Ferguson Is Not Binary

The world is not a binary place. People and events can sometimes be simple and can sometimes be complicated. Simple events can have tangentially related complicated issues involved and complicated events can have tangentially related simple issues involves.

It is perfectly fine to think Michael Brown was no saint. Based on what we know, it seems Mr. Brown participated in a shop lifting incident before he died. We know also from the Chief of Police that the police officer who shot Mr. Brown did not know about the incident when he first stopped Mr. Brown.

It is also perfectly fine to think the rioters should be shot on sight as they attempt to vandalize and damage the property and possibly the lives of others. There should be no excuse for rioting and it seems in these sorts of situations not only does it happen more and more, but there are those who wish to give license to it and fan the flames of a grievance culture related thereto.

It is perfectly fine to think Mr. Brown was no saint, the rioters should be punished, and in addition to both of those, to think the police in Ferguson, MO behaved badly too. Before rioting even began the police in Ferguson decided to behave like soldiers instead of police.

Regardless of where conservatives fall on the spectrum of how they see Ferguson, MO, conservatives should also be willing to agree on two things.

First, as someone on twitter noted, if we say most conservatives are not racist despite what the left would have us believe, we should be willing to believe that not all of the black community is prone to riot when these terrible things happen.

Second, and even more importantly, conservatives who lament the abuses of a big federal government should not so easily give a pass to state and local government. In fact, if a government is big enough to give us everything, it is big enough to take it all away and that government may not be Washington, but your state or local community. Many liberals are today upset at the police in Ferguson, MO, but give a complete pass to the IRS’s political persecutions. Conservatives upset at the IRS, EPA, DOJ, etc. should not give a blanket pass to state and local authorities. Frankly, we should also not give a pass to Republican administrations on these issues.

Conservatives are a law and order bunch. It is, in fact, the natural order to gather into societies and cede our individual rights of protection to a governmental body that wields the sword on our behalf. But that sword can be turned on us. As we become a society where more and more legislation and regulation causes more and more well meaning people to accidentally run afoul of laws and rules, we should be more concerned with militarizing our police and extending the jurisdictions of law enforcement agencies.

Police do a good and necessary job. But if power corrupts men and absolute power corrupts absolutely, we should be wary of putting our neighborhood man in blue in camouflage, a helmet, and an AR-15 inside an armored personnel carrier except in the most serious of circumstances.

No conservative is saying police do not need to be able to outshoot and out arm the bad guys. But many of us are saying police are more quickly than ever before resorting to playing soldier when they could accomplish the same as just a policeman.

One can view the events of Ferguson, MO and decide it was a good call to, before rioting even began, suit up the police as soldiers. But the world is not binary. Regardless of how one views the events of Ferguson, we should all be troubled by the over-militarization of routine police activity. We should all be troubled at the growing number of well documented cases of heavy handed local and state police. Being a conservative means we should support the judicious use of force. It also means that, unlike liberals who routinely turn a blind eye to the abuses of the state targeted toward their opponents, we should not simply presume the ends justify the means.

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Must We Have a Dead White Kid?

The facts that seem undisputed, and in these situations that is so rare, are that an unarmed eighteen year old named Michael Brown was walking in a street. An altercation occurred with a police officer. Undisputed is that the officer gave chase to Mr. Brown after the scuffle and shot Mr. Brown, at least once in the back, approximately twenty feet from where the scuffle occurred.

The police officer claims Mr. Brown tried to take the police officer’s gun. Witnesses disagree. What is undisputed is by the time you read this Mr. Brown, who worked his way through a bleak high school education in Ferguson, MO, would be in a college classroom. He defied the odds of many young black men, graduated from high school, and would have started college last week had he been alive. But he failed to beat the odds of young black men having bad encounters with police.

It is a painful discussion to have in the United States. Too many people profit from racial tension. The media profit by fanning flames and selling papers — often making themselves the story. Activists in the black community profit by fanning flames of racial unrest and grievance. Activists in liberal circles fan the flames of privilege, class warfare, etc. Conservative activists fan the flames of rhetoric and push back.

Meanwhile an eighteen year old is dead and everybody is yelling at each other. Facts become more and more disputed. It also becomes less likely that the real truth of what happened can be arrived at.

