The Ferguson Riots: A Non-Political Lesson

What is the connection between anger and looting?

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Comments (38)

(19) Anonymous, November 8, 2016 12:24 AM

Black homicides by Cop......across America

99% of Police who murder are set free, they are above the Law, and are themselves Lawless. It is NOT SAFE for ANY Black man to walk, drive, park, etc anywhere in America. All these tragic murders by both white and black police. I lived through the riots on Columbia Avenue in Philadelphia during the 60's. The stores were looted and burned to the ground. One Store deserved mention. Mr. Shapiros Shoe Store. It was neither looted nor was it burned to the ground. Mr. Shapiro and his wife serviced the Black Community all their lives. Giving poor families, Mothers, Fathers and children credit to keep shoes on their feet. For the VERY POOR, the shoes were free. The Store still stands today. The Black Community remembers. Other stores on that block, had people gang up and beat shoplifters. One time, a trash can lid was used to beat a young child over the head. I do not agree with looting or burning, or destroying anyone's business. These people scream for Social Justice. It's about respect and respect for life! Not all these victims were criminals.

(18) Shira, April 29, 2015 10:57 AM

No Justifiable reason

There was no justifiable reason to kill him. I do not believe he was coming at the police officer with a gun. I understand the desire to cause a riot, but the riot causes so much damage, and is peace really achieved thru it?

(17) Anonymous, December 9, 2014 10:01 PM

I feel terrible for the mom and pop businesses

Don't get me wrong. I do NOT believe that ANY business should have been looted. However, I wonder whether the smaller businesses will be able to rebuild after this global tragedy.

(16) Anonymous, December 3, 2014 4:01 AM

Same story

There is absolutely nothing I can write that will change people's opinion but I feel it may open eyes. The rioting and Looting is wrong. The initial act by the kid was wrong but the punishment did not fit the crime. I do not know nor care if he had something in his system because the act of having it in your system does not mean you should be killed. Here is how you decide if there is a bigger problem. All races perform crimes ( though some may do it more than others) Yet, in no situation will it be permissible to kill a white person or a Jewish person for stealing something. The cop never stated that as a reason. The kid was shot from a distance. The fact that he was a large individual would come into play if he actually had not been running away, which we know he had, so, why was he shot, and more than 6 times. After he was shot, why was his body left in the street for so long? WHy did the Cop call for backup and a supervisor but did not call for an ambulance? These are questions people will avoid. Being a human, you still have to have respect for the deceased. He is gone, some people are actually happy! Imagine that. Happy. It amazes me that people continue to put all Black people in 1 category and if you are Jewish you must know that that is not proper. I remember watching the Great Dictator by Charley Chaplin and being amazed on his speech at the end. Too bad that speech does not resonate to people anymore!

Anonymous, December 3, 2014 6:39 PM


The autopsy results demonstrated that he was not shot while running away. He was also not shot because of theft. He assaulted a police officer, tried to grab his gun, and was coming towards the officer, not running away. Mr. Brown's body was left in the street so long after the investigators had finished, because not only were gunshots heard in the vicinity, the crowd wouldn't allow it. The funeral director said he feared for their lives. He and his wife stayed in the car for two hours waiting for police to control the crowd. It took so long because we could not do our job. It was unsafe for us to be there...There was nowhere for us to go.The only thing that could calm the crowd down long enough for Whitaker to take Brown's body away was a plea from Brown's family. Whitaker says he remembers family members begging the crowd to step back. Not everything that happened was due to skin color.

(15) Goya, December 2, 2014 5:55 AM

Criminal behavior

95% of men have not been in a life and death struggle . Of those who have half lost. The other 2 1/2% never want to do it again. Until you have fought for your life be slow to judge the Officer.
Those who looted etc are no better than the thug who robbed the store and struck the owner of the store---The Cycle continues.

(14) Mike Fishbain, December 1, 2014 11:08 PM

Blaming the victim....again

come on Rabbi, please. no more of this liberal jiberish!!
doesn't Judaism pride itself on justice and law.These people were criminals regardless of their opinion on the verdict. The ultimate proof of their selfishness is that they burned and destroyed the lives of fellow blacks in the same community they feel was repressed by hostile police!
How should the police take control of the wonton violence? Join hands and form a line against bricks, molotov cocktails and who knows what else.
The people who stole and looted knew exactly what they're doing and merely needed an excuse to go un-pursued and unpunished!
Where were their morals that theft and vandalizing someone else's property is just plain wrong!!

