Letter to the Editor: Some lessons from Ferguson
Observation of recent events in Ferguson, Mo., has taught us a number of important lessons about government and the public. Both have behaved badly in this and past incidents of civil unrest.
For the police: Priority one is self-protection. While not unreasonable from their point of view, it has led to increasing militarization and a them-vs.-us mentality.
Priority two has morphed from “serve and protect” to “coerce and confront” to establish their superiority and control by whatever means available, including firing upon and gassing citizens. Priority two is conducted unless it interferes with priority one. What they should do is to protect property with a presence before shops, arrest lawbreakers and remove those who would incite to riot, not stand shoulder-to-shoulder in full battle gear and march upon the public.
For the National Guard: They are brought in to protect the police, enforce government will and to intimidate the public. They are not there to protect citizens.
For the public: There are large numbers of people disaffected and dissatisfied with government hubris and lack of respect for their rights, freedoms and property. This group forms the core of unrest.
Next, there is a critical mass of lawless opportunists who will utilize, hijack and foment opportunities to take advantage of civil unrest for personal gain. This would include both the Sharpton/Jackson types, and looters who import themselves from far and wide.
Finally, free societies do not take kindly to authority doubling down on perceived injustice. Free people push back.
Most importantly, we have learned that the police stand by and allow looting, and have told store owners, in response to their request for protection, “Get a gun and do it yourself.” Unfortunately the public announcement that the police have neither the intent to protect private property, nor to protect those who would take risks to protect their property, encourages looters and exacerbates the risk to citizens who undertake what should be the job of police.
This abdication is further injustice, and provides an open invitation to the lawless. We will as a direct result experience an escalation of civil unrest events until the government mindset changes.
The message is clear. During civil unrest, which will certainly come when nobody is willing to lend government money it will never repay, or any other incident, we cannot count on government protection from the lawless. We must protect ourselves. How will you do it?