Outrage in Ferguson

 

Just hours ago, I proposed to Ricochet’s Liz Harrison that comparing the United States under Obama to Turkey under Erdoğan reflected a failure of imagination. I was remembering, among other things, the circumstances under which I left Turkey, which I detailed at length here:

June 1: Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in more than 40 Turkish cities keep protesting. The protesters move to the office of Prime Minister Erdoğan in Beşiktaş, providing the police with an excuse for even harsher retaliation. Every living being in the district gets showered with tear gas—including, I’m told, the officials in the office, which at least was satisfying to imagine, if it’s true. Ankara and Izmir rise up in force.Snippets of conversation: “They’ve got to be running low on tear gas.” … “They saturation bombed this part of the city with gas, how much can they possibly have?” … “This is just ridiculous. What the [redacted] are they thinking?” … “Why the [redacted] are they provoking this, I wonder? Completely lost it? …

… And as all of this is happening—and broadcast around the world by foreign news services—Turkish television is showing anything but these scenes. CNN Türk aired a documentary about penguins.

I posted a link to that for Liz, then checked Twitter. God help us. My timeline looked just as it did last summer in Turkey, but it was happening in the United States, down to the most painful details: arrests of journalists, no coverage on the network news, and a police chief blaming “outside agitators.”

I saw images like this, again:

ferguson1 

ferg2

ferg3

And Tweets like this, again:

 

 

 

 

And as all this was happening, it seems, our news stations were preoccupied with deep thoughts about Robin Williams.

This video establishes clearly that the police attacked people who were running away. Police in military garb, with military gear, attacked the very kind of assembly our Constitution was designed to protect, and terrorized an American city. There wasn’t a word from the White House. Obama was too busy hugging it out with Hilary Clinton on Martha’s Vineyard even to issue a statement.

This is both a domestic disaster and a foreign policy disaster. Turkish officials are already gloating, joined by tinpot thugs the world around. I cannot count the number of times I told people in Turkey that what we were seeing would never happen in America. I was wrong.

There can be no minimising or excusing this. The entire world saw this, or will see it soon enough. This, as Julia Ioffe wrote, is not what I told people America was. 

The photograph below is from Turkey, last summer. The photographs above are all from America, yesterday.

turkey

Can you tell the difference?

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There are 60 comments.

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  1. Member

    I am generally pretty much an FTP sorta guy, the militarization of the police, the wanton bad faith by which law is enforced, the inexcusable lack of accountability, and the malicious klan-like hate that law enforcement will express for the citizenry when anonymous online is horrifying. We desperately need reform -serious- -cutting- -widespread- reform.

    That said, 2 days ago there was rampant looting, rioting and a fundamental break down of order. I am pretty tolerant of some draconian measures to restore order. The riot act is the riot act for a reason.

    I don’t know what is going on, but what I have learned is that activists -of all stripes- always lie. They will construct dramas and use careful cinematography to tell lies, like we learned in OWS.

    To believe the tweets, pictures, and videos coming from interested parties is to be a fool.

    Here is a video which if you buy the song on Itunes which if you purchase the proceeds goto the medical care of a baby our armed overlords wantonly lit on fire. Because law enforcement means throwing grenades at babies.

    • #1
    • August 14, 2014, at 5:49 AM PDT
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  2. Member

    Apparently places without violent crime require tanks too:

    • #2
    • August 14, 2014, at 5:54 AM PDT
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  3. Member

    The right needs to get in on this, quick, I mean serious substantive hearings on law enforcement in america, and how to reform it.

    This is the fundamental core of the small government message, the tea party, and everything else, this is the right-wing truth made flesh.

    Get on it.

    • #3
    • August 14, 2014, at 6:24 AM PDT
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  4. Member

    I long for the days of the Rodney King riots, when the police showed some restraint.

    • #4
    • August 14, 2014, at 6:33 AM PDT
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  5. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Guruforhire:

    The right needs to get in on this, quick, I mean serious substantive hearings on law enforcement in america, and how to reform it.

    This is the fundamental core of the small government message, the tea party, and everything else, this is the right-wing truth made flesh.

    Get on it.

    I could not agree more. 