CJ, December 2, 2014 5:21 PM

Thank you.

Totally agree. I'm tired of excuses.

Nancy, December 5, 2014 12:57 AM

Shame on the Looters1

I am sick of this nonsense that gives people the right to loot and destroy property. The Jews after the Holocaust didn't destroy, they built productive and new lives for themselves and improved the countries where they settled. Please don't make excuses for criminals and sanctify their illegal deeds.

Aha, December 4, 2014 12:42 PM

Not liberal gibberish - Rabbi Sytner was not condoning their acts

Mike, I doubt Rabbi Sytner would disagree with anything you wrote.
The conclusion of his thought process was that there was no direct connection between the upset and anger of the protesters and their looting. Being upset does not justify committing a crime.
What Rabbi Sytner did was take "musar haskel" - to look inside oneself and see how one's own behaviour bears similarities to the behaviour one is critical of, and in this
way to improve oneself.

(13) Anonymous, December 1, 2014 5:30 AM


This is great and so true. Thank you SO much for posting this!

(12) J Glueck, December 1, 2014 4:15 AM

Sad To Say

o one in their right mind should have believed the MEDIA... which absolutely has been responsible for this disgraceful distraction from the scandals of the Obama administration, which surely ORDERED that everyone comply with their perverse story line...

(11) Anonymous, December 1, 2014 2:34 AM

The thing that concerns me is this - how many bullets are necessary to restrain an aggressor? Surely not six! I think the black people of America have experienced so much injustice all these years that they reached boiling point and could not restrain themselves any more. If the policeman had been reprimanded in some way the outcome would have been very different. Now everyone in that city is suffering in one way or another and the policeman will be a fugitive for the rest of his life. Jurors need to anticipate the psychological effect and outcome of their .decisions because the policeman was not justified in using all those shots. and for that he should punished.

CJ, December 1, 2014 6:03 PM

Wrong Again

Yes, it took that much to stop a 6'4" almost 300 lbs perp. The officer had done nothing but his job so he didn't warrant a "reprimand." The responsibility of a juror is to consider the facts and to follow the law. It is not to consider the psychological effects of their findings on the public. Perhaps you can explain how looting a flat screen TV assuages "pain." In addition, the officer was cleared so he is far from a "fugitive."

(10) ms c, December 1, 2014 2:01 AM

keep your eyes open

Regardless how "hurt their hearts are", one of the young man's relatives yelling "burn this b**** down" repeatedly incited numerous acts of arson, and he ought to be charged. Local businesses and even a church were totally gutted. people lost their jobs. How are those people's hearts feeling right now, do you think? Target and Walmart can handle it, mom and pop businesses close forever.

As far as being "college bound" he was signed up to attend a trade school called Vatterot College, where he was going to learn to be an HVAC tech. Tthere's nothing wrong with that, but it is not what most of us imagine when we hear "college bound."

He had THC in his system, per the tox screen at autopsy. Those "cigarillos" he stole are used to smoke marijuana. They call them blunts. So he was a drug user, recently had used drugs and was getting materials (by theft) to use more.

"Respect for cops" his momma claimed he had included telling a uniformed officer "f*** what you say".

Michael Brown was a "teen" because they want us to think he was just a kid, but he was a legal adult at 18, and a large one at that.

Please don't buy into all the hype. People have no right to burn, loot, and pillage just because they think a court decision is unfair. The physical evidence all supports the officer's account, so if the family, et al, wanted justice, they got it.

i think we can all see what they really want is revenge.

Anonymous, December 1, 2014 9:25 AM


This person acted savagely toward the store owner, there is no indication that the policeman would have fated better. As for dissatisfaction and protest? I believe Martin Luther King led a successful, respectable protest without the destruction of property and injury to people, the violent outbursts are inexcusable and totally unacceptable for a "civil" society.

Anonymous, December 1, 2014 4:44 PM

I am black! I am appalled!

In the 1960's riots, blacks destroyed and looted a lot Jewish and non-Jewish businesses, which did nothing to promote civil rights. Rodney King, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown are all tragedies, because a lives were lost or seriously damaged. Rioting and looting have done nothing, except destroy black communities.
Jewish people have suffered so much; yet, the chosen people of HASHEM did not and do not riot and loot. As a black and hispanic male, I have discovered comfort and direction in Torah and Talmud. More blacks should discover the 'secrets' that have sustained the chosen people, from Babylonian captivity through current tragedies.

