Saturday, December 06, 2014

Do the Right Thing

Hope amidst the ruins of Ferguson:

A group of black Ferguson residents armed with high-powered rifles stood outside a white-owned business in the city during recent riots, protecting it from rioters that looted and burned other businesses.

Protesters with their own agendas (including communists groups who are always looking for an incident that they can try to exploit as the vanguard of some pathetic communist revolution--hey, you have to break some eggs, eh?) who don't give a damn about Michael Brown except as a prop have moved the Ferguson incident beyond a tragedy.

North Korea and Iran point to the incident as if it proves we are no better than them.

What? Is Putin going to left out by failing to claim ethnic Russians in Ferguson need his protection?

And China has been clearing the streets of Hong Kong of pro-democracy protesters while the cameras are on Ferguson.

About the tragedy itself, Brown didn't deserve to die over stealing cigars and walking in the street. Even if guilty, those aren't death penalty crimes.

But that isn't what happened, is it? Based on what we appear to know now, Brown refused to comply with a police officer and then attacked the officer. The smaller officer appeared to have no choice but to use his weapon to avoid being beaten in hand-to-hand combat and having his weapon taken away from him.

That is not just a matter of the officer's safety but the community's since who knows what a man willing to attack a police officer would do?

Whether or not Brown was a "gentle giant," he was a giant and that provides a tremendous advantage in a physical altercation with a smaller person--even a cop.

So a young man did a series of stupid things and instead of going to college he is dead. His family suffers from the loss of his past life with them and the hope for his future that college could have provided.

And a police officer trying to avoid being killed in the line of duty will bear the guilt of killing a young man and worrying about retaliation against his family. How could he continue on the job in the environment created around this incident? Who will hire him?

A neighborhood has been burned--those young men who did the right thing can't stand guard at that gas station forever, so even that might not last.

Race relations here have been damaged by outsiders who don't give a damn about Brown or the truth about what happened, but who are happy to exploit his death.

Our enemies and foes abroad dance on Brown's corpse to score points.

And with all that going on, nobody really wonders what could have been done to keep a young man who had a way out of poverty from remaining locked into patterns of self-destructive behavior that led him to rob a store of a cheap product and ultimately confront an armed police officer. In what alternate world does that make any sense?

And who is talking about the militarization of our police forces--an issue I've long been troubled by--as the initial heavy-handed response to the protests over the shooting (but not the shooting incident itself) again revealed?

Further, with the template set about racism causing the problems between police and young African-American men, we have more protests over Eric Garner's death at the hand of police who subdued him for the horrible crime of selling individual cigarettes on the street.

This is the world we want to build? Our police--who we need to protect us--crack down on "loosies?"

Did Garner needlessly raise a stink at the time of the confrontation? Yes. But the response by police was out of bounds. Again, unless the penalty for selling loose cigarettes--which are still legal products, I'll note--includes the death penalty, how can that level of force be appropriate?

What's next, a choke hold for some street vendor selling a large soft drink?

Hey, when every federal department wants their own SWAT teams, that possibility seems  outlandish to you?

The government shouldn't have its fingers into every damn human interaction. Restrain the government from intruding on the trivial and you won't need to worry that police will use levels of force appropriate to take down a  violent felony suspect.

But despite all the tragic things that have happened in New York City where nanny government has run amok and in Ferguson, from the shooting to the exploiters, at least we see that some young African-American men in Ferguson stood up to do the right thing, guarding a white-owned business from looters.

I almost didn't want to comment on Ferguson or New York City. I don't feel compelled to comment on everything that happens. But the intrusion of foreign policy based on the twisting of one incident here I guess made it a subject I could touch on. And the scope of government regulation that made escalation of force that led to the police killing a man for a trivial crime seem like the appropriate response to his "crime" is another.

But what do I know? I never thought the Waco people or those people in the Philadelphia MOVE house deserved to die.

I think most police are of the serve and protect variety. But it gets harder for them to retain that attitude when the institutions become para-military combat organizations.

I think this will be the last post. Others will cover this--or mis-cover it--just fine.