Now that a few days have passed, we’re going to revisit the Ferguson situation and offer a comment or two hopefully more in a spirit of understanding what lies at the bottom of it. We’re just throwing a couple things out there, to stimulate conversation as much as anything else.
To begin with, closing malls and freeways will not win you many converts. When protestors get in the way of people trying to live their lives they will create more opposition than support. Part of the reason for that is that, by and large, people either don’t care or have already made their minds up. Either way, at this point in the game, and it is a game of sorts for the left/libertarian protestors, the supporters of Michael Brown have lost their point. For the sake of argument, that in itself isn’t saying that they’re wrong about the incident. It’s merely a suggestion that they need to acknowledge that different tactics are needed in order to change minds.
Quite frankly, and this may sound odd coming from folks like us who typically distrust government power, we and we believe a solid majority of Americans support the actions of authority generally over the actions of an individual, particularly when that individual was apparently a real threat. Like it or not, even if Officer Wilson overreacted, Michael Brown brought this upon himself. It has been said often in various ways and manners but it holds true and bears repetition: don’t steal from and attack a store owner, get out of the middle of the street (where you should not be) when told to by a cop, don’t threaten that officer of the law, and you will virtually always be unharmed. Brown’s friend wasn’t hurt, you’ll notice, and why? Because he did not present himself as a threat.
We will admit that, in terms of race relations, there may well be certain socioeconomic background issues which lead to poor community relations and, sadly, sometimes violence. These avenues may need to be explored in order to determine how to make things better for everyone, police and community alike. Still, in the heat of the moment if you will, that simply doesn’t matter. If there were socioeconomic problems which lead to Michael Brown becoming the legal adult which he became, and we ourselves don’t doubt that, for example, the breakdown of the family brought on by government policy may be one, that may mitigate his faults. Yet at the moment he posed a danger to that store owner and Darren Wilson, that just didn’t matter. People must bear that in mind when considering what the best course of action by the police and the community might be.
We’re just ruminating a bit and explaining the conservative outlook. The entire incident is a shame for all involved: we should strive for a society where kids growing up have better support and where the police and neighborhood store owners and neighbors themselves are not living under threat. Yet the here and now is the here and now, and in it, threats exist. Ours in not an ideal world. We must be careful about allowing unfettered ideals to cloud our judgment about real world problems.