This Is Big Government

Ferguson Is Big Government

 

The images out of Ferguson, Mo., have shaken many. On one side, an angry community demanded answers to the suspicious killing of a young man by police. On the other, a military-style show of force complete with armored vehicles, snipers, and policemen dressed more for Kabul than middle America.

As the smoke from the flash grenades and tear gas cleared, we learned that cops took journalists and politicians into custody while the First Amendment “right of the people peaceably to assemble” was denied.

After looting and violence Sunday night and an over-the-top Ferguson P.D. presence Monday and Tuesday, many on both sides hoped for a calmer Wednesday. Instead, Americans saw scenes straight out of Erdogan’s Turkey or Morsi’s Egypt.

Many on the Left have called for federal intervention in Ferguson with Rep. John Lewis even demanding a declaration of martial law. Many on the Right are pointing to the crimes of some protestors and applauding the police’s response.

But Ferguson is a reminder for both sides of the aisle: This is what Big Government looks like.

A state dedicated to ever-expanding rules requires ever-increasing enforcement. For years we’ve seen SWAT-style raids over organic farming, zoning violations and minor drug infractions. We meekly accept “free-speech zones” on college campuses and at political conventions, in which dissent is corralled into cages and supervised by armed guards.

For those on the Left, who do you think ultimately enforces the mountains of rules you mandate? For those on the Right, can you not envision a Ferguson-style show of force at some future Tea Party protest?

In America, the citizens are supposed to be the masters and the government (elected or appointed) are the servants. That isn’t the case in Ferguson and it needs to be.

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There are 36 comments.

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  1. Member

    No winners here. We all lose. The rule of law. The right of the people. All of us.

    • #1
    • August 14, 2014, at 1:35 PM PDT
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  2. Contributor

    John Davey:

    No winners here. We all lose. The rule of law. The right of the people. All of us.

     This can be universally agreed upon.

    • #2
    • August 14, 2014, at 1:38 PM PDT
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  3. Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: Many on the Left have called for federal intervention in Ferguson with Rep. John Lewis even demanding a declaration of martial law. Many on the Right are pointing to the crimes of some protestors and applauding the police’s response.

    Federal Intervention? Is the state of Missouri that impotent?
    Martial Law? Really? 
    I like your premise about naming this “thing” that we are seeing. I don’t think most people comprehend the idea of “Big Government” but this Ferguson situation is a demonstration of where we are headed.
    How do you describe to people how the earliest Ferguson event would have been handled with a proper response by the government?

    • #3
    • August 14, 2014, at 1:46 PM PDT
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  4. Thatcher

    I want to know how American citizens in uniform are comfortable pointing sniper rifles at other American citizens.

    • #4
    • August 14, 2014, at 1:56 PM PDT
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  5. Podcaster

    Someone please cue up the Gerald Ford sound bite…

    • #5
    • August 14, 2014, at 2:11 PM PDT
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  6. Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: with Rep. John Lewis even demanding a declaration of martial law.

     And how, exactly, does Rep. Lewis think that would look different?

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: We meekly accept “free-speech zones” on college campuses…

     Greg Lukianoff certainly doesn’t.

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: can you not envision a Ferguson-style show of force at some future Tea Party protest?

    In the latest First Person Shooter in the Battlefield series, Hardline, Tea-Partiers are the enemy.

    I have mixed feelings about some of the militarization. I know a paramedic who says, depending on from what part of town the call comes, they respond, or wait for one police cruiser, or wait for two cruisers, or wait for three cruisers. I asked why and he said “Junkies know every ambulance carries morphine.”

    Cops face many of the same problems with the well-armed drug trade, gangs, etc. So sometimes rolling up in an MRAP makes sense. But EPA water-quality inspections carried out by guys wearing Level III trauma plates, when they used to be wearing pocket protectors, and destructive SWAT raids when officials know the complaint is an attempted reputation-destroyer by an angry exwife, yea, that mucho sucketh. 

    • #6
    • August 14, 2014, at 2:36 PM PDT
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  7. Inactive

    The left has summoned a demon, and is at about that point in the movie where they realize who is really in control.

    • #7
    • August 14, 2014, at 2:37 PM PDT
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  8. Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    A state dedicated to ever-expanding rules requires ever-increasing enforcement. For years we’re seen SWAT-style raids over organic farming, zoning violations and minor drug infractions. We meekly accept “free-speech zones” on college campuses and at political conventions, in which dissent is corralled into cages and supervised by armed guards.

     We’re not talking about organic farmers or corralled marchers here. We’re talking about a situation with crowds chanting “kill the police”, people throwing firebombs at police officers. Even in a small-government utopia, there will be a need to control situations like this and maintain public order. And no matter how expertly that response is, it won’t look pretty.

    • #8
    • August 14, 2014, at 2:39 PM PDT
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  9. Member

    Mike H:

    I want to know how American citizens in uniform are comfortable pointing sniper rifles at other American citizens.

     Because sometimes it’s necessary.

