My 22 year old daughter went to the protest in Atlanta yesterday afternoon. She lives in the eastern part of the "downtown" area so the CNN building is about 5 miles from her apartment.
She said that in the beginning, it was peaceful - thousands of people mostly standing around and chanting and singing or whatever. However, as the afternoon wore on, individuals began to arrive who were clearly not there to be peaceful.
She said many of them were dressed alike and all had gas masks and backpacks. She didn't see it directly, but was told these were the individuals who began setting off fireworks and throwing things at the cops - which started the initial conflict. Once the cops fired the first tear gas canister, the conflict naturally escalated and many of the peaceful protesters were caught in the middle.
She and her friends left right after the crowd set fire to the first police car, but they had trouble getting out of the area and it ended up taking them several hours to get back to her apartment. She said she will not be going back.
I have personally lived in this area for most of my life - although now I am in the suburbs - and I have seen and been a part of many protests over many different matters. And I can tell you that what happened last night was not just an outlier, it was unprecedented. It wasn't a protest of anything at all. It was nothing more than a mob bent on destruction for the sake of destruction - and self-enrichment through looting.
However, consider the fact that most major media outlets continue to refer to these actions as "protests"... Some MSNBC hack is on video standing in front of a burning building in Minneapolis with dozens of rioters behind him claiming with a straight face that what you're seeing is mostly peaceful demonstration... Baghdad Bob anyone? Is this where we are in society now? Afraid, or politically-motivated, to the point where we can't actually call something like this what it clearly is? Is that how far we've fallen?
Furthermore, how many black-owned businesses in all of these cities did the rioters destroy and loot? How many lives and livelihoods of black business owners and their employees will be forever altered or destroyed because of their actions? Did anyone think about that? Did they consider what they were doing? Clearly the answer was no. They don't think about these things because they are just a mob - and a mob is nothing more than a pack of animals.
I hope last night was the end of it for every city - but especially Atlanta.