Making Waves: Hear the music of the message

Most people wait for their paycheck to go shopping but nowadays they just wait for a riot. It’s “Hey, look, they just broke into Walmart, let’s go get a flat screen TV.”

On the news recently, there was a guy prancing out of a store with two flat screens, one under each arm. I guess he had a coupon.


It’s safe to say that some people aren’t getting the point of the protest, to them it’s just another shopping day. And what prices! Everything’s free!

Turning on the news the other night, I had to laugh, there were the protesters chanting away, rightly using their First Amendment rights, and across the street was a guy strolling out of a supermarket with a full shopping cart. Free food and clothing, you can’t beat it.

In another scene, people were flinging designer jeans and shirts out of a burning building. Talk about a fire sale!

Now what would Martin Luther King Jr. say? I know what he wouldn’t say, and that is, “I have a dream that one day people will stage a protest and walk into a store and grab anything they want! I have a dream that little black children and white children will loot together in stores. I have a dream!” More like a nightmare.

Did you notice that looters are discerning in their shopping habits. They go looting at the high-end places. When those plunderers in Los Angeles saw the George Floyd protests get near Beverly Hills, they were down there faster than you can say, “jewelry store!”

Forget the 7-Eleven or Longs, they hit Saks and Macy’s, and there they were, strutting out the door with diamond rings and necklaces, mink furs and more bling than Snoop Dog or Eminem!

More than one looter will kneel down (get that? kneel down) and propose to his wife-to-be with a diamond ring he grabbed out of some broken window. And won’t those women look fabulous at the local PTA meeting wearing their dazzling Elizabeth Taylor necklaces.

Did you see where the rioters trashed a Hawaiian ukulele store? How low can you go? It’s getting lower every day.

It makes you shake your head seeing looters smashing into stores where they shop. One day they are laughing it up with old Harry who owns the local liquor store, the next day they are trashing his place. “Get out of the way, Harry, we’re looting here.”

I guess the ones throwing Molotov cocktails didn’t read the First Amendment, or maybe they got it wrong. It’s freedom of speech, not the freedom to loot and be violent, the freedom of the press to write things, not throw things.

Many use the Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, as a means to do violence, let’s not let them grab up the First Amendment to do the same thing. This is what people are doing all over the country, shooting holes in the Constitution.

Protests are supposed to be exchanges of ideas, not gunfire.

We send our aloha to all those who are suffering over this, and hope that everyone can tune out the static of the rioters and hear only the music of the message.


Every life matters equally.

Dennis Gregory writes a bi-monthly column in West Hawaii Today and welcomes your comments at