While conservatives tend to be law and order supporters, there is growing concern about the militarization of local police. Look to Ferguson, MO where policemen who spend their days writing speeding tickets were clad in armor, behind helmets and shields, riding in armored personnel carriers with guns mounted on top.

Conservatives have long lamented the buildup of armaments and stockpiling of bullets by the Department of Homeland Security. The media has mostly treated these conservative concerns with derision. Suddenly, last week, when reporters were detained by the police in Ferguson, MO, the media had to pay attention to the militarization of the police and overkill by local police forces.

Given what happened in Ferguson, the community had every right to be angry. The police bungled their handling of the matter, became very defensive, and behaved more like a paramilitary unit than a police force. Property damage and violence by the citizenry cannot be excused, but is also the result of a community seeing those who are to protect and serve instead suiting up and playing soldier.

Congress passed the Posse Comitatus Act in 1878 as Reconstruction came to end. The law ended the military’s ability to enforce laws on domestic soil. The police had to be used. But since September 11, 2001, many police departments in the country have turned themselves into mini-militaries. It used to be just a SWAT team ready to take on bad guys.
More and more the police are suiting up to contain and control the population they are supposed to serve. Not a week goes by without encountering horrific stories of police abuse. In Dallas, TX, the independent school district has a SWAT team. In New York, a man died after police put him in a choke hold for the high crime of selling cigarettes.

With the rise of terrorism in the United States, major metropolitan areas may need police trained to serve occasionally as paramilitary outfits. But not all police forces are major metropolitan areas.

The odds of a young white man being shot by the police in similar circumstances to Michael Brown are not as high as those of a young black man. But we should not need to have a young white man shot and killed for the rest of the nation to pay attention to the issue.

Just because Michael Brown may not look like you should not immediately serve as an excuse to ignore the issues involved. Likewise, a media suddenly invested in stories of government overreach should not be dismissive of stories of bureaucrats, not just police, abusing the public trust.

(c) 2014 Creators.com

The post Must We Have a Dead White Kid? appeared first on RedState.

Missouri State Senators Mike Parson and Tom Dempsey Begin Obamacare Sellout

Missouri State Senators Mike Parson and Tom Dempsey are working toward a cave on Obamacare as best they can in Missouri. Senator Parson has filed SB 456, a “shell” of legislation into which multiple sources in and around the Missouri legislator expect they’ll put an expansion of Medicaid. Over 70% of Missourians voted to oppose implementation of Obamacare in a ballot initiative, but several people | Read More »

If You Want to Repeal Obamacare, Support Akin & Mourdock

What has been overshadowed by pro-life remarks made by Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock is that the Republicans must take back the United States Senate to have a chance of repealing Obamacare. Even if Mitt Romney wins, it will be for naught if Harry Reid still controls the Senate. That is the reality. That is why Republicans must rally to two gentlemen who are committed | Read More »

Todd Akin Can Win. The NRSC Will Cut Off Its Nose to Spite Its Face in Missouri.

In 2010, the National Republican Senatorial Committee spent a great deal of time and energy portraying conservatives as the reason the GOP did not take back the Senate. They blamed Jim DeMint for Sharon Angle’s win, though he chose not to supporter her in the primary. They blamed Jim DeMint and Sarah Palin for Christine O’Donnell’s win, though they endorsed a week before the primary | Read More »

The Con$ultant Cla$$

A few weeks ago I wrote this about the GOP’s consultant class:

can I just say what a bunch of charlatans and grifters most GOP consultants are. We have all these GOP Super PACs sucking up millions and millions of dollars to help Mitt Romney and now in the summer lull? Nothing. But I bet some consultants are getting rich. It’s like the GOP consultant class learned all the wrong lessons from Bob Shrum.

I await the GOP getting Brian Terry’s family on film to respond to the ridiculous Priorities USA advertisement that Romney killed some guy’s wife.

In the meantime, the GOP Super PAC ads continue to be mostly forgettable while the Super PAC’s themselves continue to raid the pockets of GOP multi-millionaires.

Now add two more data points.

David Dewhurst of Texas spent $25 million of his own money to lose badly to an upstart named Ted Cruz who only a year ago was polling at 3% in the polls. It was reminiscent of Charlie Crist’s collapse.

Last night in Missouri, Todd Akin, a man with a congressional record with much to go after, beat John Brunner. Brunner spent $8 million.

