People are bold when they are anonymous. Being in a crowd makes them anonymous. It is difficult to be singled out.
This is the true reason behind the rioting in Baltimore. It’s opportunity. It is opportunity for the worst of human nature to be let loose. This conduct isn’t about social justice. That’s just the “cover story.” The real reason for the mayhem is — these individuals are anonymous, and there’s opportunity.
I would bet that these persons would rob an elderly black woman of her purse as easily as burn a police cruiser.
The responsible individuals — the ones who have standing in the community — who will do the work of bringing about change — are calling for the very opposite of what the rioters are doing. The responsible parties like religious leaders and the dead victim’s own family are calling for calm. They now have the doubly difficult task of trying to create change at the same time as restoring order.
We see this every time there is a seemingly legitimate “cover story” for people to go out into the streets: whether it be a Super Bowl championship or an outrage by police officers. The same reaction occurs. A “cover story” is readily available for people to hit the streets. But the real reason for these losers to destroy and injure is — opportunity.
The same thing has happened in South Africa. Once freedom was secured for all, a tidal wave of crime broke out. Apologists explained, “it’s pay-back time.” But the reality was far different. The crime was being committed mainly not against whites but primarily against blacks and persons of mixed race. Why? Opportunity.
Opportunity and anonymity bring out in some people the worst of human nature. Their conduct stands in contrast to the message of any reformer — be it Jesus or Gandhi or Dr. King. People who truly want to influence change do so by being “people of the light” — who act honorably even under cover of darkness or the anonymity of a crowd.