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There has been a lot going on in the world and sometimes I have to take a break from the local scene and see what’s happening elsewhere.

One of the most interesting news items I’ve seen recently was the attempted terror attack in Garland, Texas. Two self-proclaimed jihadists who may (or may not) have been part of the Islamic State terrorist group, thought they would try to pull off an attack similar to the one in Paris.

You remember the Paris attack, where some more ISIS followers attacked the magazine Charlie Hebdo in January, and they killed 17 people before finally being taken down by police. The reason for the attack? The gunmen were angry because the magazine had published a caricature of the prophet Muhammed. This is considered offensive to Muslims and is punishable by death.

Well the attack in Garland, a suburb of Dallas, didn’t go quite the same. Maybe the two gunmen, one of whom had been on a terror watchlist for some time, didn’t consider the fact Texas isn’t Paris. The gunmen pulled up to a school, where a conservative group was holding an art contest to find the best cartoon depiction of Muhammed, and when they got out they were confronted by an off-duty police officer who was acting as security.

The officer engaged the attackers and, well, let’s just say they both ended up being shot to death. The officer received a minor wound, was treated at a local hospital and then he was sent home. That’s American justice for you. Don’t mess with us because we are done being victimized and terrorized by misguided religious zealots who think they are carrying out the will of their god.

There were also the riots in Baltimore. Civil unrest has been growing in recent months, since the shooting of Michael Brown, a black teenager, by a white police officer. When another African American man, Freddie Gray, died after being arrested April 18 by Baltimore police (from a broken neck) all Hell broke loose in the city.

I’m not going to address the social and economic issues involved in the matter, because they are complicated and they are highly charged political fodder. What I am going to say is it is ridiculous to riot, to burn your own businesses and to use rioting as an excuse to loot and steal. Nothing says I’m angry with the system like stealing a TV, right?

People who riot, burn buildings and vehicles and throw rocks at police are doing nothing for their cause. They are not sending a message that says “we want to open dialogue about what we consider racism.” Instead, they are saying “we’re going to burn, steal and kill — fear us!”

Rioting is not the answer. Violence is not the answer. Blaming all police and assuming they are all bad is just as wrong as assuming someone is bad because of the color of their skin. It needs to stop now for the good of the nation and for the sake of people of all colors getting along. ggould@mihomepaper.com


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