Here's A Much-Needed Reminder About Civil Unrest In Light Of The Baltimore Riots

Groups of protesters violently clashed with police in Baltimore on Monday, before looting businesses and setting fire to cars and structures. At least 15 officers were injured in these confrontations, according to police. By the end of the night, almost 200 people had been arrested. Protesters gathered hours after a funeral was held for Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man who suffered a fatal injury while in police custody last week under circumstances that still have not been revealed.

While some people have sought to explain the sense of frustration and despair that could drive citizens of Baltimore to do this, few are actually condoning their specific actions as the best or most wise way to achieve progress. But as discussion about the riots continues over the next few days, it's necessary to keep the turmoil in perspective.

People, especially Twitter users, have regularly taken the opportunity to point out that civil unrest comes in all colors, shapes and sizes, and for all sorts of reasons (yes, including relatively bad ones). When tensions boil over, it's important that we don't cast aside underlying issues in favor of shallower judgments about those doing the protesting. Unless, as is the case with the examples below, there are far fewer underlying issues.

Fans rioted near the University of Kentucky campus in Lexington earlier this month, after Wisconsin defeated its team in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis. People reportedly threw bottles and lit fires. Police responded with pepper spray and other crowd dispersal techniques, before ultimately arresting 31 people.

kentucky fans gathered lexington
(AP Photo/David Stephenson)

Kentucky fans also rioted after winning in the Final Four in 2014.

kentucky fans lexington april

Kentucky students rioted again after their school lost the championship that year.

After the San Francisco Giants won the World Series last year and in 2012, fans began rioting in the city. Below is a picture of a fan destroying a bus in 2012:

Students also began rioting after Penn State fired football coach Joe Paterno in 2011.

And here's the scene on campus after the UConn men's basketball team made it to the Final Four last year.

UConn students destroyed even more after the men's team won it all in April.

Fans in Vancouver rioted after their team lost the Stanley Cup in 2011.

There are also riots at a New Hampshire pumpkin festival every October. People aren't really sure why.

A version of this story was first published ahead of unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, last November.



Baltimore Protests