Ferguson: What’s At Stake

Ferguson: What’s At Stake

Since Ferguson, MO is all the news and all the rage, my first post may as well cover it. I will assume that you are familiar with the contours of the case: a white police office shot a black man, though in the media the deceased Michael Brown is always referred to as “an unarmed black teenager.” I could refer to him as a “hulking 300 lb. 18 year-old adult who may have been charging directly at a police officer after assaulting him once already”, but that would be equally biased.

The mob in action is truly an appalling spectacle. The riots and protests in Ferguson are not identical; the former is criminal behavior, the latter is constitutionally-protected activity. But they are similar, in that both are based upon the premise that the foundations of the American legal system are completely irrelevant. The presumption of innocence was the first casualty of the outrage. Officer Wilson was guilty. One might say “guilty before being proven innocent” in a reversal of our cherished dictum, but that presumes there would be any sort of effort to discern whether or not he was guilty or innocent. Just “guilty” will do, as due process is always another casualty of the mob. We may at least presume, though, that the officer’s ultimate fate would be decided speedily.

Americans have the right to express their disdain for the most basic rights of individuals in a civilized republic. But we also have just cause to be concerned by such a widespread movement. The American press has the right to cover the protests and riots in any lawful way it chooses. But we also have just cause to be infuriated with the leftist media, which has almost literally fanned the flames in Ferguson. People who know better cynically manipulate the emotions of black mobs, dutifully repeating, amplifying and in some cases inventing fallacy after fallacy to increase their own power and prestige: they used to be called demagogues. Academics and activists crawl out of the woodwork before even a scintilla of hard evidence is acquired to reinforce their narratives about white privilege and systemic racism. And when Darren Wilson is exonerated, as I believe he will be, the result will be the same as it was with George Zimmerman, the Duke lacrosse team, and the countless other instances in which the narrative has collapsed: utter silence, until the next one. The militarization of the police is troubling and a topic I intend to discuss in future posts, but order must be restored, lives and property protected, and violent crimes punished.

Let anyone who wondered why America’s founders rejected pure democracy and insisted upon a nation of laws and not of men, wonder no longer.