    • #5
    • August 14, 2014, at 7:06 AM PDT
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  6. Member

    Claire Berlinski:

    Guruforhire:

    The right needs to get in on this, quick, I mean serious substantive hearings on law enforcement in america, and how to reform it.

    This is the fundamental core of the small government message, the tea party, and everything else, this is the right-wing truth made flesh.

    Get on it.

    I could not agree more.

     If government gets so small that it can’t protect the populace from rioters and looters, then it’s gotten too small.

    • #6
    • August 14, 2014, at 7:22 AM PDT
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  7. Member

    Do the police really want all this GI-Joe / Occupying Force materiel that is being handed to them? I mean in a ‘this is why I joined the force’ way, rather than a ‘cool toy, bro’ way.

    • #7
    • August 14, 2014, at 7:24 AM PDT
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  8. Inactive

    I think it’s easy for us to be armchair quarterbacks when it comes to situations like this; however, there are questions that the police have to answer quickly, more quickly than typing a blog post. How much force should be used to protect others’ private property? When does a constitutional assembly become a violent mob that endangers the lives and property of others? When does a protest become agitation?

    I agree with Guru, I don’t believe tweets and pictures any more because I don’t know context. Moreover, to stand up for the police here, they are human. People will push them to a certain limit with threats, disobeying of orders and curfew, and physical assaults because they know that police can/should not retaliate. It’s a thankless job, Cambridge Police Department anyone?

    I’m not ready to join civil libertarians and the far left and declare “Amerikkka” a “police state.” We can analyze all of this once the situation has calmed down through courts and other investigations. If there is wrongdoing, remember, it’s one police department in one suburb in the whole nation. Let’s not do guilt by association; that’s what the Left does.

    • #8
    • August 14, 2014, at 7:25 AM PDT
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  9. Member

    Basil FawltyIf government gets so small that it can’t protect the populace from rioters and looters, then it’s gotten too small.

    Self Defence

    • #9
    • August 14, 2014, at 7:27 AM PDT
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  10. Inactive

    We have been here before. I remember vividly living in 1968 Alexandria, Virginia where during the DC riots active duty military came to town to restore order and looters were shot on sight in the Nation’s capital. I believe that more than 20 looters were shoot and killled. I remember standing on the banks of the Potomac with my Family watching the smoke billow around the Capitol thinking this was the end. 

    The left took advantage of that to extend the welfare state and become the Establishment. Ferguson shows that the current Establishment has failed and is ripe for change. Will the GOP address this need? I have my doubts. 

    • #10
    • August 14, 2014, at 7:31 AM PDT
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  11. Member

    genferei:

    Basil Fawlty:

     Proted?

    • #11
    • August 14, 2014, at 7:37 AM PDT
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  12. Contributor

    The police demanding people stop recording, and arresting reporters when they don’t is not helping their cause.

    • #12
    • August 14, 2014, at 7:42 AM PDT
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  13. Member

    Basil Fawlty:

    genferei:

    Basil Fawlty:

    Proted?

     You going to correct her spelling? (:

    • #13
    • August 14, 2014, at 7:44 AM PDT
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  14. Podcaster

    Keeping the police armed in a reasonable manor is one thing, giving them surplus toys from the Pentagon is another.

    This is where left and right should meet. No Waco. No Ruby Ridge. No Ferguson.

    • #14
    • August 14, 2014, at 7:45 AM PDT
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  15. Inactive

    George Will tells the story of the time when President Obama (early in his first term) was going to attend a dinner party at Will’s house. The Secret Service advance team came out, several days ahead of the party. One of Will’s neighbors (while on his own property) was doing something when a Secret Service agent ordered the neighbor to stop it and go back inside.

    As Will said, where does the agent get the right to do that? The sheer arrogance of that agent is striking.

    Whenever we talk about gun control, we inevitably refer to the colonial and Founders’ support for the right to defend ourselves against government. And we hear, in response, the dismissive skepticism against the possibility that in this day and age, we need to defend ourselves against government. Surely, you’re not expecting the police to abuse their ability to present a deadly threat, are you?

    Well, yeah. 

    I admit the usual disclaimers. I don’t know what really happened in Ferguson, this may be sheer race-baiting, etc. But the idea that an abusive police state is possible in the modern world? Hey, it’s still very possible.

