Laquan McDonald, a 17 year old in Chicago, was shot 16 times in October of 2014 as he tried to escape police officers after attempting to burglarize vehicles in the area.  He was grasping a knife in one hand and appeared on the video to attempt the escape by hurrying past officers on foot, picking up his pace in a different direction.

He was then shot 16 times, by Officer Jason Van Dyke, even after having fallen to the ground.  Seventeen year old Laquan McDonald died that night alone in the middle of the street, at the hands of Chicago police.  Van Dyke has just recently been charged with first degree murder, over a year later.

Chicagoans should be angry as hell.  Americans should be angry as hell- not only that this kind of gross misconduct happens far too often with police officers around the country, but that it took over a year for any charges to be filed because the corruption in Chicago runs that deep. No other person in the city of Chicago who shot another person on video 16 times would get to wait a full year before being charged; this is a privilege that extends only to cops.

On the heels of the release of the video, there have been major protests the last few days in Chicago, and rightfully so. The first Amendment exists for a reason, and a profound reason exists here.

However, reports also relayed that protesters were blocking others from Black Friday shopping, barricading entrances, intimidating innocent shoppers, and ripping down Christmas lights.

“At some stores along Michigan Avenue, employees were directing shoppers to exit from side doors. When one person tried to get through the front door of Saks Fifth Avenue, protesters screamed at him, shouting, ‘Shut it down! Shut it down.’ Entrances were also blocked at the Disney Store, the Apple Store, Nike, Tiffany & Co., and Neiman Marcus.”

One protestor, Khailid Parrett, is even quoted as saying “it’s about redistributing the pain.  If we get hurt, you gotta hurt too.  And the only place that some Americans know about hurt is when it come to their pockets.”

This kind of activity causes those who have a just cause to completely lose the value of their message.  People are not sympathetic to the difficulties of others if they feel intimidated or pressured by that group.  They aren’t going to support those punishing them for something they had nothing to do with and no control over.   And yesterday in Chicago, unfortunately for some unsuspecting shoppers, that’s precisely what happened.

Just this year, there have been multiple occasions of BLM protesters rioting, looting, and generally doing their best to cause chaos, even in the communities in which they live.

Freddie Gray protesters were reported to have rioted, looted, and thrown bottles and rocks at police officers.  One hundred and thirteen officers were hurt during the riots in Baltimore.  Three people were shot in Ferguson during the protests.

As long as anger is misdirected toward innocent or unconnected people and businesses, society is apt to overlook the message, which is that in the last few years, there have been enough questionable police misconduct with African Americans to warrant an honest societal conversation.

The problem is, as with so many other movements, that people who have risen up to lead the movement are more interested in using the movement to line their own pockets than they are in advancing the goals of the movement itself. It has happened to the TEA Party and it is happening to the BLM movement, whose alleged public leaders have been exposed as taking grift from Soros related entities to continue agitating. They don’t want solutions, they want an excuse to keep drawing checks from lefty donors.

#BlackLivesMatter and protesters for the cause must remember that how they communicate their message is essential to affect necessary change.  The entire country is watching.  Just as police officers must be held accountable for their wrongdoings, so must BLM.  Two wrongs have never, in history, made a right.  When the rest of the country sees this movement engaging in disrespectful acts, especially toward innocent bystanders, they lose their credibility.  When they lose their credibility, they lose their message.  And they ought to look long and hard at their leadership for why this is happening.

The movement has certainly gained the media attention they were seeking.  If they want real change, they must use that attention wisely.  I think they would be surprised at the allies they would gain in the process.