Anonymous, December 1, 2014 7:42 PM

Gd bless you!!

jews have suffered so much. they came after holocaust with no money and did not have justifiable anger, and were broke but did not riot!!!!! omummer has ruined the usa

(9) Ellen Lebowicz, December 1, 2014 1:43 AM

If it's hysterical, it's historical

In the 12 step rooms there is a saying: "If it's hysterical, it's historical." If my reaction is out of proportion to the event, then what was the trigger. Often it's a signal to look at an unhealed wound from our past that still causes us great pain. And taking that pain out on someone else hurts both parties.

(8) G.W.Nottingham, December 1, 2014 12:49 AM

Two wrongs don't make a right.

I was taught if someone does wrong it doesn't give you the right to do something wrong also.The young man does wrong and steals something. Then the policeman does a worse wrong and kills the young man. Then the racists go out and rob and burn people homes who had nothing to do with the grand jury. They have now been wronged as much or more than anyone except the boys parents. How did that solve anything or make a right out of the actions?

(7) Anonymous, November 30, 2014 8:28 PM

People hurting and in pain always need prayer. We all hurt and the looting was not about their pain, it was vandalism, an injustice . All our emotions have a consequence, who are we accountable to but to God. He will be the finale judge of this tragedy.Rabbi Tzvi Sytner, spoke worthy, thank you for your view.

(6) Anonymous, November 30, 2014 8:17 PM

your comments are so naive

What happen in Ferguson is nothing new. It is not a racial thing. It is a cultural thing. Much of the media automatically assumed that because a white policeman shot an unarmed Black youth that it was racially motivated. Back in the'50s when i was in junior high, the same thing occur. Unfortunately, many black children do not have a uninified family unit. Many do not know whom their father is. For decades, there have been rabble rousers like Al Sharpton, who have made a good living telling Blacks that all their problems is because they were slaves 150 years ago. Where is personal responsibility? Statistically 80 -90% of Black crimes against Blacks are caused by other Blacks, Perhaps that is why the police spend more time in Black areas? The purpose of a Grand Jury is to determine if there is sufficient evidence to charge someone of a crime. In this case there wasn't. It is time for the Black community to do some self introspection. Respect for the law and judicial system is part of it.

(5) bill p, November 30, 2014 8:02 PM

pearls before swine

i don't believe i have ever seen jews looting. just sayin'. or mormons. or any who actively practice a religion. just those who are blatantly and proudly ignorant. i would have to become equally ignorant to feel their pain. i would have to value a new tv more than being honest with myself to do that. ignorance is curable. but only if you want to cure it. any good religious could cure it, and stop furthering it. just sayin'.

Anonymous, December 5, 2014 6:06 AM

no group is perfect

I find looting far less worrisome than some of the offenses, particularly against women, allegedly committed of late by members of the two faiths you mention. Each individual should be judged individually.

(4) CJ, November 30, 2014 6:54 PM


Michael Brown committed a strong arm robbery. He was 6'4" and almost 300 lbs. He refused to stop walking in the middle of the street (after said robbery) and then assaulted a police officer. I find nothing "promising" there. His choices are sad. Then his step-father calls for the city to be burned down. That gives a clue on how Michael was raised. As if this wasn't enough, people are looting, stealing, and burning down their city. I certainly didn't loot a TV when OJ was found not guilty. Ron Goldman was Jewish, remember?

(3) Chavi, November 30, 2014 5:33 PM

animals on the prowl

Some people just wait for any opportunity to loot, rob and steal and wreak havoc with impunity. For them it is a absolutely no consequences.

(2) Rachel, November 30, 2014 4:49 PM

"THEY must be very hurt" -- we should be, too

There are many valid points later in this piece, but I'm disturbed that the speaker begins by talking about how "they" (presumably the African-American community of MO) are hurt. Rabbi, WE should all be hurt -- that a promising young man due to start college went out and committed a minor robbery, that a police officer responded by shooting him numerous times, that the police dept. left the victim lying in the road for hours, that the prosecutor didn't bother to prosecute but instead left it all up to the grand jury to sort out the issues.
It's sad that there are people who see this as a problem for "them". These are problems for us all.

bill p, November 30, 2014 8:05 PM

a promising young man?

a minor robbery? you must be voluntarily living under a massive rock. please stay there.

