulting in the famous Lennon Wall. Almost six years later, it has become an ongoing riot in which metro stations burn and police brutality abounds. Let this serve as an example of how violent action will never result in positive change.

These angry riots coupled with the still lingering fear of COVID-19 is a terrifying thought that cannot be ignored. We are already facing economic hardships with the closing of many local businesses and thousands of families who were left unemployed. 

In addition, the rise of violent protests is only pushing local authorities to act stronger and become more aggressive in an effort to try and maintain the mob of people, the usage of tear gas and rubber bullets effectively straining their relationship with city residents even further.

Further destruction will only push back the few successes we have managed to garner during these hard times. The lives lost to COVID will be meaningless if we open our streets to rubble and ashes and increase the spread of the virus through large gatherings of people.

As the riots continue to increase, city officials are growing nervous with the large gathering of individuals, many of whom are not wearing masks. This brings into question the purpose of the riots in the midst of a global pandemic that is still raging in certain parts of the world.

As said by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo during his coronavirus briefing Saturday, “you have a right to demonstrate… You don’t have a right to infect other people. You don’t have a right to act in a way that’s going to jeopardize public health.”

At the end of the day, we must promote our political beliefs in a manner that’s safe for everyone involved. We cannot seek change by promoting more destruction through the spreading of COVID and looting of local communities. 

Now more than ever, we must all stand united and fight for justice peacefully. We cannot right the wrongs of injustice with more of it. Instead, we must become the change we wish to see in the world.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

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