Note to GOP multi-millionaires: when consultants are circling you, plying you with compliments, and telling you how awesome you are, understand that what is going on is that you are roadkill and they are vultures. They will pick your carcass clean.

Also, the rest of us should understand that Democrat multi-millionaires seem to do quite well in electoral politics. What’s the difference? More often than not, they are running because they believe in a cause. Most Republican multi-millionaires seem to run because they believe in themselves.

Causes always translate better with voters than egos do.

Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) Has No Problems With Repressive, Murderous Dictatorships

This is un-freakin’-believable. Holy cow.

NPR interviews Congressman Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) about the Congressional Black Caucus’s visit to Cuba. Brown’s comments have gotten little play and, in fact, what should have been the money quote is totally ignored by NPR.

At the 2 minute mark in the interview, the reporter Melissa Block asks, “Well, Congressman, you well know that supporters of current Cuba policy, supporters of the embargo, say if you lift sanctions you are going to just aid and justify a repressive regime, you are going to kill any hope of democracy – that regime will just use more resources to become more oppressive than it already is.”

Cleaver: “Well, the world operates at its best when there’s diversity. Every nation does not need to be like the United States. And, frankly, we already have ties to diplomatic nations. And, frankly, if there is repression in Cuba we didn’t see it.

Block points out that Cleaver did not meet with any Cuban dissidents at all during the entire trip. Cleaver’s response was that “it’s not going to be helpful for us to throw our fingers in the face of the Cuban leadership while we’re saying to them dialogue is possible.”

What makes this more disgusting is that Emanuel Cleaver sits on the Senior Advisory Committee of the National Democratic Institute. On February 10, 2006, then Chairman of the NDI, Madeline K. Albright, sent out a letter which began as follows:

As Chairman of the National Democratic Institute (NDI), I am writing to seek your support for peaceful democratic activists in Cuba. This March will mark the third anniversary of the “Cuban Spring,” when 75 independent journalists, human rights activists and independent trade union members were summarily tried and condemned to prison terms of up to 28 years, solely for seeking the basic freedoms that the Cuban government has long denied them.

Among those that continue to suffer under harsh prison conditions are 45 organizers of the Varela Project, a grassroots movement that draws on a provision in the Cuban constitution that enables citizens to introduce legislation when accompanied by 10,000 signatures. Despite the Cuban government’s illegal rejection and repression of the project, organizers have managed to collect and submit more than 25,000 signatures to the Cuban National Assembly calling for a referendum on establishing a free society with open elections, freedom of speech and assembly, and freedom for political prisoners.

Emanuel sits on the Senior Advisory Committee of an organization that recognizes Cuba lacks “basic freedoms” for its citizens and thinks Cuba “does not need to be like the United States”. He willfully closes his eyes to that which he already knows, telling NPR, “if there is repression in Cuba we didn’t see it.”

The most pertinent question is this: does Emanuel Cleaver think the United States needs to be like the United States?

Running Sarah Steeleman

Sarah Steeleman is thinking of getting into the Missouri Senate race against Roy Blunt. Those two do not like each other one bit.

Steeleman ran for Missouri Governor and lost in the primary. Her opponent went down in flames in the general election.

Steeleman is making the rounds to all the conservative groups trying to line up support. It is no secret that Roy Blunt, while a conservative standard bearer on social issues, is squishy on fiscal issues. He has been a porker and recalcitrant on many reform issues.

So here is where we find ourselves: Roy Blunt is an extraordinarily nice guy. It’s no secret I have not been a fan of his leadership in the House Republican Conference, but I like him and his staff a great deal.

I don’t know Sarah Steeleman. Looking at her record and her positions running for Governor, I’d say she’d be my ideological pick. But more and more people tell me she’s a jerk. And these are not the types of people who view self-starting conservative women as jerks. These are people who supported her for Governor. They tell me they are deeply fearful that were she to lose the nomination to Roy Blunt that she’d run a behind the scenes slash and burn campaign, which would only help Carnahan.

We cannot afford to lose Missouri in 2010. If Steeleman wants in, I’ve got no problem. But I am deeply, deeply concerned that even a number of her supporters from her last race are concerned about her entry and attitude.

I hope she thinks carefully before pulling the trigger on a run.