    • #15
    • August 14, 2014, at 7:49 AM PDT
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  16. Contributor

    We have a Lockean view of ourselves as capable of responsibility and self-government, requiring police only to help secure our rights (especially life and property). But Ferguson is revealing our country’s increasingly Hobbesian character, with violent mobs threatening anarchy on the one hand, and militarized police threatening tyranny on the other. The Hobbesian choice is becoming a Hobson’s choice between militarized police protection and no police protection.

    It seems to me that the real answer–the long-term, sustainable answer–is that we need better leadership all around. But where will those leaders come from? And will people follow them?

    • #16
    • August 14, 2014, at 7:50 AM PDT
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  17. Member

    EJHill:

    Keeping the police armed in a reasonable manor is one thing, giving them surplus toys from the Pentagon is another.

    This is where left and right should meet. No Waco. No Ruby Ridge. No Ferguson.

     No free houses for police.

    • #17
    • August 14, 2014, at 7:53 AM PDT
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  18. Inactive

    The difference is that Mr Erdogan doesn’t play Golf.

    • #18
    • August 14, 2014, at 7:54 AM PDT
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  19. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    If government gets so small that it can’t protect the populace from rioters and looters, then it’s gotten too small.

    Absolutely. This was a police riot. So we agree that we need a government big enough to protect the populace from rioters, be they ordinary citizens or police–but it is deeply more sinister and disturbing when the people who are supposed to protect you are committing the crime. And the populace’s property, by the way: gas cans were lobbed into peoples’ homes and gardens, and from experience I can tell you that that’s a real assault–especially if there are kids, pets, elderly people or people with respiratory illnesses in the house.

    • #19
    • August 14, 2014, at 7:56 AM PDT
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  20. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    inmateprof:

     How much force should be used to protect others’ private property? When does a constitutional assembly become a violent mob that endangers the lives and property of others? When does a protest become agitation?

    In this case, unless all the (extensive) video and eyewitness evidence has managed to miss the key moment, which I doubt, these aren’t relevant questions. The protest was peaceful, if profanity-laced (constitutionally protected, last I heard), until the cops started firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Here’s one video, scroll to about minute 8:00. The protesters’ hands are in the air. They are endangering no one’s life or property.

    http://new.livestream.com/accounts/9035483/events/3271930 

    • #20
    • August 14, 2014, at 8:03 AM PDT
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  21. Inactive

    Son of Spengler:

    We have a Lockean view of ourselves as capable of responsibility and self-government, requiring police only to help secure our rights (especially life and property). But Ferguson is revealing our country’s increasingly Hobbesian character, with violent mobs threatening anarchy on the one hand, and militarized police threatening tyranny on the other. The Hobbesian choice is becoming a Hobson’s choice between militarized police protection and no police protection.

     This is what it has come to: a choice between anarchy or tyranny? Wow, you are correct, I never thought that we deteriorated to this point. I’m sad now. 

    • #21
    • August 14, 2014, at 8:04 AM PDT
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  22. Member

    Left and right are to blame here for declaring bogus wars on poverty and drugs that have alienated the most vulnerable among us: the poor, and the police. For the police — and policing — are victims here, as well. Only a rejection of the failed policies of the past by embracing the two sides of the coin of the great American exception — community and liberty — can lead us from this dark place to the sunny uplands of…

    <Transmission ends as giant hook enters from stage left>

    • #22
    • August 14, 2014, at 8:05 AM PDT
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  23. Member

    Claire Berlinski:

    If government gets so small that it can’t protect the populace from rioters and looters, then it’s gotten too small.

    Absolutely. This was a police riot. So we agree that we need a government big enough to protect the populace from rioters, be they ordinary citizens or police–but it is deeply more sinister and disturbing when the people who are supposed to protect you are committing the crime. And the populace’s property, by the way: gas cans were lobbed into peoples’ homes and gardens, and from experience I can tell you that that’s a real assault–especially if there are kids, pets, elderly people or people with respiratory illnesses in the house.

     Sorry, but your rhetoric reminds me a bit of the propaganda coming out of Gaza.

    • #23
    • August 14, 2014, at 8:11 AM PDT
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  24. Podcaster

    My question… Where’s the dash cam video?

