It started with peaceful protests. It always does. Oppressed, poor or otherwise desperate people take to the streets because they don’t know what else to do. Because their neighbours are doing it. Because the world is unfair to so many people. Because attention should be paid.
The reasons don’t matter. The peacefulness does.
Nobody who is marching for justice and change really wants to burn down a bakery or steal some trainers from a Nike store.
But then it starts happening.
Windows are broken. Bricks are thrown. Civilians are sprayed with mace. Bystanders are caught up in the throng. People get hurt.
It doesn’t need to happen, but it does.
Sometimes police panic in the face of intimidating crowds. Sometimes protesters let their anger boil over. A small minority of people just enjoy violence and chaos. Others stand to benefit from it, they stoke conflict and spread blame.
Then the molotov cocktails are flying and the snipers are shooting people on both sides. There’s blood in the streets and barricades are going up and the whole thing has its own momentum.
And, through all this, the media is churning out the noise. Partisan and dehumanising. “criminals” on one side “Fascists” on the other. Both sides are called thugs. Fox News and CNN tell the same stories with reversed points of view, slashing society down the centre.
And the chaos builds. The President has to do something, so he calls in the army.
Now the press are calling him a fascist and a dictator. They say he’s violated his office and he has to resign or be removed or be arrested.