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The Right To Protest – A Word of Caution

The Right To Protest by Melinda Todd

I try not to get political on this site or on the Facebook page, but somethings need to be said.

You have the right to protest.

You do. This is after all, America. But a word of caution for those of you who plan to take to the streets and protest.

Volatile can quickly lead to violent.

You never know when a protest will turn violent. You don’t. There may be other attendees who are violent and volatile. Maybe they’re just waiting for a confrontation with authorities. What will happen if one person decides to spit in an officer’s face (which is assault of an officer)? Or they choose to become physical with law enforcement or the opposing side? Will you be in the middle of a battle field?

Respect Authorities.

Police Officers have a right to do their jobs. They have a right to go home safely to their families. Don’t interfere with their jobs. Do not assault them. Do not provoke. Do not break the law. Do not attend with anyone who may do any of these things.

You do not have the right to riot.

You have the right to protest. You never have the right to riot and destroy other people’s things or their sense of safety. You don’t have the right to light things on fire.

You have no idea if the protest will turn into rioting.

What will you do if a riot starts? Will you be able to get away from the situation safely? Could you be maced? Arrested? Trampled? Attacked? Shot?

Children should not be at a protest. Period.

Children have a right to feel safe and secure. Attending an event where adults will be angry and screaming does not lend itself to feeling safe and secure for a child. Small children (or IMO any children) should not be attending a protest. If things become violent, can you ensure your child(ren) will be safe? No.

Respect your children enough to leave them home.

Don’t interfere with folks trying to get to and from work.

Protests often interfere with other people’s ability to get to and from work or their business. Be respectful of the businesses you are surrounding. Allow these folks to get in and out of their places of employment. Do not harass them. Do not destroy anything. Clean up after yourselves.

Others Have Rights Too

Others have the right to disagree with you. You’re not truly open minded if you’re not willing to allow others to disagree without being hateful.

Opposition has the right to be at a protest as well. They have the right to stand up for their beliefs too. They have the right to vote and elect someone you don’t agree with. The system is the same system that elected the person you wanted in the past. It wasn’t broken for you then. It’s not broken now because your choice didn’t win.

My personal experience.

I attended a rally to support our law enforcement when the militia were here. It could have easily gotten out of control. There are always a few hot heads on both sides and there is always a risk it could become violent.

There were several on both sides in each other’s faces screaming at each other. I chose to stay on the fringe and I was threatened by someone on the opposing side who did not appear mentally stable. While I felt supporting our local law enforcement was important, I wondered if I’d endangered myself or my family.

When I left, I chose to leave with a mother and daughter whom I hadn’t met before, but knew had parked close to my vehicle. I asked if I could walk back with them because I did not feel safe walking several blocks to my car alone.

So, I am not against peaceful protesting, but I wanted to give a few words of caution. Whose to say when “peaceful” becomes something else? Be respectful. Be responsible. Obey the laws. And if things start to heat up, get out before you are in danger.

Before you go, ask your self some hard questions. Why am I going? What benefit comes from my attendance? Does it change anything? Is it worth the risk? And as believers, ask yourselves if this represents your walk with Christ?

Proverbs 15:1

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