As a UNC Charlotte student I was less than a mile away from what was supposed to be a “peaceful” protest. As I watched the news I was horrified at the headlines continued to refer to the horrifying acts as protests instead of calling them for what they really were.
These are not protests. These are riots.
Setting fires, shooting other human beings, blocking the freeway for miles, screaming at cops. That constitutes as a riot.
And this is the line. The thin line between protest and riot.
To protest is to express an objection to what someone has said or done.
However to riot is to take part in a violent public disturbance.
Do you see the line that has been crossed? It’s repulsive and yet people still have yet to be able to recognize the obvious difference between these two small words.
We have a first amendment right to protest but nowhere in the constitution does it say it is okay to riot.
We are still referring to them as protestors while they shoot each other, set fires to garbage cans, and throw shards of metal at the lines of the men and women who have dedicated their lives to protect us and still continue to do so every day and night since.
If you disagree with something you see as wrong, you have every right to peacefully protest but the second it turns violent, those who are protecting themselves and those around them have every right to act on self defense.
But there is absolutely no excuse for this kind of rioting.
Do you realize how unsafe this makes everyone feel? How this makes everyone feel who loves this beautiful city. I was born in this stunning city. I lived here for the first three years of my life. I learned how to walk, how to sing my ABC’s, its where I learned how to love.
I came back here to continue my education and I am heartbroken to watch the city I love fall apart right in front of my eyes. It’s a nightmare.
So please, acknowledge the dangerous difference between protest and riot.
Stop tearing this city, this nation apart. This is enough.