    • #9
    • August 14, 2014, at 2:42 PM PDT
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  10. Member

    Wylee Coyote:

    Mike H:

    I want to know how American citizens in uniform are comfortable pointing sniper rifles at other American citizens.

    Because sometimes it’s necessary.

    The police claim some rioters had molotov cocktails. If so, that’s a perfectly acceptable reason to have live ammunition handy. 

    In an earlier thread, one Member objected to a laser sight being pointed at a rioter when the man flipped the finger. If I was a cop on duty that night, I’d be attentive to any quick movement. The man might have had a gun. 

    That’s not to imply that everything the police have done there has been okay.

    • #10
    • August 14, 2014, at 3:02 PM PDT
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  11. Member

    Aaron Miller:

     If I was a cop on duty that night, I’d be attentive to any quick movement. The man might have had a gun.

     Not an unrealistic expectation.

    “At around 1 a.m., police officers responding to a call that four people wearing ski masks and armed with shotguns were at an intersection in St. Louis, spokesman Brian Schellman said. Police also received calls that shots were fired in that same area.

    After police arrived, people began fleeing the scene, Schellman said. One person pointed a handgun directly at an officer, who shot the man, he said.”

    • #11
    • August 14, 2014, at 3:32 PM PDT
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  12. Member

    I think it is time that we test true freedom in Ferguson. No police. No traffic stops, no drug enforcement, and no responses for personal protection. Everyone for themselves. Hey you never know it just might work. Hey sweetie could you cover me the paperboy missed the front porch again.

    • #12
    • August 14, 2014, at 3:39 PM PDT
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  13. Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: while the First Amendment “right of the people peaceably to assemble” was denied.

    I think a key word there is “peaceably.” I haven’t been following this story very closely, but protesters throwing molotov cocktails are not “peaceably” assembled.

    • #13
    • August 14, 2014, at 3:46 PM PDT
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  14. Member

    Doug Watt: I think it is time that we test true freedom in Ferguson.

    In the aftermath of a morbidly-obese, drug-crazed, Nathaniel Jones dying during an attempt to subdue him as he was freaking out at a Cincinnati fast-food restaurant, some members of “the community” seriously said the law should be changed so if a black person tells the police to leave them alone, they should be required to just leave the person alone.

    • #14
    • August 14, 2014, at 4:02 PM PDT
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  15. Chief
    Jon Gabriel, Ed. Post author

    Joseph Stanko: I think a key word there is “peaceably.” I haven’t been following this story very closely, but protesters throwing molotov cocktails are not “peaceably” assembled.

    The protests were completely peaceful for most the event. Many hours after journalists were detained and tear gas was fired, a couple of idiots tossed two dud Molotovs. Obviously, those guys are criminals, but that doesn’t make every peaceful protestor a criminal.

    • #15
    • August 14, 2014, at 4:05 PM PDT
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  16. Contributor

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Joseph Stanko: I think a key word there is “peaceably.” I haven’t been following this story very closely, but protesters throwing molotov cocktails are not “peaceably” assembled.

    The protests were completely peaceful for most the event. Many hours after journalists were detained and tear gas was fired, a couple of idiots tossed two dud Molotovs. Obviously, those guys are criminals, but that doesn’t make every peaceful protestor a criminal.

     This.

    • #16
    • August 14, 2014, at 4:23 PM PDT
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  17. Thatcher

    After looking at the pictures my first reaction was why are the police dressed in fatigues?? Jungle camouflage in St Louis?? I can understand wanting some sort of riot gear for a crowd getting out of control with shields and the like but why the hell do they look like national guard troops manning rifles on top of armored vehicles? Is it not enough to wear blue cargo pants?? Jeeze

    • #17
    • August 14, 2014, at 4:24 PM PDT
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  18. Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: The protests were completely peaceful for most the event. Many hours after journalists were detained and tear gas was fired, a couple of idiots tossed two dud Molotovs. Obviously, those guys are criminals, but that doesn’t make every peaceful protestor a criminal.

     Agreed, but the WSJ makes it sounds like more than a couple guys were involved:

    Such protests have been mixed with violence, including the throwing of bottles and rocks, property damage and looting.

    I’ve seen this pattern play out many times in Oakland. Usually it starts with a peaceful afternoon march, then the sun goes down, a bunch of new people show up and go on a rampage of vandalism and looting. The Oakland PD does little to stop them, which frustrates me — not to mention the downtown shop-owners who have to clean up the mess the next day.

    So I agree the protesters have a right to assemble and march as long as they remain peaceful, but as soon as a march turns into a violent mob the police have the right — and I would argue the duty — to disperse them.

    • #18
    • August 14, 2014, at 4:57 PM PDT
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  19. Member

    Start a riot once, shame on you. Start a riot twice, shame on me.

    • #19
    • August 14, 2014, at 4:57 PM PDT
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  20. Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Joseph Stanko: I think a key word there is “peaceably.” I haven’t been following this story very closely, but protesters throwing molotov cocktails are not “peaceably” assembled.

