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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Letter To Rioters

Dear Rioters,

It's okay disagree. It's okay to be angry. It's okay to want justice. Most people can understand those feelings. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to express those feelings.
Looting a business that had nothing to do with the events that led to your feelings is NOT okay. Looting is too polite a word. It is stealing plain and simple. You are taking things that do not belong to you. Destroying someone else's property is not okay. Committing crimes against innocent businesses and people does not make you a hero. It makes you a criminal. Attacking police officers, burning vehicles, and buildings does not make you strong. It makes you a coward. Tearing apart the very community you live in, is nothing short of stupid. When the fires are out and the smoke clears, all you have left is a city in ruins. Businesses destroyed or shut down, jobs lost, homes ruined, lives lost. In the end, you have not gained any respect or done a single thing that leads to positive change. Your actions and behavior go far beyond just yourself and your immediate surroundings. Because of you, we have police in armored vehicles with military style weapons. Because of the example you have set, similar incidents are increasing. Because of you, our government is seizing the opportunity to get bigger and taking more control. Your behavior tells them you WANT them to control you and your life.  You are acting out-of-control and they will step in to take that control. Because of you, everyone is losing their rights and freedoms. Have you seen the photos and news coverage of yourselves? I hope they in no way make you proud of yourselves, because it is shameful and disgusting. I noticed that in quite a lot of the photos, rioters are covering their faces. If you have to do that, you know what you are doing is wrong and illegal. Once you make the decision to participate in these activities instead of working on a constructive solution that will make your community better, I have no sympathy for you and do not support your actions.   

It's up to you to change. No one else can do it for you. Step out from the crowd. Be a force for good and reject the knee jerk reactions and mob mentality. Step up and be a leader. Show others, especially the young people, by your example. Be THEIR hero. Lead your community out of the darkness. Be the light that guides others towards building a stronger community. Be in control of your actions and behavior and don't invite anyone else to control you. You have a choice - be the negative destructive force that doesn't accomplish anything of substance or be the positive that inspires and accomplishes growth. You can choose to throw the brick through someone's window or you can choose to lay it down as a cornerstone and build a strong foundation for your community to stand on. Be that first brick. Start building the foundation, show others the way and unite for a closer, stronger community. Reject the negative violent reaction and embrace the positive action that prevents the destruction and instead builds a connection. Making a stand doesn't mean you tear down everything around you.

Be brave, be courageous, by taking a stand on the side of what's right and good. Respect yourself and others by exerting control over yourself, your words and your actions. When you do these things you will gain the respect of others who are willing to stand with you and work to build the foundation of a great community. I beg you to open your fists, let the instruments of destruction fall away and join hands with your neighbor. A mob of negative, hateful people can destroy everything. A mob of positive, caring people can build anything! 

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