The Ferguson, Missouri “riots” have stirred up quite a bit of controversy when it comes to people determining what a riot is and what a protest is. In his article Professor Matt Thompson looks to distinguish what is the difference between a protest and a riot.
Since the death of Michael Brown the unrest in Ferguson has been well documented by the national media. However each news outlet’s coverage is dramatically different than another’s. One outlet described the people as “rioters” who stole items and destroyed property. However another outlet called those people thieves who just used the protests to cover committing a crime.
The term riot is a tough term to apply often because it is such a perspective based term. Thompson refers back to the term riot during the American Revolutionary War. The British government thought of the colonists as rioters and terrorists however to Americans they are considered heroes. Following that statement is the fact that in the Bill of Rights all Americans have the right to assembly. The term “riot” really is all about perspective. Even the clear examples of riots throughout history where millions of dollars of property was destroyed still have people on the other side who believe they were protesting a cause.
Riots/protests are just a group of people who have an issue with society and choose to bring it about in a manner that makes their voice known. Everybody has their own opinion on what happened in Ferguson and a result it proves the old saying that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.