Don Lemon, CNN’s straight-down-the-middle news host, says the rioting in Ferguson, Mo., has jumped the shark. During an early-morning standup Monday, Lemon said the rioting and looting in the St. Louis suburb, where unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed August 9 by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, has begun to overshadow peaceful demonstrations against police abuse.
“This is completely different, and I’m not talking about the majority of people who are out here protesting peacefully,” Lemon said. “I’m talking about the ones who are acting stupidly, out of stupidity. The ones who are looking for reasons to loot and rob and shoot off guns. It doesn’t make any sense. It’s ignorant actions. And it’s devolving into that. And it’s deflecting from the real issue here. As Captain Ron Johnson said last night in this press conference, it’s embarrassing to him and embarrassing to the Brown family as well.”
Lemon described how he and other media professionals have been pulled into the struggle between local crowds and police, but he said the rioters are getting a free pass from public and media supporters.
“People have to stop making excuses for the people who are doing bad things by saying ‘I understand these people are frustrated,’” Lemon said. “I was understanding of that in the beginning, although I did not condone the violence . . . But now it is just stupidity and it’s not helping anything.”
Although Lemon contrasted the seeming stupidity of street mayhem with legitimate public expression, looting is almost certainly a more rational act than peaceful demonstration, because looters benefit from obtaining free stuff at relatively little personal risk (there have been no deaths in the post-Brown violence), while peaceful demonstrations almost never bring about any practical changes. (Despite years of protests by both the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, America remains mired in crony-capitalist suckitude under an immovable major-party duopoly.)