Sunday, August 17, 2014

Jazz Shaw Misses the Mark, By a Mile

Shaw, writing at HotAir, managed to miss the elephant in the room on a couple of counts.

...The old assumptions of law enforcement and their unwritten compact with the citizenry relied on a society where the police – and the laws – were respected, and criminals were a minority who would be rejected by the rank and file residents. But when the majority of an entire community decides to break that compact, the formula changes. They realize that they outnumber – and frequently outgun – the cops. A slumbering, snarling beast is awakened and in short order the police can find themselves on the run. This is not a formula for freedom of speech… it’s the path to mayhem and the breakdown of civil society. Before you’re too quick to demand the “demilitarization” of the police, you might want to remember who it is that stands between the neighborhood you have now and South Central L.A circa 1992....

Well, maybe.  But maybe not.

It is true that the 'unwritten compact' of which he writes has seemingly almost disappeared.  But the next sentence is less true than Shaw might want us to believe.  First off, it has never been "a majority of an entire community" which decides to break that compact.  Last night, the curfew was broken by perhaps 300 people, 1/10th of which were outside agitators (Black Panthers).  Further, many of the looters in Ferguson were also outsiders; arrest records show that they were residents of other States (Texas among them.)

Shaw might be in his 40's, which would excuse his apparent ignorance of the National Guard.  During the riots in Milwaukee (late '60's), it was clear that the police could not contain the disturbance.  In only 3 days, the Mayor asked for--and the Governor sent--the National Guard, which, in conjunction with the police and Sheriff, quelled the riot in only a few days.

We cannot account for the reluctance of the LA or Ferguson authorities to request the National Guard, of course.  That is a question which should be asked.

Shaw not only missed the 'call out the Guard' elephant; he also demonstrates his lack of understanding of the Principle of Subsidiarity.  Perhaps that also has to do with youth, because it certainly shouldn't be from lack of education, right?

In a well-ordered society, each level of that society has different responsibilities according to their capabilities.  When parental or adult remedies fail, the neighborhood, or church, takes up the slack.  When those fail, the municipality or County steps in.  When THEY fail, it is up to the State, and in extremis, the Feds.  (The niceties of Posse Comitatus will not be discussed here....)

What we have at the local level is a very serious case of mission creep.  One can only speculate as to why--whether it's machismo or political silliness--but in either case it's simply stupid.  I have no problem justifying body armor for the locals, sniper rifles, or locals using tear gas.  APCs?  Full-auto M16A2's?  Not so much.  They are the tools of the military and should be reserved to them.

Fortunately, each State HAS a military available on short notice.  Ferguson (and the blithering dodo (D) Gov. Nixon) should have made that call.

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