It seems the protesting and riots in Ferguson are going to continue for the time being. I will not be writing this piece to stir the pot; I do want to shed light on other cities throughout the United States that virtually disappeared after long staged rioting and protesting. I do want us to look at some the various consequences of peoples unjust and unrighteous actions. Businesses up and leave because they have to make a living somehow, kinda hard to do that when your being burned to the ground, you know? How can they make a living when people won’t go shop, rioters break in and steal, and they can’t even keep an unbroken window up? Let’s take a look at two examples in history.
Hartford, 1968: Where once it was a thriving community, there are still “scars left visible today.” There were many businesses that burned, were closed, and never reopened. One community member has said, “We don’t have a supermarket, not one supermarket, in north Hartford,” This same member said that “Emptiness” is the effect of these riots. These riots occurred more than 45 years ago. This community has still not recovered from that.
Baltimore, 1968: As I was doing research on these cities, I read some of these statistics and it is mind boggling to me. “Six Baltimoreans killed, more than 700 wounded, 5,500 arrested, and 1,000 businesses looted or destroyed during 10 days of social chaos.” There are still many parts of the city of Baltimore that have not recovered.
It is not just businesses and business owners…it is the employees. If the business you worked for got burned down, and you and your fellow employees are looking at possible months out of job, of course you and everyone will most likely move to a different city. It is a slippery slide. These riotous protests could potentially march in a new kind of fatality for Ferguson. The question is, “Will the community pull together and help each other out?” Or will the businesses end up packing up and leaving like many did in the cities mentioned above? Will Ferguson go down in the history books as a city that had a chance of being a thriving metropolis or will it end up in, literally, ruins and empty lots that once housed businesses?
A commentator has a great point that now, thanks to technology, there are ways to track down those who looted, stolen, burned down, and wreaked havoc in Ferguson. “Perhaps if people realize that their destructive behavior will cost them something, they might think twice about harming others and robbing them of a living.” So many pictures I saw of the looters…they had smiles on their faces. They took advantage of the opportunity, they don’t care about justice. No, people in Ferguson don’t give 2 rat’s rear ends about justice.
Some of these small business owners have worked a lifetime getting their business to where it’s at only to have it destroyed “perhaps never to be revived.” Maybe if people stopped rebelling and rioting; trusting God to bring perfect justice, we would not be guilty of ruining lives. The rioting people in Ferguson have done more to ruin lives then Darrin Wilson did. 12 buildings destroyed. Perhaps if certain communities cared about certain communities, they would behave in an un-hypocritical way. But as it stands, Ferguson is being destroyed by people rebelling against justice and law, not oppression and racism. No Christian is to be involved in the riots, for this is wrong and ungodly (1 Cor. 14:40). This isn’t new, it’s happened in history; you want to talk about oppression, how about having your only means of living burned to the ground. Christians are to oppose injustice and oppression (Prov 11:1). A criminal attacking a cop deserves to get shot dead in the streets, an innocent bystanders doesn’t deserve to have his business burned.