History gives us many examples of how to affect change. For instance, great figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi teach us that, if we want something changed, the best way to do that is often through a peaceful show of unity.

History also shows us that rioting and looting is absolutely moronic. It accomplishes almost nothing, and what it does accomplish comes at a terrible price. In addition, riots are unjust, and those involved seem to care little or not at all for the lives they are ruining by their destructive actions.

The recent riots in Baltimore, Maryland share a remarkable similarity to the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. Both cases were caused by supposed police brutality (the Los Angeles riots being sparked by the beating of the late Rodney King during his arrest), and both featured widespread chaos and destruction.

The King riots featured almost a week of pandemonium following the acquittal of the cops who beat King. After the riots, the case was retried, and two officers were found guilty of civil rights violations. The LA police force went through some changes and King was awarded almost $4 million.

But at what cost did this change come?

Over $1 billion in property damage and 58 deaths.

And the thing that the rioters were angry about — police brutality — still exists today.

Riots such as these accomplish little, and what they do accomplish is not worth the price paid in destruction and blood. The Baltimore riots are even more futile — no amount of civil disobedience can bring Gray back from the dead.

In addition, these riots are simply unjust. In Baltimore, stores, cars and other property of people, who were in no way responsible for or associated with Gray’s death, were destroyed. Why destroy the livelihood of a small business owner who did nothing wrong? And oh man, we gotta trash that car, its owner … um … parked it weird?

Riots like these are idiotic. To destroy a city because one is angry is essentially the same as walking into the middle of the nearest 4-way intersection and punching oneself repeatedly in the face because one is angry. It hurts the rioters as much as anyone else (disregarding all the free loot they steal), and it hurts everyone else in the city, too. If people want change, they should be responsible about how they get it. They shouldn’t give in to their base desires to smash stuff and burn things.