The Looters Club

Protesters photo by Lorie Shaull via Flickr
Protesters photo by Lorie Shaull via Flickr

“Our nation’s summers of riots are caused by our nation’s winters of delay.”

~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


While citizens riot in Minneapolis and people begin to say “enough,” the president of this country can only think that the proper response to a disproportionate use of force is another disproportionate use of force. For using the words of other racist leaders of the past, to call for potentially lethal violence upon US citizens, he has been censured by Twitter. Many of us were skeptical that the day would ever come that Twitter would enforce their own terms of service. While praise for Twitter always comes to me with reluctance, given their past negligence, they have done what Facebook will not.

If Twitter’s decision to hide Donald Trump’s tweet has amped up the pressure on Facebook to do the same, it hasn’t resulted in any noticeable action from the social network.

Twitter said in a statement Trump’s words received the label “in the interest of preventing others from being inspired to commit violent acts.” The same tweet was again labeled when it was subsequently posted by the official White House Twitter account.

But the words didn’t just appear on Twitter. As with other Trump tweets, it was also cross-posted to Trump’s Facebook and Instagram account. Facebook, though, has not taken any action on the posts, despite also having rules against glorifying violence.

This comes as no surprise, after Facebook openly implemented a policy of allowing political ads that were provably false to maintain an important source of their revenue and deceptively project a veneer of neutrality. It doesn’t take much analysis to realize that any policy that benefits only the dishonest, is not neutral, but is in fact taking the side the deceivers.

The assymetrical violence of calling for the killing of looters is terrifying. It also fits within the broader narrative that has forced this chain of events upon us. White collar actors who benefit from systematically dismantling companies to loot them in a way that is recognized as legal are rewarded monetarily for their actions. Those of us who grew up on KB Toys and Toys R’ Us saw them get looted by private equity firms and individuals that are still highly esteemed and respected.

The Onion has a piece that points out this hypocrisy with scathingly dark humor.

“Look, we all have the right to protest, but that doesn’t mean you can just rush in and destroy any business without gathering a group of clandestine investors to purchase it at a severely reduced price and slowly bleed it to death,” said Facebook commenter Amy Mulrain, echoing the sentiments of detractors nationwide who blasted the demonstrators for not hiring a consultant group to take stock of a struggling company’s assets before plundering. “I understand that people are angry, but they shouldn’t just endanger businesses without even a thought to enriching themselves through leveraged buyouts and across-the-board terminations. It’s disgusting to put workers at risk by looting. You do it by chipping away at their health benefits and eventually laying them off. There’s a right way and wrong way to do this.”

It’s difficult to acquiesce to destruction of property. It appears that, in the case of Minneapolis, at least some of the destruction has come from agitators outside of the community. However, when a pot boils over isn’t the one to blame the person who saw it bubbling and didn’t turn down the heat? When a positive community influencer and messenger of the gospel is brazenly killed with impunity by the state, what are the people to do?

Robert Rackley @frostedechoes
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