The nightly rioting that has rocked the Missouri city of Ferguson is triggering a dialogue about race and justice in the United States, syndicated political cartoonist and columnist Ted Rall says.
"There’s no question about the fact that we would not be having this discussion if not for the media attention. And the media attention would not be there if not for sustained rioting," Rall said Wednesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV
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"We are repeatedly told both by the left and the right [is] that people who want positive social change need to go about it through voting … through letters to the editor of their local newspaper, through nonviolent means.
"But … if you try to effect that kind of change nonviolently, you're not going to get the kind of attention that the media is going to give you if you're willing to break things."
His comments came as police and politicians continue to grapple with the racial unrest that has unhinged the predominantly African American St. Louis suburb of 21,000 following the fatal shooting of black teen Michael Brown by a white police officer.
Rall believes lawmakers must be more responsive to people who peacefully protest.
"The thing about rioting is it's a powder keg. Some people have legitimate grievance and there's always going to be people who take advantage of that and try to direct it into ways that are just related to criminal activity," he said.
"You have to ask, why are people doing this? You know race riots don't happen every day in every city. Why are they happening in Ferguson? Why are they happening now?"
"Clearly there's a situation there where people have been disrespected and abused and oppressed for a long time."
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