Statement on Riots

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Last night a group of looters and vandals took to the streets in the Ferguson area of St. Louis to cause damage and harm. The governor was right to activate the National Guard to protect residents and neighborhoods and stop lawless violence.

Like so many others, I have seen the video of George Floyd’s death, and I am appalled by it. It should never have happened. In our country, our Constitution and laws forbid those with government power to abuse it to the harm of others. And our laws provide redress when they do. And there must be redress, there must be justice, here. And Americans have every right to assemble and call for that redress and justice.

But looting and burning and assault are something else entirely. They endanger innocent citizens and police officers, they destroy the livelihoods of neighbors and friends, they deface and disfigure the communities we call home. And they must stop. I salute the police officers and guardsmen and women who are putting their lives on the line to keep our homes safe. And I join those other Missourians and Americans who want to work together and anew so that, in the words of the Scripture, “the poor may have hope, and injustice shut its mouth.”