A group of people come together with a common purpose to cause chaos by looting in destroying a community. Normally these people are fueled by a certain event that has taken place not to their liking. In some cases people join this behavior with no interest in the cause but just to take advantage of the opportunity.
Furthermore, there are a few limitations to riots. On the contrary, putting the moral purpose aside, there is no way for rioters to win, and each member of the large group knows it.
Rioting is not a revolutionary step, but it is a reactionary one because it calls out defeat. It incorporates an emotional, yet the wrong catharsis. Considering the example of a car’s lousy wheel that continuously drives you off the safe zone and tries its best to destroy you, what will you do?
You will replace the car wheel, of course. These examples relate to rioting and enlightening us about the fact that violence is never the answer to anything. Instead, we should use nonviolent techniques to apply for social change.
Yes, demonstrations, assemblies, and protests are protected and valued through the U.S. Constitution. Hence, if a group of people try to hurt people or destroy property, then the law does not abide by such behavior.
What Do You Mean by Riots?
Martin Luther King Jr. once described riots as “A riot is the language of the unheard.”
Whenever we witness a riot on the news or streets, we quickly start to judge people who feel oppressed or socially excluded. These types of people are the ones who believe leaving a red mark on the place of the riot will catch the eyes of people.
Everything aside, can you ignore a group of people looting markets, threatening or misbehaving with the police, and overturning cars?
The answer is: NO, YOU CAN’T! Somehow, each of these actions represents different situations and decisions made by the authorities. That is why the rioters turn into a group of angry monsters.
How Riots Work: The Causes
Riots vary from demonstrations or lawful protest due to the violence that occurs. Besides that, they are often disorganized and chaotic. You can receive an open invitation to join a protest or organize a meaningful assembly. Still, riots are more about mental breakdowns and massive psyche bonds between individuals.
The people who take part in a riot are mostly strangers, but when it comes to linking and sharing a cause, they all instantly become one. Moreover, race and poverty are the two primary bedrocks of riots.
People who are unaware of economic opportunities are the ones to participate in riots as they have nothing to lose. On the other hand, upper and middle-class people avoid disturbances because they can easily create problems in their livelihood.
In most riots, race becomes a common issue when different ethnicity feel socially excluded. In contrast, another ethnicity throws a different opinion on the former’s approach. In both of these social problems, rioters feel left out and unaccepted by the government.
Riots – Are they Justifiable for Change?
The feeling of being an outcast can immediately lead to mob ganging, which ultimately leads to forming an alliance against the government and doing things they are not supposed to do. Therefore, rioting is one of those things.
We’ve been participating in protests to have a better future, but that doesn’t always work out. In most cases, riots have created some of the most significant revolutionary changes in history. In contrast, in other cases, it has led to destruction and loss of lives. Hence, there is no right or wrong path to rioting.
If you believe that riots are suitable for democracy, they often ignite a spark in individuals hungry for a change in this God-forsaken world. But before convincing yourself that disturbances are healthy, you must know that riots are complicated and uncoordinated group activities.
When things don’t fall in place calmly, rioting seems to be the next best thing for protestors. Rioting is not always the right thing to do, but when it is, it may cause a significant sustainable change.
Let us walk you through everything there is to know about riots and whether they fit in certain situations.
Rioting in America
Undoubtedly, America was discovered in riots. Remember the days of propelling British tax collectors and tar when citizens were unaware of their rights and did what the rulers told them to?
Well, now the guts and fists of American citizens are more substantial and wiser. They fight power with power, attempting violence when their voices go unheard.
Times have changed the lifestyle of Americans, but there is little to no change in their tradition to pick violence over everything. These days, protestors don’t even try to speak up; they start creating a riot all around and hope for someone to notice them.
Unfortunately, our country only responds when some destruction occurs, such as rioting. It is hard to think of any progress to happen from these stressful activities.
So, the question stands; can rioting in America improve conditions? If yes, then how?
You are more probable to get a YES in 1921 from the white residents of Tulsa when you ask them whether riots have improved lives or not.
Considering the burning down of the Black Wall Street as a military attack for unproven black criminality, every resident thought it was a necessary attempt for the stability and safety of their communities.
When we come to the recent black uprisings, they are not the same as before. However, they do represent a significant continuity between America’s present and past, the constant bickering of pat-downs, jump-outs, and drug aids.
Unfortunately, these allegations are not categorized as a justification for violence because these do not violate the law.
Is Rioting a Felony?
According to the first amendment, one of the primary rights of Americans is to have free speech, which means citizens are allowed to protest against specific issues.
