Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Looting Tourism

Photo: loavesofbread

Setting aside the guilt or innocence of either Michael Brown or Darren Wilson, a rational fact-based opinion not being possible to formulate from the inflammatory splash of infotainment in this country. 

I could certainly grind my axe on the stone wheel readily provided by President Obama in his statement:

Calling for a sharp separation between the nation's armed forces and local police, President Barack Obama on Monday urged a re-examination of programs that have equipped civilian law enforcement departments with military gear from the Pentagon. 

By snidely asking, really?  This only came to your attention now, and not once in the past six years, but better late than never I always say.

That leaves us with the response.  Large numbers protest, and perhaps rightly so, against a shooting and what is undoubtedly an ineptly handled amateurish police public relations campaign.  'He robbed a convenience store', 'the officer didn't know he robbed a convenience store', 'he noticed the cigars from the convenience store robbery',  really? Is that the best the Ferguson PD can do?  

But lets talk about the response, not that of the peaceful protestors during the day, but of the rioting and looting that seems to commence under the veil of darkness each night.  The Washington Post made an interesting observation:

Some of the men are from the area — Ferguson or surrounding towns also defined in part by the gulf separating the mostly white law enforcement agencies from a mistrusting African American public. Many others — it is hard to quantify the percentage — have arrived by bus and by car from Chicago, Detroit, Brooklyn and elsewhere.

Ferguson police officials would not quantify how many looters have been arrested since the Brown shooting but presented a Washington Post reporter with a stack of roughly 50 arrest reports. While some of those arrested for stealing are from Ferguson, a large number have addresses listed in Illinois or in Texas.  

The people of Ferguson are entitled to protest, entitled to be angry and upset at the treatment of this case.  The people coming from Texas, or Brooklyn, or Chicago who come to riot or to loot are another story, and should be dealt with under the full breadth and scope of the law.

If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. 18 USC 2384

Like the 27 year old who traveled from Chicago said:

“This is not the time for no peace,” 

And he probably doesn't even realize how wise his words are. 

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