There was violence and unrest following the news that Darren Wilson would not be indicted. Some argued that this was proof that the people involved were bad people. Jay Smooth responds with a question: “How much do you think people can take?”
Here is a partial transcript of his 5min discussion, embedded below:
Riots are things that human beings do because human beings have limits.
We don’t all have the same limits. For some of us, our human limit is when our favorite team loses a game. For some of us, it’s when our favorite team wins a game.
The people of Ferguson had a different limit than that. For the people of Ferguson, a lifetime of neglect and defacto segregation and incompetence and mistreatment by every level of government was not their limit.
When that malign neglect set the stage for one of their children to be shot down and left in the street like a piece of trash… that was not their limit.
For the people of Ferguson, spending one hundred days almost entirely peacefully protesting for some measure of justice for that child and having their desire for justice treated like a joke by every local authority… was not their limit.
And then after those 100 days, when the so-called prosecutor waited till the dead of night to twist that knife one last time. When he came out and confirmed once and for all that Michael Brown’s life didn’t matter…
Only then did the people of Ferguson reach their limit.
So when you look at what happened Monday night, the question you should be asking is how did these human beings last that long before they reached their human limit? How do black people in America retain such a deep well of humanity that they can be pushed so far again and again without reaching their human limit?
Riots? Violence? Unrest?
That is what happens when you treat human beings that way.
Watch to the whole thing:
Bill R — November 29, 2014
The guy is certainly talented but his argument--which is essentially the vigilante's argument--is anti-intellectual and flawed. Hundreds of action movies pull at our heartstrings the same way: The protagonist suffers a horrible personal loss at the hands of a villain, crosses over to the dark side, and slaughters the villain as the climax. "How much do you think people can take?" indeed.
I prefer Obama's reasoned advice, but that's just me.
Renaissance Man — November 29, 2014
Bill R is correct. This is idiotic. There is accumulating evidence that the only people that riots like this hurt are those living in the community. Following the race riots of the mid and late 1960s, those communities in which riots occurred had lower rates of employment and poorer economic indicators . . . and this can be attributed to the riots. The LA riots had the same effect. In fact, the economic impact of burning down your own community (!!) only grows over 2-3 decades. What happened in Missouri this week? The community committed suicide. Ferguson is condemned to increasing poverty. So why are you celebrating this?
If this is the communities response to adversity, why should I be stirred to help them? They look as bad, brutish, and hopeless as the cops.
Alison — November 29, 2014
So Jay's argument is that people were so angry with the local Little Cesar's that they had to burn it down because they reached their natural limit? Because his argument only really works when the victims who bear the brunt of your force are the offenders you are mad at. Burning police cars or attacking the station is an example of human beings reaching their natural limit, but breaking the windows of a city bus because your local sports team won is not.
Rioting in the streets because your team won should not be tolerated, but torching a police car in response to decades of police brutality and abuse is an understandable example of people reaching their limit.
Likewise, destroying your town because your local sports team lost should not be tolerated, and neither should destroying the shop Brown was at before he was shot.
Ricky — November 29, 2014
So when some anti-tax folks reach their limit and burn down the IRS, its all good right?
jingles — November 29, 2014
the argument is that when people get wound up, they spring. this doesn't excuse the violence, it asks to look at the human reaction to systemic oppression, to where keping people out of control of their own lives leads.
ScarlettFeverr — November 30, 2014
I've been posting this in my Facebook...it nails everything.
Mr. S — November 30, 2014
Please disentangle this web of logic for me.
Michael Brown, a 6'4", 300 pound man attacks a much smaller police officer who resorts to lethal force to defend himself. Racial hate crime.
Ray Rice, a 5'8, 205 pound man punches his fiance. Violence against women.
Adrian Peterson whips a 5 year old with a belt after stuffing his mouth his leaves. Parenting.
3 male attackers, but let's decide which is the most convenient form of blame - racism, sexism, or culture?
PotMeetKettle — December 2, 2014
It's ironic to see liberal whites getting all butt hurt by MB being shot by a LEO and then claiming it to be an epidemic (what's the number DiamondDame? 1 every 28 hours). Meanwhile............ On average, 1,876 black babies are aborted every day in the United States.
"It has been estimated that since 1973 Black women have had about 16 million abortions. Michael Novak had calculated "Since the number of current living Blacks (in the U.S.) is 36 million, the missing 16 million represents an enormous loss, for without abortion, America's Black community would now number 52 million persons."
Black mothers are killing their own children (sorry...fetus) at such a high rate, yet scream and wail for the media when one of their thugs (I'm not implying that all black children are thugs, but MB certainly was).
Black people could raise their credibility with us "racists" (and I'm not, but that won't stop them from calling me one when their argument starts to fall apart) if they got half as outraged by black on black crime. Physician, heal thyself.
DiamondLame — December 2, 2014
Charles Barkley would disagree with this white man's video. Whose opinion on the Black Condition is more valid? I pick Charles'.
"I can’t believe anything I hear on television anymore,” the former Philadelphia 76er said. “And that’s why I don’t like talking about race issues with the media anymore, because [the media] love this stuff, and lead people to jump to conclusions. The media shouldn’t do that. They never do that when black people kill each other. "
Barkley called those who reacted to the decision by rioting "scumbags."
"There is no excuse for people to be out there burning down people's businesses, burning down police cars," he said.