Protesting is as much a maneuver to accomplish emotional security as it is a political or social statement. I know. People protest because it gives them a sense of having some control, of being able to do something.
A protest, in my mind, is like a sugar factory. The air is filled with a fine haze. Tiny granules of sugar float around, each particle less than 500 microns wide. Pack all of this into an enclosed space. Add oxygen. Under the right conditions, even something as mild as friction or a spark of static can cause an explosion.
Why do protests turn violent? I’m not sure. But fear incites more fear, and fear causes people to behave recklessly. This is true for protesters and officers alike. At some point, you reach a threshold, and all you need is a little friction for ignition.
What does this accomplish, though? How does breaking the windows of a shop or trashing a car parked on the street help the cause? And what happens afterward? Protesting comes with an adrenaline rush, but the aftermath feels bitter, empty, discontent. People are arrested; those that aren’t go home, feeling as though they’ve achieved . . . what?
Are you less afraid now?