The more I look at this protest situation, the more the pieces don't quite fit.
There was the original muder committed by a Minneapolis police officer. Then came the crimes of the other police officers there who did not stop the murder. No doubt about it, this was police brutality.
Then there were the original local protests against injustice and police brutality.
Then, because it is a Presidential election year with an incumbent Republican and a "white" officer killed a "black" man, of course it made national headlines. American racism is on the decline and has been for decades, but the the Narrative® is that America is hopelessly and irredeemably racist. It's only the wisdom of the progressive Democrats that has kept Americans to the moral path.
It's not true, but it makes for great headlines.
Then the protests went national. Good Americans were outraged about the murder. Some felt that this reflected injustice and inequality in America. Protests were a natural and very American thing to do, whether you agreed with the Narrative® or not. And if more people learned about what happened, well, maybe the nation could become a better place.
So far nothing really new or unexpected. But that's when it gets murky.
Chances are none of the rest would have happened without the Narrative®. But some wanted a radical change. Unseating a President. Desperate people calling for more government power under the wise and benevolent Democrats with those nasty racist Republicans exiled to the middle of Nebraska. The Narrative® needed a symbol of tragic government failure caused by incompetent Republicans and a certain Bad Orange Man.
So professionals were brought in. Organized. Well equipped. And probably more than one group. These were the provocateurs. Their job was to make trouble.
Since outside experts weren't nearly enough manpower, those professionals recruited local talent for most of the gruntwork. The pros could blend into the crowd and leave when things got too hot. The local agitators would take all the heat.
Others wanted to smash and burn just for the hell of it. A few really felt disenfranchised by government. Some were reacting to the COVID-19 lockdown. Some were terribly frustrated and thought that Someone Must Pay. Or at least be victimized so they themselves could feel better.
If competent police had done their job, there is no way the non-professionals could last long. If competent police had done their job, the professional agitators would have soon been caught. But the media and certain dammed politicians were all about the Narrative®. America was evil and racist. We weren't allowed offend the protestors.
Notice how the line between the rioters and protestors gets deliberately blurred. Anything negative said or done against the crimes of the rioters becomes (by Moral Proclamation) criticism and active attacks against the protestors. The protests were good, and if some people were hurt by the riots and looting, well, it's just the price of freedom.
And if those Really Bad Republicans had not held the Presidency, these terrible things couldn't have happened. Even though those terrible things happened in Democrat controlled cities in Democrat controlled states and resulting from Democrat polices over years, maybe decades. But the Narrative® plainly stated that it was Republicans fault. And the only real answer was more Democrat government.
That's when things took a real turn. People being people, there are always those who use unrest and opportunity to cash in. Behind the scenes, there were criminal gangs who started looting. Organized gangs that distracted what few police were deployed. All under the cover of protests. Or riots.
So we have the original protestors. Then the media pushing headlines. Then the politicos selling the Narrative®. Then the national protestors showing their solidarity. Then the professional provocateurs. Then the part-timers agitators doing it for a quick buck. Then the non-professional rioters. And finally the criminals. While they probably aren't directly collaborating, the Narrative® means that all this must be treated as protest and sorta-kinda free speech and natural reaction. By my count, that is eight classes of groups, all with different agendas and goals.I won't speculate how connected these groups are with each other or how the behavior of one group influences the others. But I will point out the linchpin of the whole mess.
Protests are not riots. Protests are legitimate uses of free speech. And the more local the better. Protests in the same city are a good thing. Protests four states away are virtue signalling.
Riots are crimes. Riots use force. Riots aren't morally right even if they are "inspired" by protests.
Protests are not riots.