RESTITUTION NOT RETRIBUTION: What Price Should The Rioters Pay?


Former NBA star Charles Barklay, who is never shy about expressing his opinions, called the Ferguson rioters “scumbags.”

In a rare TV appearance, African-American Economist and author, Thomas Sowell, commented on the aftermath of the riots saying, “I think what has happened in Ferguson, Missouri, is going to adversely affect blacks yet unborn, who will still be paying the price for it 10, 20 years from now because they’re not going to have businesses there that you had before.”

Dr. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. condemned rioting and violent protests. “I believe rioting is actually an unnecessary evil,” King said.

“During my lifetime and during the times that I marched or went to jail, or my father, A.D. King, or my uncle, Martin, we were asking people not to riot, but to use our words and use peaceful protest.”

Last week I offered what I believe should be the appropriate Christian response to the situation in Ferguson, Missouri. This week I posted some thoughts on Justice. But as our “national dialogue” continues I’ve been thinking about what consequences those guilty of looting and rioting should suffer.

Columnist Cal Thomas, recently wrote a piece entitled “Response to Ferguson rioters: Restitution and shaming” that I offer in part for your consideration.

“I have an answer and it is one that should be applied to anyone convicted of riotous behavior, destruction of property and looting. It’s called restitution.”

Thomas is right when he wrote, “Restitution is an Old Testament concept instituted to remind people that when one harms another person, or steals or destroys property, someone else suffers and deserves reimbursement. It says the state is less a debtor than the victim of a crime. Restitution can also instill true moral guilt in a person, which can lead to genuine repentance and a decision by the perpetrator to make different choices leading to a better life.”

Here’s how Cal Thomas would implement the restitution. “As the authorities in Ferguson examine videos that show the faces of many of the rioters and looters, charges will undoubtedly be filed. If convicted, the perpetrators should be forced to pay for the damage they caused. If they have jobs, their paychecks should be garnished. If they are on welfare, those checks should be forwarded to the businesses they destroyed. If they receive food-purchasing assistance, that assistance should be withdrawn. This should be the practice going forward. Those who destroy their communities will be required to pay back those harmed by their hooliganism and forfeit any government benefits they receive. This might require legislation, but politicians should have the public’s support.”

“A close relative of restitution is shaming. The convicted should be brought before those harmed by their behavior and publicly shamed,” suggest the Columnist.   “No one seems to be ashamed of anything nowadays, but shaming might help prevent future violence. Rioters and looters who are black could be shamed by law-abiding African-Americans. They can be asked, “Is this why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. marched and went to prison? Is this why he paid the ultimate price? Would he and other civil rights leaders dating back to Frederick Douglass be proud of your behavior today? Don’t you owe them something better than this?”

I don’t know if shaming would work, because the actions of many today remind me of Jeremiah’s observation on the sins of ancient Judah. “Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush.” However, like Judah, God will judge evil doers today, “So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the Lord.” (Jer 8:12)

“If they don’t feel ashamed, they should,” wrote Cal Thomas.  “We’ve gotten away from personal responsibility and accountability, preferring instead to cast lawbreakers as “victims,” when the true victims are often ignored.”

May we all be guided by the exhortation of scripture, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord” (Rom. 12:17-20)

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under America

4 responses to “RESTITUTION NOT RETRIBUTION: What Price Should The Rioters Pay?

  1. Dave

    Very good words and actions to take.Hope our leaders are listening. I believe it is another example of how far this nation has fallen.How long will God look the other way? Judgement on this nation may be near, whatever that may be.We pray for repentance and the grace and mercy of God.


  2. Peggy

    Great article, thanks for sharing.


