At the Trump inaugural, protesters were in the streets destroying property. The news media covered the destruction hoping for even greater violence. Thankfully, with the exception of a few sucker punch attacks by the anti-Trump protesters, nobody appeared seriously hurt. There is, however, a part of the protest story that seldom gets told. What happens as a result of the property destruction? Here are a couple of examples:
A limousine was first damaged and then set ablaze. Nobody was injured – right? Well, not quite. Many limousines are privately owned. The owner now doesn’t have a vehicle to rent. He is also out the insurance deductible, as well as depreciation and a likely increase in insurance costs. We are talking about thousands of dollars of lost opportunity and livelihood. Who pays, certainly not the protestors!
A Starbuck had its plate glass windows smashed. Nobody was injured – right? Well, not quite. Starbucks employs a lot of folks. At busy times, there are least 8 people behind the counter taking orders, preparing food and drink, and getting paid. Now the place is shut down until repairs can be made – and, once again, insurance deductibles as well as increased costs of insurance apply. We are talking about thousands of dollars of lost wages as well as the lost opportunity associated with closure. Who pays, certainly not the protestors.
The authorities seem to accept property damage as nothing more than an inconvenience to be handled by “someone else”. They arrest the worst of the protestors, obtain money from fines, and quickly release those arrested if only property is damaged.
Well, to me, that is not good enough. Property isn’t independent of people, and private property certainly isn’t independent of ownership and ownership costs. Accountability shouldn’t just be a fine, but involve restitution of loss to owners, employees and others involved with the business.
The Bill of Rights guarantees the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. What we are seeing in far too many streets in far too many cities is a growing “right” to do whatever feels “fair and just” with no consideration of the impact on the wellbeing livelihood of other American citizens.