Ferguson confirms many hard truths about the United States. We have a race problem and electing our first African-American president did nothing to solve that problem anymore than electing our first Catholic President ended anti-Catholic bigotry. Here are seven things conservatives have always believed that Ferguson confirms.
Police officers are not and should not be a branch of the Armed Forces.
The liberties of the people of Ferguson are in peril when the police officers are better armed than many nations. The police are citizens, not soldiers, and are there to protect and serve the citizens of the community in which they live as fellow citizens. Police officers deserve our respect and cooperation, but not our blind obedience.
Police officers should reflect and live in the communities they serve.
If you don’t know the neighborhood as a resident, you are apt to misunderstand the neighborhood. The citizens of the police force should look like the the residents of the block they serve.
Get the officers out of the cars and on the beat.
American police resort to deadly force too often.
American police kill people: hundreds of people a year. No democratic nation kills so many of its citizens to protect citizens. If our police must use this much deadly force, then we cannot long remain a free nation. If you shoot an unarmed man you stopped after seeing him walking down the middle of the street, your policing strategy failed.
To protect our officers from unjust accusations, towns must mandate each officer wear a camera while on duty. Each car should have a working dash camera. Police departments that cannot “afford” such cameras cannot afford tear gas, riot gear, or cars.
Social chaos or revolution in the face of injustice is an excuse for bad people to do bad things in the name of justice.
The rioters of Ferguson loot and pillage in the name of revolutionary justice, but some may be thieves, rascals, and arsonists. As wise colleague Naomi Geier reminds me, imperfect people react to injustice imperfectly. Rogues exploit this, but other Americans are caught up in the moment. The riots are sad symptoms of the deeper evil of racism.
History matters and sin has long term consequences.
Nothing in Ferguson makes sense unless you take into account slavery, Jim Crow, lynching, the Klan, and government mandated racial segregation. All white juries existed in my parents time. Why should citizens of Ferguson see a young man shot dead on the street and give the police the benefit of the doubt? Much has changed, but not enough.