    The protests were completely peaceful for most the event. Many hours after journalists were detained and tear gas was fired, a couple of idiots tossed two dud Molotovs. Obviously, those guys are criminals, but that doesn’t make every peaceful protestor a criminal.

     There was looting over the weekend. Chants and graffiti encouraging killing of police. A police helicopter was fired at “multiple times” on Sunday. So the situation was well past the point where good faith on the part of the crowd could be assumed.

    What I’ve seen indicates that the tear gas was a response to the crowd’s actions, not the other way around.

    • #20
    • August 14, 2014, at 5:02 PM PDT
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  21. Member

    Concretevol:

    Is it not enough to wear blue cargo pants?? Jeeze

     I know, right? I mean, they’re even slimming. :)

    • #21
    • August 14, 2014, at 5:09 PM PDT
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  22. Member

    Wylee Coyote:

    Concretevol:

    Is it not enough to wear blue cargo pants?? Jeeze

    I know, right? I mean, they’re even slimming. :)

    I don’t care what color they are as long as they hold 400 rounds, one big gulp, a Snickers bar, and one pack of cigarettes.

    • #22
    • August 14, 2014, at 5:37 PM PDT
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  23. Member

    Doug Watt: I don’t care what color they are as long as they hold 400 rounds, one big gulp, a Snickers bar, and one pack of cigarettes.

    They make duty wear with melt-and-chocolate resistant pockets? Lightweight belt-mounted refrigeration?

    • #23
    • August 14, 2014, at 6:00 PM PDT
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  24. Member

    Of course no likes a caffeine, chocolate, and nicotine starved police officer.

    • #24
    • August 14, 2014, at 6:50 PM PDT
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  25. Thatcher

    Wylee Coyote:

    Mike H:

    I want to know how American citizens in uniform are comfortable pointing sniper rifles at other American citizens.

    Because sometimes it’s necessary.

     I doubt they have much of a problem. Most LEO believe that people come in two categories. Criminals and criminals they have not caught yet. So pointing a gun at a criminal is not that hard.

    • #25
    • August 14, 2014, at 7:50 PM PDT
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  26. Member

    John Davey: No winners here. We all lose. The rule of law. The right of the people. All of us.

     It’s not as if the last 6 years has been a showcase for the rule of law… I find myself wondering the last year or two how long this will last.

    • #26
    • August 14, 2014, at 8:00 PM PDT
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  27. Member

    When a police officer visits the building where I teach (obviously wearing body armor, but under a standard-looking police uniform), you get the unequivocal sensation that one of the good guys has arrived – the staff and kids know it instinctively.

    These clowns running around like tinpot stormtroopers make it impossible for me to give police the benefit of the doubt. It used to be that when you saw police in heavy gear, your instinctive thought was that the good guys were coming in to take out some dangerously violent criminals. The overuse of force has broken this fundamental bond of trust. That is the unforgivable crime.

    We still trust the ‘boys in blue.’ It’s the ones no longer wearing blue who we wouldn’t trust with a squirt gun.

    • #27
    • August 14, 2014, at 8:39 PM PDT
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  28. Thatcher

    Peter Gøthgen:

    These clowns running around like tinpot stormtroopers make it impossible for me to give police the benefit of the doubt. It used to be that when you saw police in heavy gear, your instinctive thought was that the good guys were coming in to take out some dangerously violent criminals. The overuse of force has broken this fundamental bond of trust. That is the unforgivable crime.

    Government does not want or need the benefit of your doubt. They only require your submission. Michael Brown did not submit and he was killed. These rioters are not submitting and they are being met with force. This will continue till the citizens submit and bend a knee. The government’s (any governments) capability for force far exceeds the people’s willingness to resist.

    • #28
    • August 14, 2014, at 9:53 PM PDT
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  29. Member

    Fake John Galt:

    Government does not want or need the benefit of your doubt. They only require your submission. Michael Brown did not submit and he was killed. These rioters are not submitting and they are being met with force. This will continue till the citizens submit and bend a knee. The government’s (any governments) capability for force far exceeds the people’s willingness to resist.

    I hadn’t realized the investigators report on the incident involving Michael Brown and the police officer had been completed. When you get a moment could you place a link for the pdf of the report in the comments thread.

    • #29
    • August 15, 2014, at 5:42 AM PDT
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  30. Thatcher

    Fake John Galt:

    Peter Gøthgen:

    These clowns running around like tinpot stormtroopers make it impossible for me to give police the benefit of the doubt. It used to be that when you saw police in heavy gear, your instinctive thought was that the good guys were coming in to take out some dangerously violent criminals. The overuse of force has broken this fundamental bond of trust. That is the unforgivable crime.

    Government does not want or need the benefit of your doubt. They only require your submission. Michael Brown did not submit and he was killed. These rioters are not submitting and they are being met with force. This will continue till the citizens submit and bend a knee. The government’s (any governments) capability for force far exceeds the people’s willingness to resist.

     Which is why we must bend the knee as a form of self preservation until enough people realize how ridiculous this system is.

    • #30
    • August 15, 2014, at 5:46 AM PDT
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