Yes, the outrage is understandable.

Yes, the frustration is understandable.

Yes, the anger is understandable.

Yes, the protests are understandable. And warranted.

It is even understandable that given the many years of blatant racism and disproportionate cases of police brutality targeting black Americans protesters people want to resort to more than walking and chanting in unison.

If we admit it, have we not all been so angry that we want to punch someone or something? Have we not been so enraged that we consider breaking things? Or even do so?

Imagine, then, with all the pent up anger, outrage and frustration over social injustice how difficult it might be for some not to resort to doing more than marching and chanting.

But make no mistake. The nation cannot heal that way. Those who take to burning and looting the businesses and automobiles with no regard for the property owners’ involvement or stance on such issues are distracting from the very message they want to send and, in some cases, turning sympathetic eyes and ears the other direction.

Fortunately, the majority of those protesting across the nation are doing so peacefully, including here in Greenwood. They are unified in making their message known, which is that it is time to end the racial division, strife and injustice that George Floyd — and others before him — have come to represent.

It is unfortunate that some involved in the protests have seen fit to abandon the message and, instead, resort to a self-serving mission of stealing. Or, in some cases, destroy for the sake of destroying. But again, they are in the minority while the majority remain true to their message.

Violence, destruction and theft will get plenty of attention and camera time, but the overarching message being broadcast through peaceful organized protests is what must remain the nation’s focal point.

We can condemn the violence, the burning and looting, but we cannot let those actions distract from what the real and ever-present problem is within America.