On the other hand, if a protest turns into something ugly, a riot, the right to free speech is no longer valid. Believe it or not, such an action is a felony, and it depends on how it happens and where you are.
U.S. Laws that Forbid Riots
According to a book about laws from Iowa, rioting is brutal, and it deserves a penalty. The book defines riots as a group of people coming together to create violence.
That said, if you and your friend are somewhere in a mall and your friend starts to hit trash cans and furniture with a bat, your friend would be arrested. Nothing will happen to you because you did not participate in the attempt.
Furthermore, let’s say a third party joins you and your friend, and begin to throw rocks at the windows of shops and businesses. In that case, your behavior will be noted as rioting.
As for the further explanation, a riot does not comprise of three or more people attempting to destroy public property; it is much more than that:
- Threatening innocent bystanders
- Disturbing people
- Using violence or lawful commandment to someone
If you as so much as disrupting the rioting laws, there is a possibility of you getting an aggravated misdemeanor. Moreover, the punishments of riot include a fine of $1000 to $65000 or two years in prison.
When it comes to more Iowa laws, they probit three or more people from participating in a riot and getting together. That is what we call an unlawful or meaningless assembly. A group of
people are charged with this crime if they come along intending to create a public disturbance.
However, rioting is different than meaningless assembly because the latter does not incorporate the use of force against a person or destroying public property. In clear words, an unlawful assembly is considered a traditional misdemeanor.
Although these are still serious, and the penalties for conviction are less worse than the ones for rioting. Other than that, a sentence involves a minor fine, and you may even have to spend a month in jail.
How To Protect Your Home In A Riot or Civil Unrest Situation
Riots, civil unrest, discontent, and widespread violence – could increase soon more than you think. The classic mix of civil unrest is a large category of underemployed or employed people that believe their future is on the line, or there is no future.
Such people are castrated, depleted, bored, and looking for someone to blame their problems on. The discontent and massive class that fuels riots and civil unrest is already among us. Half of the American families use food stamps to purchase groceries despite the enhanced economy.
What’s worse, the United States has one of the highest youth unemployment ratios in the world. And for a country living like this, unrest is bound to happen. So in a situation like this, what do we do? How do educated and employed families take shelter against these mess makers?
No doubt, your family comes first. During a disturbance, be it a bunch of teenagers exploiting shops or civil violence, you must know how to protect your home.
Installing security cameras or a wired fence will not prevent the situation. Here is how to protect your home from rioters or civil unrest.
1. The first act of defense: call for help
Just when you notice something unusual, get your phone and call for help. Call the police or a friend who knows how to handle the situation. Rideshare companies will never be available to send cars into a riot.
2. What to do when there is looting
Protect yourself and your loved ones, not property. However, brave is to protect a storefront, you know, is the doorway to freedom or dollars depending on the suspect’s location. If possible, you could video (but be careful) the crime for further inquiries.
3. Know your escape route
A workable answer on how to protect your home during civil unrest or a riot is to access the ins and outs for your family immediately. Don’t waste time on the Google map; plan your escape route for whenever the need arrives.
4. Go with your gut
Humans need to have faith in their natural instincts of being fearful. Use fear to guide your preservation. Leave home immediately when you feel or see the tide turning into something potential violent. Even the slightest “tone of the crowd” can ignite the rage.
5. How To Prepare for a Riot
The protestors are always angry, and we need to take a step back and cover the basics of preparing for a riot.
- Firstly, you should stock food supplies for a week, or maybe more, depending on the situation’s severity. You may be forced or advised to stay indoors for a very long time.
- The things you must include in your everyday carry kit are: multi-tools, knives, lighters, LED flashlights, and pepper spray.
- The best possible to prepare for a riot is to move out of the city to avoid chaos.
6. How To Prepare for a Civil Unrest
- No place is safer than your home. If you can, remains sheltered at home as much as possible.
- Do not panic. Rest confident that you have done everything in your care to maximize survival.
- Learn some survival skills. It can be scary to evacuate your home, especially when children are involved, but knowing how to survive can be reassuring. Know how to build a fire, pitch a tent, or walk safely.
- Lastly, don’t forget to have a bug out bag.
Conclusion: Be Proactive, and You will Get Through This
Panicking will never be helpful. For the sake of your family and your home, you must learn how to control the situation.
We know it isn’t your fault, but the one thing that’s in your power is the will to stay strong for your loved ones. Therefore, always be prepared because these rioters aren’t stopping anytime soon. CWP
Community Watch Paper blogs:
Police, Law enforcement and Trust in our communities
City and Rural Crime