Tag Archives: gang violence

Ferguson Violence Is Symptomatic of Moral Degeneracy

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There is only one injustice, thus far, that has occurred in Ferguson, Missouri. And it’s not the shooting of a boy, because the jury is still out (actually, it hasn’t even gone to a jury yet) on the events surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown. The injustice is being perpetrated by those who take it upon themselves to be judge, jury, and executioner against the innocent citizens of the town.

article-2727579-209B470900000578-273_634x354Two weeks ago, on August 9, 2014, Michael Brown, a 6’2” 300 pound 18 year-old, was shot and killed in the middle of the road in front of an apartment complex in Ferguson, Missouri. Police officer Darren Wilson, who shot the young man, has been placed on paid administrative leave as the investigation continues. No charges have been filed so far against the policeman.

“Eyewitness” accounts vary greatly about what transpired that hot afternoon on the Ferguson street. But we do know that Brown was stopped for jaywalking, not because he was suspected in a nearby store robbery. It is also clear that the youth was unarmed, since no other weapon was found at the site, and all six shell casings were from officer Wilson’s gun. One casing was found inside the squad car. The final, and apparently lethal shot, was about 35 feet from the car. Dr. Michael Baden, former chief medical examiner for New York City, who conducted an autopsy on behalf of the Brown family, said “This one [the fatal shot] here looks like his head was bent downward. It can be because he’s giving up, or because he’s charging forward at the officer.”

The response to the shooting has been understandably disturbing to many, and has resulted in two weeks of demonstrations, riots, as well as destruction and looting of local stores in and around the small Missouri town of 21,000 residents. What is not understandable, or condonable, is the violence that has dominated the news cycle 24/7 since August 9.

ferguson453723074I would be willing to wager that nearly everyone in the nation wants to see justice served. The problem is, at this point we don’t know what justice will look like. If Brown was shot while charging and threatening the officer, justice will look quite different than if Wilson shot the youth while surrendering with his hands in the air.

Neither judicial outcome justifies the idiocy of violence and destruction perpetrated against the town and its residents. The fact that charges have not been filed against Wilson heretofore is due to the judicial process being played out behind the scenes and gathering evidence for grand jury consideration, not because of prejudice or racism. Emotionally charged racial considerations should have no bearing on the expediency of due process, especially with the eyes of the nation so focused on the rulings made in the case.

While the cogs of justice are meshing forward, demonstrations are perfectly acceptable. In America, any demonstration, however fervent, should be the unabated right of any citizen. The impetus behind the demonstrations is inconsequential since it is a constitutionally assured right, whether protesting a cop shooting, or demonstrating against war or excessive government taxation. As an aside, the word “cop” is not a pejorative, which may come as a revelation to some, as it’s an acronym for “constable on patrol.”

WPTV_Ferguson_looting_damage_1408218776028_7402994_ver1.0_640_480But when demonstrations lead to riots, violence, and property destruction, law enforcement is justified in utilizing whatever force is necessary in quelling the mayhem, and restoring law and order. To deny them that function is to deny the most fundamental requirement of our constabulary.

Those closest to the victim have called for sanity and peace, while denouncing the perpetrators of violence and destruction. The father of the deceased said a few days ago, “We don’t want no violence. Michael would have wanted no violence. We need justice for our son.” His cousin likewise called for order to return, saying, “I just want everyone to know and understand that the stealing and breaking in stores is not what Mike would want, it is very upsetting to me and my family. Our family didn’t ask for this but for justice and peace…. Please let my family grieve in Peace (and) stop the violence in the street tonight, we don’t want this happening when we protest for justice for my cousin Mike Brown, please get this message out to the people that the Mike Brown family do not want this.”

mrz081714dAPCThe violence has nothing to do with justice being served, but everything to do with a level of moral depravity in the country that seeks to rationalize illegal and violent behavior as a proxy for real justice. In what sort of twisted sense of judicial propriety can violence be condoned or encouraged as a rational response to a perceived wrong having been perpetrated? In what bankrupt belief system is the destruction of property and attacks on others justifiable for a wrongful death? It would appear we as a society have learned nothing in the 22 years since the Rodney King Los Angeles riots. This is despicable behavior regardless of the age, orientation, or skin color of the perpetrators.

The days of leaping to irrational and unwarranted conclusions, based on the age or color of the victim, before justice has completed the investigative process, should be far behind us. Assumptions of guilt and innocence of all involved might justify demonstrations, but never riots and provocations to violence. For they are, after all, assumptions made without all of the facts on the table. The calm voices calling for peace and justice should always prevail over those whose lawlessness is an excuse for moral degeneracy.

Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at [email protected].

 

Progressives & The Continued Urban Slaughter

Over the Easter weekend, the City of Chicago experienced a rash of violence that eclipsed anything taking place on the battlefields of Afghanistan or in the uncivilized Taliban-held territories of Pakistan’s border region. 18 people were shot in several incidents, 13 of them dying from their wounds. This is nothing new to Chicago where for years the annual body-count has rivaled, if not exceeded, the casualties reported from war zones in which our military have been engaged. What is new is the political leadership in that city.

