Barbarians at the Gateway

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

There is rioting and looting going on mostly north of my neck of the woods, although the barbarism has also engulfed an upscale shopping mall. The major local paper refers to this ongoing travesty as being "in response to" the fatal shooting of a young man by a police officer. I beg to differ with this wording, for it, as an editorial in the same paper might put it, is inexcusable.

This brutality is only tenuously related to what happened Saturday. Perhaps "excused by" would have been a better turn of phrase. Stealing and vandalism -- victimizing people who had nothing to do with this sad event -- are neither called for nor justified. Indeed they are continuing despite the fact that: (1) the full circumstances of the shooting have yet to be determined; (2) the young man's family has asked for it to end (as have locals); and (3) the man who was shot was an aspiring businessman. Whatever the level of grief or sense of injustice one might feel for the loss of another, I am sure it would not motivate someone to harm someone very much like the departed.

There are numerous calls for "justice" in the wake of this shooting, but neither presuming the policeman was wrong nor stooping to brutality should be confused with a call for actual justice. There are many things wrong with our society, but perhaps the worst is the corruption of the concept of justice, whether well-meaning or deliberate, that has occurred over the last few decades. If we are to have a functioning society at all, we will quickly get up to speed on this virtue and begin practicing it at all times.

Now is not the time to mince words about the rioting. Whatever the circumstances of Michael Brown's death, the lawless actions that have followed are completely inexcusable.

-- CAV


Grant said...


It's ironic that those who are outraged and rioting as a result of this incident are actually the cause of the only (at this point at least) definite racism involved. As you said, they don't know the circumstances of Brown's shooting, and yet they are outraged - to the point of violence. Why? Because the police shot an "innocent person." How do they know he was innocent? Because he was black, and he was shot by the police. The police are "racist" (because they themselves are mostly white, or at least controlled by mostly white officials - and "all white people are racist"), ergo Brown must have been innocent and unfairly targeted.

If someone said the following: "blacks are all the same. They're all criminals and deserve to be summarily shot on the street", he would be loudly (and correctly) denounced as a racist - but if thousands of people act compulsively, on the premise that "the police are all the same. They're all racist.", no one says a word. Our "leaders" just feebly ask that "until the facts are in" no one riot (which itself is a concession to the notion that even if the worst were true - that a racist cop shot an innocent black person - that that would indicate systemic corruption, and therefore justify civil unrest).

I grew up in the St. Louis area. It's sad to see this happening there, but sadly it's not surprising.


Steve D said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I hope those responsible for the destruction of private property are arrested and put on trial.

Gus Van Horn said...

Grant and Steve,

Thanks for your support.

Regarding the racism, let me emphatically include any civil rights "leader" who calls for nonviolence out of one side of his mouth and incites his followerls to chant "No justice, no peace!" out of the other.

Also, since I seem to recall hearing this somewhere, I'll note for lack of time that the incidents in the Galleria that required a police presence may, in fact, be unrelated.