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Should we expect peaceful protests late at night?

The looting continued last night in Ferguson, Missouri. In fact, it has begun to spread to neighboring towns. Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol, who is in charge of security in Ferguson, has asked protesters to remain peaceful, and pledged to get things under control. At least 31 were arrested last night, at least 2 of whom were not from the Ferguson area.

What we have in Ferguson is little but a rabble. Yes, many people are genuinely peaceful and interested in simple justice. Yet why would peaceful people protest at night? Why would peaceful people gather especially late at night, except to engage in mob behavior and have less chance of being caught, while at the same time sewing together an undercurrent of racial hatred which doesn't really run that deep but for when Al Sharpton smells a soap box.

Capt. Johnson is right to call those inciting the mob 'criminals'. No one really interested in justice storms the businesses of innocent store owners. No one who truly wants justice for Michael Brown or even Darren Wilson hides under the cover of darkness. And you might just notice that no one who supports the idea that Officer Wilson deserves his day in court are rioting in Ferguson, nor shooting their way into stores let alone shooting each other. That's right, 2 people were shot last night, and not by the cops.

It's time to call things what they are, and to remind the presumed majority of peaceful protesters to assert themselves if they really mean to support nonviolence. We're skeptical that their intentions are all that peaceful if they're coming out so late at night; what are these folks looking for under such conditions? Yes, that's a pointed question. And yes, you can take it at face value. We must wonder if perhaps several of those assembling are either looking for an opportunity to do who knows what, or to gawk and rubberneck. Neither option is particularly useful to the causes of peace and justice.

Nor, again, do they help Michael Brown get justice. So we are left to question whether that's what they really want.

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