Vandalism, Rioting & Looting: A Brief Explanation for the Law Abiding Citizen
Laws are social in nature. There must be an agreement between two or more people in order for law to function. There is order without law, and that is called natural order. However, as people grow larger in numbers and form communities, different ideas of what that order means becomes apparent. Laws are formed in order to better interpret these orders amongst the larger group. Written laws are created to further substantiate the new and evolved meanings of the agreed upon orders, and that is called policy (within the English diction).
The idea of the police is a direct result of policy. The formation of a community or state appointed group of people to enforce the policies is as old as the formation of laws. In the brief history of America, the police were formed mainly to protect property from destruction, burglary, and theft. Later on, continuing to today, they have been granted more authority over more policies and jurisdictions of the interpreted laws. Nonetheless, protection of property is the historic basis of American police enforcement.
In America, and quite like most countries worldwide, when a group of citizens who feel the law has been misinterpreted by their appointed officials and the police enforcement has infringed upon their agreed civil liberties, those people believe the law is no longer valid. Protesting can be passive as well as aggressive. Peaceful protests to misinterpretations and gross infringements of the law are most often received with little resistance by community officials and law enforcement, therefore they usually do not beg any attention from law enforcement or appointed officials. The community grievance will persist and remain unsettled. Violence to officials or law enforcers is a far greater risk to a protestor’s personal well being, plain and simple. Otherwise, hand to hand combat and gratuitous violence would be a protestor’s first option at proving their political point. In history, violence has proven effective when a disgruntled group of people wish to have their social and political demands met by a government, often times leading to a newer government run by those formerly disgruntled parties. However one may want to interpret a civil protest, war is and always will be an option if tensions reach those points.
Destruction of Property: Since the historic basis of law enforcement, specifically in America, is to protect property, it is considered a great portion of political leverage for an angry protestor to test the policy of protecting property by the police enforcement. City officials must and will answer the complaints of those property owners who have been hurt by the property destruction, and those law enforcers must use proper judgment when addressing the mob who is aggressively taunting their authority. This political conundrum the government is placed within is perplexing and very costly. The predicament which it will certainly lead to during and after the riot and destruction of property does affect the future policy and places government in a position of defense, rather than the offensive stance they’ve been abusing before. One must acknowledge and question the role of government in this instance and refer to reinterpretation of the law and its policies. If it were not for the policy to promise to protect property and enforce this seemingly simple task, which often times is rarely addressed correctly on a normal basis by law enforcement, the angry protestor would have little advantage in a corrupted society besides peacefully being unheard, or angrily waging full scale war.
I hope this brief explanation has helped the law abiding citizen to understand why vandalism, looting, & rioting happen, and what true and rational purpose they serve in urban society.