Things to consider before participating in a student riot

A student who is rioting is chased by riot police.
Why is it that students the world over often march through city streets instead of peacefully studying in their classrooms? What do they hope to gain by creating an uproar? Are their actions planned or are they spontaneous? What should the individual student consider when he sees such demonstrations building up?"

Points to Ponder


Without doubt in many instances there have been gross injustices that have motivated students to riot. Their actions appeared to be justified.

However, it would be dangerous to conclude that all student uprisings are of such a nature. There are other elements involved that the student would do well to consider before getting enmeshed in the mobs.

Where the demonstration is spontaneous, as many seem to be, does the average student who finds himself involved know all the facts concerning the issue?

How many who are spectators, or merely curious, and get swept along with the crowd have had time to make a calm analysis of the situation?

Would there be time to ask one of those participating about the background and intentions of the group? There is little likelihood of getting all the answers to these questions when a mob is already on the move.

While the demonstration may appear justified on the surface, it might be otherwise if all the facts were known. Where emotion has begun to run riot, it is difficult to obtain rational answers to one’s inquiries.

Very serious danger is that of getting swept up into a student demonstration that seems innocent enough on the surface, whose motives appear to be honest and justified, but which demonstration is being manipulated and used by elements whose motives are not at all pure.

By succumbing to the mob fever, which is so easily aroused in any mass demonstration, students can unwittingly become the tools of right-wing or left-wing radicals who do not embrace their ideals.

Unknowingly, these sincere students will actually assist such radical elements to destroy an established government and to pave the way for a government that is fashioned according to the warped views of those extremists.

Another very serious aspect for the student to consider is that frequently these demonstrations lead to something the student had not anticipated when he first went along with the group.

What was intended to be a peaceful demonstration can quickly turn into a disaster.

Harsh words can turn into shoves, followed by fists, which could lead to retaliation by bullets.

All of a sudden a student can find himself in a street where blood is being spilled, when that may have been the farthest thing from his mind when he started.

Consider, too, the results. While it is true that student demonstrations have, at times, stimulated military men to overthrow oppressive rulers, they have often failed to achieve student objectives. 

Even when a bad government is overthrown, the students cannot be certain that the new government will be an improvement.

The injustices and oppression's to which they objected can, in time, return and even intensify.

Consider Youthful Immaturity


The immaturity of the students must be considered also.

This immaturity is clearly evident in their readiness to demonstrate wildly against such things as a raise in bus fares, new dormitory regulations, examinations, governmental decisions, and so forth.

Resorting to public disorder as a way to make known their displeasure or their opinions is not the course of mature thinking.

Such impetuousness causes needless injuries, property damage and deaths. The death of just one student is a very expensive price to pay for protesting a raise in bus fares.

When students want to make known their views on a matter that concerns them, they can do it in a peaceful and mature manner rather than resorting to the emotional display of an unreasoning mob.

Mob action is the path of anarchy and not the path of law and order. It is not the way for students to learn how to be law abiding citizens who have respect for the property and rights of others.

When they surge through a city as an emotional mob, setting streetcars ablaze, overturning police cars and destroying public buildings, they are injuring the common people, whose tax money paid for such things.

When they destroy private property, they harm innocent people. Such vandalism puts them in the class of undisciplined delinquents.

This latter point is to be taken into consideration. Not all student mobs have as their foundation a righteous or just cause.

Some of these riots are only expressions of youths filled with rebellion against any established authority. It is just part of youth’s rebellion against parents, school and government.

This can be seen in the fact that the greatest increase in the crime rates of most countries is among those under the age of twenty-one.

Yes, many riots find their roots in unrighteous hatred for minorities, disrespect for established authorities and a youthful rebellious spirit against the world.

Therefore the hazards of indulging in such student riots are, therefore, far greater than any immediate benefits to be derived.

Many students, after participating in such riots, have apologized and expressed their dismay at having been caught up and used in something they had not anticipated.

So consider these things before you decide to join such riots.

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