  3. pam

    temper tandrum


  4. I personally feel that any rioter or thief should be warned ahead of time when the town or some part of the government is given warning that rioting is planned. That if the rioters are caught in the act of vandalizing and encouraging others to do the same, and cause bodily harm or death to innocent bystanders or government officials working to keep control of the situation or looting – “It will be shoot to kill.” Why do I say this? Most of the rioters were not Ferguson, MO, residents, but dissidents brought in and stirred up by the likes of prominent outside agitators who have the nerve to call themselves “Reverends”. I do have to wonder of whom they are “Reverends” when it has been noted that black on black crime kills 5,000 blacks a year and police against blacks kills 50 blacks a year. Who really is the culprit here? Even the black store owners were fearful for their stores and livelihood in Ferguson. Many blacks have spoken out against these hooligans! Now start speaking out against their leaders who are always yelling “RACISM” “RACISM” – we all know who the main culprits are! It’s time to stop giving them a soap box on which to preach their hate mantras against white America. I’d like to know how much of their own money do they give to the poor blacks around the world who are starving due to evil black governments. Let’s tell the truth. In the 1960’s and 1970’s rioters were warned – “you loot, we shoot!” because of the extreme danger innocent bystanders endured! Why has it changed? I don’t care who starts it, if someone is looting and destroying property and generally causing excessive rioting leading to the harm or deaths of innocent bystanders then our government should obey the which says they are to be stopped and dealt with appropriately: See following:

    18 U.S.C. § 2101 : US Code – Section 2101: Riots

    (a) Whoever travels in interstate or foreign commerce or uses any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including, but not limited to, the mail, telegraph, telephone, radio, or television, with intent – (1) to incite a riot; or (2) to organize, promote, encourage, participate in, or carry on a riot; or (3) to commit any act of violence in furtherance of a riot; or (4) to aid or abet any person in inciting or participating in or carrying on a riot or committing any act of violence in furtherance of a riot; and who either during the course of any such travel or use or thereafter performs or attempts to perform any other overt act for any purpose specified in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), or (D) of this paragraph – (!1) Shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. (b) In any prosecution under this section, proof that a defendant engaged or attempted to engage in one or more of the overt acts described in subparagraph (A), (B), (C), or (D) of paragraph (1) of subsection (a) (!2) and (1) has traveled in interstate or foreign commerce, or (2) has use of or used any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including but not limited to, mail, telegraph, telephone, radio, or television, to communicate with or broadcast to any person or group of persons prior to such overt acts, such travel or use shall be admissible proof to establish that such defendant traveled in or used such facility of interstate or foreign commerce. (c) A judgment of conviction or acquittal on the merits under the laws of any State shall be a bar to any prosecution hereunder for the same act or acts. (d) Whenever, in the opinion of the Attorney General or of the appropriate officer of the Department of Justice charged by law or under the instructions of the Attorney General with authority to act, any person shall have violated this chapter, the Department shall proceed as speedily as possible with a prosecution of such person hereunder and with any appeal which may lie from any decision adverse to the Government resulting from such prosecution. (e) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to make it unlawful for any person to travel in, or use any facility of, interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of pursuing the legitimate objectives of organized labor, through orderly and lawful means. (f) Nothing in this section shall be construed as indicating an intent on the part of Congress to prevent any State, any possession or Commonwealth of the United States, or the District of Columbia, from exercising jurisdiction over any offense over which it would have jurisdiction in the absence of this section; nor shall anything in this section be construed as depriving State and local law enforcement authorities of responsibility for prosecuting acts that may be violations of this section and that are violations of State and local law.

    One of my family members served on riot control during the Viet Nam War Years – all I can say is he came home a different person from the one who left our home at 17 – that was how bad the whole situation was here in the States – that our soldiers were permanently scarred just as if they served in Viet Nam!

    What about those who committed perjury against the Grand Jury? I never heard such ridiculous excuses on the newscasts as I did for those who perjured themselves. There is enough video tape and evidence identifying the many looters and rioters and the perjurers who spoke up at the Grand Jury proceedings! They all should be prosecuted!

    I feel as Dave does regarding the fallen nature of this nation – it is just a matter of time now for us as Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Belshazzar, discovered when he turner completely away from God. God wrote on his banquet hall wall: “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN” which means God had numbered the days of Belshazzar’s kingdom, and it’s time was up. This was the reason God repeated MENE, MENE. Now TEKEL meant that God weighed Belshazzar’s life style and found it woefully lacking – he did not measure up as a kind in any way. Now UPHARSIN is the plural of PERES, God chose again – for emphasis – the plural as the Medes and Persians that very night would divide his kingdom which is exactly what happened – should we fair any better???????


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.