Just as gun advocates ignore the actual Second Amendment text, that arms are to be part of “a well-regulated Militia” and not just stockpiled for personal reasons, today’s protesters forget the words of the First Amendment, “peaceably to assemble.”

Again, on Capitol Hill last week, explosives were thrown into a (minority-owned) restaurant, antique windows broken at a social-justice centered church, families awakened at night by chaos. This is the opposite of what the First Amendment protects. This is not assembly for social change, it is vandalism at the hands of misguided anarchists whose message is now smothered underneath mountains of frustration and exhaustion by a neighborhood that has worked for decades to build equality.

I don’t believe these “protesters” are fully associated with the Black Lives Matter movement, but the various factions are becoming linked in our experiential reality and serving only to subvert whatever message the actual protests seeks to present. This is a continued distraction for those who would otherwise join the movement for change.

Stop destroying our community, roll up your sleeves and get involved in the hard work needed to build the society we need, not tear down the positive progress we have made.

Jeffrey Cook, Seattle