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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
These are no looter-day saints
It is impossible to give up on America at Thanksgiving, that unique and most wonderful holiday. Yet it is also difficult to gaze across our troubled land and conclude we are on the right path, or that we’d even know it if we stumbled on it.
Events in Ferguson, Mo., are disturbing because they take the nation backward. For those of us who came of age in the real civil-rights era, it is painful to watch the remarkable progress be torched like so much trash.
Split-screen televisions captured a confused country at a dangerous crossroads. As one screen showed the first black president urging calm while expressing sympathy for the anger and demanding that cops show restraint, the other screen showed flames rising from the first arson fires.
Maybe we haven’t come very far after all, the election of President Obama notwithstanding.
His mixed message wasn’t the only troubling part of a traumatic day. Missouri’s governor held a windy press conference hours before the grand-jury decision was released, and vowed to send in extra National Guard troops to keep order.
Yet what appeared to be an underprepared fire department just let some police cars and buildings burn. Reports said firefighters couldn’t be protected from random gunfire, but it looked as if the cops were ordered not to try.
Maybe “broken windows” policing hasn’t made it to Missouri yet, but letting it burn, baby, burn served as an invitation to break more windows and set more fires, which the crowd promptly did.
An electronics store, a meat market, a liquor store, a McDonald’s were smashed and looted by men and women, yet not a single cop or National Guard member was seen offering any resistance.
Where were they? Were they ordered to stand back and let the mayhem get out of hand?
The grand-jury verdict is everywhere blamed for sparking the riots. Like all myths, this one has just enough truth to serve as a recruitment tool and turn the gullible and the aimless into a mob.
However you feel about the grand jury, it doesn’t offer even a fig leaf of rationale to justify looting and arson and gunfire. Nor does the decision justify the counsel of surrender coming from America’s leaders, starting with Obama on down to the Ferguson commanders.
Asking troublemakers not to make trouble doesn’t cut it. Even demanding that they stop won’t make them stop.
That’s what cops are for. They are the thin blue line between civilization and mob rule. The line collapsed in Ferguson because nobody had the courage to demand that it be held. Or maybe our so-called leaders really believe the B.S. that cops are the problem.
Long after the racial rabble-rousers and Molotov-cocktail throwers retreat into the darkness, the ordinary people of Ferguson will be left to clean up the mess, heal their scars and bury their dead. It is ever thus with the riot-and-run parasites.
It is said that famous people die twice. Once when they stop being famous, and once when their hearts stop beating.
So it is with civilizations. The failure to defend America’s culture and laws predicts the eventual collapse of society itself.
Emboldened by the destruction in Missouri, those who riot for fun and profit are hoping for similar results across the nation. The punk who ambushed NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton with fake blood represents a hero to the anti-hero crowd.
Their way is the way of disaster. Coming days and nights will reveal whether the nation is ready to stand up to the mob, or ready to wave the white flag of surrender.
While giving thanks, pray for our better, braver angels to prevail.