Anonymous, November 30, 2014 8:26 PM

So much ugnorance

Rachel.......have you not heard the facts that this very large, strong young
man was high on drugs (enhancing his
strength)....had reached into the police car and began to beat the policeman and broke bones in his face! Forensics proved he was shot during this process.
The grand jury examining all the physical evidence and hearing eye witness accounts that matches the science is part of the judicial process before bring a case to trial. The factual science refutes the lies based on racial hatred. And you will notice it is the local black peaceful residents who suffer most. At the hand of fellow blacks. My

Anonymous, November 30, 2014 10:48 PM

Life of crime

Those who choose a life of crime and resist arrest die young, regardless of skin color. Stealing is stealing... I am disturbed you can call ANY robbery minor.. Robberies are made under the threat of violence.

Anonymous, November 30, 2014 11:11 PM

He was not a promising young man

We must stop making excuses for criminals. There is video proof of how he treated the shop keeper, and ample proof of how he disrespected the law and officer of the law. We are "all hurt" by the fact that criminals are not harshly punished for their crimes, making crime attractive to those who might otherwise be deterred and therefore look to a promising future for themselves.

Tom Sullivan, December 1, 2014 12:58 AM

fact check

It is tragic, but not for the reasons you've cited. The young man committed a strong armed robery, by taking merchandise from a store, and daring the owner to stop him. He was not shot for this offense, however.
FYI, before someone can be charged with a crime, the evidence must be presented to a grand jury. In this case, the grand jury heard testimony from 60 people, and reviewed the evidence. Based on that, they decided there was not enough evidence to bring forth charges. The justice system took its course, and decided accordingly. Nevertheless, Al Sharpton and Eric Holder and company claim that they shooting was racially motivated. So much for the facts.
It is a tragedy for the community, and the police officer whom evidently was justifiably threatened by the 300 pound assailant. And it is tragic that the Ferguson community didn't want to hear the facts, but is still under the delusion that the killing was racially motivated, and proceeded to rampage the city. That is their problem, not one "for us all."

Anonymous, December 1, 2014 1:02 AM

Get your facts correct

This " promising young man" commuted a felony, strong arm robbery. The evidence before the grand jury was that this " promising young man" attacked the police officer. and that the police officer was defending himself while trying to arrest someone who fit the robber's description. Normally DA's only
present enough evidence to a grand jury to get an indictment in order to prosecute the case before a judge and jury.
This grand jury spend a inordinate amount of time time with considerable evidence before it decided not to indict. This process has been in place in this nation in most states for many years.

Anonymous, December 1, 2014 2:40 AM

Michael Brown was attacking the police officer

Michael Brown was trying to grab the gun from the officer in his car, and he was charging at the officer, who feared for his life and safety. It isn't 1963 in Selma, Alabama and it isn't Mississippi Burning anymore. The people of Ferguson may have grievances against their police department, but those who riot, steal, and commit arson deserve no respect or sympathy. The rioters are dishonoring the memory of Martin Luther King, Jr.

rachel, December 5, 2014 6:00 AM

a few things to conside

I was as disgusted as you by Brown's behavior on tape. Nonetheless, a strong arm robbery of items of little worth is not a capital offense and might not even be a felony.
My point, which some of you missed or ignored, was that I did not understand the author's "us" vs " them" terminology. To quote a much greater writer, No man is an island. The death of every man diminishes me.

(1) DAVID FRANKEL, November 30, 2014 4:43 PM


Anonymous, November 30, 2014 10:42 PM

Racist Bigots? @David Frankel

I understand why racist white people use derogatory terms like that when they refer to Black pople. However, I wonder why a Jew would use that kind of description. Black people feel hurt and pain when we watch the horrors of the holocaust that is constantly aired on American TV. We think that Jews are justified when they destroy Palestinian homes of terrorists. Not all Palestinians are terrorist. However, a lot of Jews feel justified in destroying their property. It may not be looting, robbing, or stealing; but tell that to the Palestinians.

Anonymous, December 1, 2014 7:44 PM

you are 10000% right..just want to riot, dr king is rolling

in his grave! jews and good Christians don't riot when one of their own is slaughtered unprovoked!! holder, obummer, etc should be in jail for sedition!


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