The torch of hate will not bring prosperity to those who need it most. This is a fact of history and we can look back on the riots of the 1960s and see how the country reacted and why investment in burned-out inner cities was anemic or non-existent for decades. If you think we are exaggerating, take a gander at the economic history of Detroit. After all, mature businesspersons are not willing to see their assets go up in flames — especially in cities where the police are unable or unwilling to keep law and order.

But the other hat we must wear is equally important; it has to do with larger concepts of respect for our fellow citizens of all walks of life. Important personal actions are those that come from the heart; they cannot be legislated. Just as much as we must have a zero-tolerance policy for rioting, we must be proactive in showing under-served communities that they are not alone and deserve equal protection under the law. It seems our Lowcountry, despite all its history and current challenges, is miles ahead of other places, especially Baltimore, in terms of standing equally in support of justice and for the rule of law. Walter Scott’s demise was highly unfortunate and the North Charleston authorities have responded appropriately.

Citizens of varied backgrounds have spoken in unison against those who have tried to cause violence in our Lowcountry. Malik Shabazz, the former chairman of the New Black Panther Party and current president of the Black Lawyers for Justice, was stirring up mischief in the Lowcountry; public archives offer evidence of his many horrific statements about Jews and whites. As we went to press, low-intensity gang violence was in evidence late at night near Cannon and Rutledge streets; this is a situation to monitor and keep in check. This community will not put up with thugs gone wild.

The seeds of conflict are no surprise because they were planted five decades ago by those who mugged the Civil Rights establishment in favor of what became known as the “burn, baby, burn” policy. It does not take much looking to find how our president’s far-left associations — from Bill Ayres to Al Sharpton — are part of the problem; radicals who support violence have no place at the public policy table. Much maligned conservative pundits suggested that these associations predicated that the chickens would eventually come home to roost; instead, the chickens have come home to roast in Baltimore. We can avoid what riot-torn regions show as the path to ruin, but this will require our vigilance to adhere to the highest standards of citizenship — a respect for the rule of law and a continued outpouring of kindness and prayer for all of our neighbors.

Mercury newspaper racks are located at the following locations:

The Meeting Street Inn

Clair's Service Station at 334 Folly Rd.

Harris Teeter on Houston-Northcutt Blvd.

The Square Onion in I'On

Mt. Pleasant Library on Mathis Ferry Rd.