Fueling the Ferguson Fire

They are drawn like moths to a flame. In this case, an inferno. Press, pundits, politicians, and provocateurs rub their hands together with glee when there is a racial incident like the one in Ferguson, especially when the actors in this oft-repeated drama are cast in the proper roles. If the victim is black and the shooter white, analysts and agitators saddle up and ride to the scene, verbal guns blazing.

To be sure, all fair-minded Americans should be concerned when an unarmed citizen is shot six times by a police officer. Any citizen, whatever his race or age or size or state of mind. Because the shooter, in this case officer Darren Wilson, wears a badge and represents the government, a full investigation is required.

But some of the protesters don't give a fig about the late Michael Brown or the investigation. Many are thugs and anarchists, America-haters who come from distant places hoping to inflict damage on the country they loathe. The trouble-makers and the mayhem they create are always irresistible to reporters, whose bright lights attract even more bad guys. It is the most vicious of vicious cycles.

Not surprisingly, the circus-like atmosphere in Ferguson has inspired some absolutely asinine analysis. Even CNN's Jake Tapper, normally a fair and sound reporter, seemed convinced that he is a better police tactician than the police tacticians. Surveying the police presence in Ferguson, Sgt. Tapper concluded, "This doesn't make any sense."

But when it comes to stone-cold stupidity, the bronze medal goes to Michelle Bernard, a former legal analyst at – where else? – MSNBC. During a guest appearance on her struggling former network, Bernard declared, "There is a war on black boys in this country." A war on black boys? Only if she is referring to the war being waged by other young black men in so many of our cities.

We'll award the silver medal for foolishness to the media outlets that gave out Officer Wilson's home address. CNN aired a report showing the home and house number, while the Washington Post published the name of the street. It brings to mind Spike Lee, who tweeted out what he thought was George Zimmerman's address. It turned out that the home belonged to an elderly Florida couple, who won a handsome settlement from the genius auteur.

But the dumbest, most inflammatory outburst came from Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed. "If you should decide not to indict this police officer," she ominously warned, "the rioting we witnessed this past week will seem like a picnic compared to the havoc that will likely occur." So there you have it – an elected official threatening violence if the grand jury does not see things precisely her way. "Irresponsible" doesn't even begin to cover it.

But amid all the terrible behavior and incendiary comments, there have actually been a few uplifting moments in Ferguson. Ministers and bishops, black and white, have done their best to calm the situation. Call them the anti-Sharptons of the world, people for whom "reverend" is a fitting adjective. And many citizens, genuinely heartbroken by Michael Brown's death, have expressed their grief with tears and words, not Molotov cocktails.

Then there is Mumtaz Lalani, an immigrant from India who opened the Dellwood Market 20 years ago. He was at home monitoring store surveillance cameras when he saw thugs shoot their way into his market and clean it out. "They broke in and looted everything," he calmly told an interviewer. "But a lot of community members, a lot of church members, even one mother came in to help."

Lalani worried that the looting will tarnish the memory of Michael Brown. So will many other things that have been taking place in Ferguson, which is now Ground Zero is America's explosive racial situation. The looting will eventually stop, Sharpton will move on to the next stage, and the out-of-town anarchists will head back from whence they came.

But what about Ferguson itself and the good people who live there, which is to say the vast majority? They will have fewer places to shop, their homes will be worth less, their town's name will live on in some measure of infamy. The tragic death of a teenager may well lead to the figurative death of the town he called home.

  • buckrodgers

    Two black men rob connivence, and slap around a clerk, they leave the store and reportedly are walking in the middle of a two lane street, when they are approached by a police officer, what happens afterwards is still being investigated, but this causes a bunch of thugs to converge on a small town in Missouri, stores are looted,and burned,civil rights leaders are demanding justice, journalist who seem to forget that they used their white skin and privilege,passing over more qualified minorities when they applied for their jobs, even the President of the United States will be sending representative to Micheal Browns funeral and lets not forget the media who will be honoring a man who robed a convenience store, possibly assaulted a police officer, who ended up using deadly force, some people will think this is just another Hollywood flick, but this is actually happening because two thousand years ago,southern Democrats viewed the Blackman as personal property, so in memory of witches that were burned at the stake, a madman who tried to eliminate a entire race of people, Indians that had their lands seized,Irish,Italian,Polish,German, Mexicans and other ethic groups who came to America with nothing,lived in Ghettos and were treated as slaves and the Japanese who were put in American concentration America has had their share of racial intolerance, but we have remembered paid homage to a man who robbed a connivence store, assaulted a police officer, who after fearing his life threatened, used deadly force on two men who committed a crime., some people will think this is just another Hollywood flick, but this is actually happening because two thousand years ago,southern Democrats viewed the Blackman as personal property, so in memory of witches that were burned at the stake, a madman who tried to eliminate a entire race of people, Indians that had their lands seized,Irish,Italian,Polish,German, Mexicans and other ethic groups who came to America with nothing,lived in Ghettos and were treated as slaves and the Japanese who were put in American concentration America has had their share of racial intolerance, but we have never had sceduled progaming interupted,for a funeral, attended by a lot of dignateries,for a man who robbed a convience store,assulted a clerk

    and possibly a Police officer, who used deadly force because he thought his life was threatend.

  • scott autry

    A police officer involved in a shooting is going to be investigated regardless of the circumstances. If you use deadly force, even if you don’t happen to kill the person, you are going to be questioned and called upon to justify it. If it does result in a death – even more so. If the the suspect was unarmed, you’ll get even closer scrutiny. A cop doesn’t fire his weapon without having to account for it…

    But, the number of bullets item people keep focusing on makes no sense.

    You are not trained in the police academy to fire a shot – and then see what happens – and then fire another one if needed (and if you can).

    That is like the politicians in Washington setting rules of engagement for the military overseas that tell soldiers they can’t fire unless they are fired upon. Lunacy. But, it’s been done – like in Beirut before – where soldiers couldn’t even load their weapons until encountering a perceived threat…

    In the police academy, you are trained that – if you deem the use of deadly force necessary – fire 2 shots to the chest and one to the head – but continue firing if the threat is not neutralized.

    You don’t shoot to wound. You don’t fire a warning shot. If you do, you might be dead. You shoot to kill.

    The number of bullets used has nothing to do with whether or not the shooting was justified…

    • abner romadonce

      Correct on all counts!