Ferguson, Missouri: the path forward

A few facts about Mike Brown and Officer Wilson.

That fateful day Brown, having robbed a convenience store, was deliberately violating the unwritten compact between the police and the community that jaywalking would be tolerated, but not walking in the center of the street.

  • When told by Officer Wilson to move to the sidewalk, Mr. Brown reacted violently, slamming the police car door shut so Officer Wilson could not get out
  • He then punched the officer in the head and reached for his service weapon
  • The officer managed to fire two shots inside the car
  • Brown was intoxicated on marijuana, with an elevated concentration of 12 ng/ml in his blood. This may help explain his rage and self-destructive behavior
  • Brown ran away, but then turned around charging the officer as if to make a football tackle or wrestling takedown
  • In a fight Mr. Brown could easily have overwhelmed the much smaller Officer Wilson
  • Brown was shot when he was dangerously close, less than 10 feet from the officer
  • If Officer Wilson had not fired, he would have suffered severe bodily injury, possibly death
  • Wounding in the leg or arm was not an option; police training emphasizes that multiple torso shots are sometimes needed to neutralize the threat of an enraged criminal
  • In these situations Missouri law authorizes the use of deadly force
  • In the ordinary course of events this open-and-shut case would not have been brought to a grand jury

Liberals and radicals will not be persuaded by facts. For them somehow Mike Brown must be declared innocent and someone or something else guilty of his death. Thus the emphasis on non-issues such as that Mike did not deserve to die. (The issue is not deserving death, but that his own actions put him in jeopardy of death.) Thus the Brown family is pursuing a wrongful death civil lawsuit against Officer Wilson. Thus the President is calling this a matter of civil rights. Liberals are accustomed to conservatives cowering at the threat of being labelled ‘racist,’ but react with bullying outrage when their ‘facts’ are challenged.

Are we not permitted to be as blunt as the liberals and the protestors? Responsibility for his death belongs to Mr. Brown himself and responsibility for the riots belongs to the black community and its supporters. Pointing out self-inflicted wounds is not blaming the victim. Rewarding bad behavior (see here) leads to more of it, just as paying ransom for a kidnapping leads to many more.

Justice for Mike Brown? What injustice has he suffered? There was no injustice. He is responsible for his death. Nor is there anything relating to civil rights. The Eric Holder investigation is a sham. It is a truism that prosecutors can indict a ham sandwich. Civil rights laws have been stretched to the point at which they are used to coerce behavior that the government desires, under threat of prosecution by hundreds of ‘Justice’ Department attorneys. If Officer Wilson is indicted, it would be a violation his civil rights, the consequence of black racism and the crime of policing while white.

The news media are assuming prosecutorial and judicial functions, implicitly egging on resentment and rage through non-stop reporting and the unfailing description of Mr. Brown as an unarmed black teenager killed by a white policeman. As if his being young, black, and unarmed did not make him a grave threat to the officer’s safety and life. Eric Holder and the President poured gasoline on the fire with their statements of sympathy for the black people in Ferguson, without commending the police. The White House is even encouraging memorials to Mike Brown. The Ferguson police were condemned for doing their job and trying to control the riots.

Those looking for racists behind every bush are undeterred by fact. Some have now cooked up a new theory: racism without racists. It is claimed there is omnipresent racism that (white) racists are not even aware of and can only be detected by black people and superior white people like Prof. Gruber. This reminds us of the discredited nineteenth-century theory that light could not travel through empty space without the explanation of an invisible and undetectable substance dubbed ‘ether.’ But of course there can be no black racism, a claim similar to the one that violence in the service of revolution cannot be considered violence. But like the discredited notion of the ether, so this notion of invisible racism is without foundation. Playing with words and specious theories proves nothing except intensity of emotion. Putative racism without overt, objective harm is not racism. Taking notice of race is not racism. Claimed racist innuendoes are not dispositive. The success of black people from the Caribbean and Nigeria, inheritors of British culture, disproves the myth of white racism holding black people down. The culture of the American black community is holding them down. However, if racism there is in our society, it resides in what the President unartfully called “communities of color.” Despite, or rather because of, a half century of affirmative action, racial set-asides, and spoils, the drumbeat against white racism grows louder every year. Hatred of white devils increases in rough proportion to the concessions from the community of pallor.