    • #24
    • August 14, 2014, at 8:11 AM PDT
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  25. Inactive

    Son of Spengler:

    We have a Lockean view of ourselves as capable of responsibility and self-government, requiring police only to help secure our rights (especially life and property). But Ferguson is revealing our country’s increasingly Hobbesian character, with violent mobs threatening anarchy on the one hand, and militarized police threatening tyranny on the other. The Hobbesian choice is becoming a Hobson’s choice between militarized police protection and no police protection.

    It seems to me that the real answer–the long-term, sustainable answer–is that we need better leadership all around. But where will those leaders come from? And will people follow them?

     The leader the people were expected to honor was a Creator God, and through a willingness to be accountable to Him, the people were able to control their own actions and reactions.

    Missing now is a populace that honors it’s Creator by it’s actions. Without a people like that, we have, in it’s place the logical outcome; Ferguson.

    • #25
    • August 14, 2014, at 8:13 AM PDT
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  26. Member

    The “cops” are not “victims.” Lets not insult the language and basic standards of human decency. They are deranged violent sociopaths, against whom, every decent human being has a natural, moral, and human right to defend themselves against.

    • #26
    • August 14, 2014, at 8:14 AM PDT
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  27. Member

    oook – I really hesitate to get on board the Ferguson train until I have some idea of what is going on. And a quick glance above shows pictures of children (gaza, anyone?) and “peaceful” protesters… I’m not sure if I trust either side on this one.

    Yet, I have zero idea what all of this is about. Am I correct that it is essentially racial? A person was killed by the police, and this is essentially an anti-police riot? Or “protest,” if you will… but I’m not entirely sure that we can be so confident of the difference.

    I guess my first thought is of Trayvon Martin. The guy was about the least sympathetic figure out there, and he was turned into a race-martyr. Our president got on board, our media, public figures, etc… and it was just, well… it was kind of like people were just itching for a redux of the Rodney King (not sure how great a guy he was, either) riots. In a climate like that, I just really hesitate to talk about “innocent protests;” the problem of militant police always exists, but this seems different somehow.

    • #27
    • August 14, 2014, at 8:21 AM PDT
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  28. Member
    MBF

    I thought Eric Holder already stepped in days ago with the full force of the justice department and FBI? Is it not logical to conclude that the investigation into the original incident will be thorough and exhaustive? So what is there left to accomplish with continued “protests”?

    • #28
    • August 14, 2014, at 8:21 AM PDT
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  29. Member

    Guruforhire:

    The “cops” are not “victims.” Lets not insult the language and basic standards of human decency. They are deranged violent sociopaths, against whom, every decent human being has a natural, moral, and human right to defend themselves against.

     wowsers… They are human beings, just like everyone on the other side. And some of them live in a place where there are groups of people who truly believe what you’ve just typed. Kill a cop, kill a cop, and so forth. The reaction is not entirely surprising, and in some respects, this is a harvest of what has been sown… we’re not so quick to condemn the fierce anti-police mentality in places like this, but we act shocked by the overreaction.

    • #29
    • August 14, 2014, at 8:24 AM PDT
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  30. Inactive

    Claire Berlinski:

    inmateprof:

    How much force should be used to protect others’ private property? When does a constitutional assembly become a violent mob that endangers the lives and property of others? When does a protest become agitation?

    In this case, unless all the (extensive) video and eyewitness evidence has managed to miss the key moment, which I doubt, these aren’t relevant questions. The protest was peaceful, if profanity-laced (constitutionally protected, last I heard), until the cops started firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Here’s one video, scroll to about minute 8:00. The protesters’ hands are in the air. They are endangering no one’s life or property.

    OK, I’ll see your peaceful protest, and raise you a Molotov cocktail from said peaceful protest.

    15616072-mmmain

    Or property destruction from a different “protest.”

    http://www.kmov.com/home/Interactive-Map-of-Shooting-Looting-and-VIolence-270801281.html

    I don’t want this important discussion to turn into a war of jpegs, but that’s why I have a hard time with media and journalism. One side says the police are fascist pigs, and the other side says the protesters are rioting thugs. I can find plenty of streams and images to defend either position. Just let me know which way you want the story to go.

    • #30
    • August 14, 2014, at 8:36 AM PDT
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