Those familiar with Chicago will take issue with that last statement, but the fact of the matter is this. It is true. While the City of Chicago has been staunchly Democrat for decades, its new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, former Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama, is a Progressive. Where the Daleys (both Richard J. and Richard M.) displayed a sincere love for the city, Mr. Emanuel, by all accounts, sees it as a stepping-stone to either the political throne of “king-maker” or executive branch national office…perhaps both.

I can say with confidence, having spent a majority of my lifetime in the nearby suburbs of Chicago, that the Daleys understood that the mean streets of Chicago were just that: mean streets. To that end, while they saw the value in efforts to address the social issues contributing to the modern urban culture of urban violence, they also knew full well that a strong, effective and empowered law enforcement community, coupled with a citizenry supportive of personal responsibility, was necessary to execute the most important role of any chief executive – local, state of federal: the protection of the innocent.

Progressives have, for decades now, fomented a culture of victimization. Everyone is a victim. Where non-Progressives see the innocents affected by those perpetrating violence-as-a-culture to be the victims, Progressives include the perpetrators of said violence as victims as well. Progressives see the people who load the gun, carry the gun and illegally shoot the gun – killing innocents, along with those complicit – as victims: victims of circumstance; victims of culture; victims of social and economic “injustice”; victims of society.

The Progressives’ answer to the modern day urban culture of violence is to create more community assistance, more community activities, and more community engagement. But while a fraction of those embracing the urban culture of violence would benefit from (or even engage in) the existence of these programs, the overwhelming number of those who embrace this culture not only know no other way, but see the lifestyle as glamorous, and who could blame them?

Black urban youth – and to a lesser extent but no less troubling, Latino, Asian and White urban youth – have come to see the urban culture of violence as a lifestyle “choice” (ironic that Progressives are all universally “pro-choice”). The urban youth culture is rife with violence; violence in its music, in its preferred art and entertainment, and in its counter-culture economic system. You can’t go a quarter-hour listening to an urban radio station without hearing lyrics about killing police officers or rival gang-bangers, or lyrics about women being treated like whores; to be used for sex, with those arguably degraded women being painted as accepting it willingly because, hey, it’s all about the money.

And when it all boils down to it, isn’t that the truth? In a culture where our education system is more worried about instilling a false sense of self-esteem (no one is a loser, everyone is a winner; everyone gets a trophy) than in cultivating critical thinking skills, complete with lessons on how to learn and then capitalize from failures, haven’t Progressives really trained an entire generation – if not two – to take the easy way out; that they are entitled to “the good life”; that it’s okay to transgress the law because it is the “victim” inside of you that moves you to do the unlawful? Using the victim-mentality Progressive mindset, who in their right mind would work a degrading minimum wage job for $7.25 an hour ($290 for a 40 hour week) when selling cocaine for a drug gang can garner that same person 10 times that amount in a night?

Mr. Emanuel took to the airwaves after the weekend’s carnage and expressed anger at the violence. That’s where he and I agree. I, too, am angry at the violence. He acknowledged that community engagement programs are necessary. To a certain extent I agree.

But he also sees the issue as one facilitated by the existence of guns. It is with this mentality that I disagree, and vehemently.

For some bizarre reason, Progressives, including Mr. Emanuel, think – and it really is bizarre – that outlawing weapons will somehow keep the criminals from illegally attaining weapons. The stupidity of that argument is stunning. If someone is going to break the law by murdering someone, why would a gun law restrain them from acquiring a weapon? Additionally, study after study after study, based on law enforcement data; prove beyond any doubt that crime – even urban crime – is reduced in areas where lawful concealed carry gun laws exist.

To express my argument more bluntly let’s do an experiment. Load a weapon and place it on the table. If you want to be daring, point the barrel of the weapon in your direction. Now, step back ten feet and command the weapon, “Shoot me!” I am going to bet the farm that nothing happens; that the weapon itself did not, of its own power, shoot you. This very basic experiment proves this thesis: Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

I will acquiesce to Progressives if they acquiesce to the rest of us (compromise is what the Framers intended for our system of government). I will sign on to community engagement programs for what they are worth in providing safe haven and deterrent to inner-city innocents and vulnerable youth, but only if Progressives cease with the stupidity of :

▪ instilling the falsely elevated self-esteem brainwashing they push in our schools;

▪ the ridiculous notion that inanimate objects kill people;

▪ their tacit support of the urban culture of violence as “cool”;

▪ their neutering of law enforcement’s capability to affect the carnage produced by violent gang crime before it occurs, and their ability to meet criminal force with overwhelming force in the name of serving the law-abiding public.

I would see this as a good trade-off, given the fact that employing this compromise has a better chance to immediately save lives in our urban areas than anything the Progressive victimization culture has ever come up with.

That said, I won’t hold my breath waiting for Mr. Emanuel and his brethren Progressives – including the race merchants among them – to announce their willingness to engage in something so common sense. Progressives, after all, know what’s best for all of us…always.