There truly is “need for change.” In our view whatever the path forward is, it should not be more of the same. Bad behavior and real racism from any source should not be tolerated or excused. To profess understanding of resentment, anger, and fury is to fuel its intensity and transmission. Bad behavior rewarded is bad behavior tolerated and encouraged. Pediatric gastroenterologists know that a primary contributor to colic in infants is the parents’ behavior. As with adolescents there is a time for tough love. We are not in favor of more ’diversity’ in the Ferguson Police Department. We call for clear-cut support for the police. We would welcome a positive statement that race should never be a factor in hiring police officers, every one of whom, regardless of race, is expected to perform his duty in even-handedly upholding the rule of law and maintaining public order. Reform of civil-forfeiture law and practice is called for, but not agony over phony charges of racism.

Like liberals we too look for ‘root causes,’ but not to find excuses. Rather are we interested in finding the right incentives leading to better behavior. And like the Moynihan report of 1965, we are led directly to the breakdown of the black family. Government paternalism, politicians looking for black votes, the bias of the media, and the unhelpful efforts of our schools and universities all contribute to further breakdown. Paternalism and efforts to help that do not work but only demean are the liberals’ contribution to racism. The evil effects of liberal helping hands now have spread to the white community. See Charles Murray’s eye-opening book, Coming apart. Our social fabric and cultural inheritance are being squandered. It is easier to blame others than to look in the mirror. This is the true racism affecting the black community.

Reform could start with our schools, freeing them from the grip of Federal and state bureaucratic and judicial control. Already the radicals, abetted by National Public Radio, have come out with a lesson plan ( see here and here) to indoctrinate children about ‘Ferguson.’

Our schools should teach the virtues, particularly those of simple morality, right and wrong, true masculinity and femininity, marriage, not having children until marriage, as well as the dignity of work and vocation, patriotism, the great things our country has done and represents. Government at all levels has created a system of rewards and incentives that discourage marriage, encourage the production of illegitimate children, and discourage work. If all the money dumped into anti-poverty efforts were given directly to those deemed poor and not funneled through bureaucracies, each poor person would have a very large disposable income. It’s a question of ethos, not money thrown at problems. That liberal Great Society programs have failed and made things worse needs to be shouted from the rooftops. Doubling down on failed approaches is hardly a sign of genius or of benevolence.

In the struggle to regain our schools, the fight against Common Core is by far the most important task to hand. Next comes liberating children from the monopoly of government schools and promoting school choice through charter schools and tax credits for non-government (private) schools. This will require conservative legislatures and judicial reform.

As for media bias, consider the coverage given despicable race hustlers like Al Sharpton. Or that The New York Times published the address of Officer Wilson and later defended this action, implausibly claiming it was newsworthy and not incitement to violence. This newspaper and the media outlets that follow its lead need to be chastised publically and repeatedly. It is the policy of televised sporting events that – to discourage this behavior – hooligans and publicity seekers running out onto the field will not be shown. Why then should not the television networks minimize the air time given to riots? Why solicit the opinions of an Al Sharpton rather than someone sensible who will speak truth to left-wing power– e.g. Jason Riley, Charles Barkley, or Rich Lowry?

A clearly racist murder recently took place near Ferguson. No coverage in the New York Times, of course. (Thanks to Instapundit.)

The struggle to unravel, repeal, and replace this destructive edifice of intertwined policies will be difficult and will involve enduring a sustained chorus chanting racism. Many of us will be hurt by these baseless charges. The costs of reform must be borne fearlessly. Legislatively, conservatives should only give liberals temporary victories, exacting the price of permanent structural reform. We are confident that with persistence and the ability to discern true racism and real problems, the decency and common sense of a freedom-loving, God-following people will prevail.   Troglo



One thought on “Ferguson, Missouri: the path forward

  1. Pingback: Political quickie: four Ferguson follow-ups | The Missouri Intelligencer

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