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The Wrong Response to Ferguson, Missouri

Ferguson Police

The shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, of unarmed African-American teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson has raised a number of questions that America’s political class doesn’t really want to deal with honestly.
So Democrats and Republicans in the political class and the political media have shifted the conversation away from the tough questions that political policymakers ought to be answering, especially whether or not hyper-aggressive militarized policing works, to whether or not Michael Brown somehow deserved to be shot.
Let’s be clear right from the start – whether Michael Brown’s actions somehow justified Officer Wilson shooting him six times is ultimately a question for a police investigation, and if necessary a prosecutor and a jury. The investigation of Brown’s death should not be a political question; it must be handled according to the rule of law to dispassionately establish the facts, not politicized by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.
But there is one important fact that is not, as far as we know, in dispute. And that is that the incident that led to Brown’s death began with Brown and companion Dorian Johnson walking in the street and Officer Wilson telling Brown and Johnson to get out of the street.
That Officer Wilson did not know at the time he told Brown to get out of the street that Brown had allegedly stolen some cigars from a nearby convenience store has been confirmed by Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson. Jackson said that "the initial contact with Brown was not related to the [convenience store] robbery." Jackson also clarified that Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed Brown, wasn't even responding to a call about the robbery as initially reported. Wilson instead stopped Brown because he was jaywalking.
In the light of Chief Jackson’s comments about what prompted the initial contact between Brown and Officer Wilson, Senator Rand Paul said in an op-ed penned for Time, “If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off. But, I wouldn’t have expected to be shot.”
We agreed with Senator Paul in an op-ed “Would YOU Expect To Get Shot For Jaywalking?”
Paul’s op-ed brought forth a flurry of counter-commentary from so-called “law and order conservatives,” such as Robert W. Patterson, arguing that it would be a mistake for Republicans to “Go libertarian, and sympathize with the protesters and rioters.” And that the correct “conservative” response to the events in Ferguson was to “side with the police, the rule of law, and the forces of order.”
Patterson then went on to say that “The lessons of the 1960s” suggest that Republicans should emulate Richard Nixon’s law and order campaign because they would benefit from public disgust with the riots that occurred in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown.
We think Patterson’s advice to cynically follow Nixon’s “law and order” strategy in the wake of the riots in Ferguson is wrong from both a moral and political perspective.
First of all Nixon was no conservative.
Nixon shared none of Senator Barry Goldwater’s fire for individual liberty and a smaller government. On domestic policy, unlike Goldwater, he silently went along with Eisenhower’s New Deal Republicanism. However, the media decided Nixon was a “conservative,” equating Nixon’s law-and-order campaign and anti-Communist rhetoric with conservatism.
Nixon ended the war in Vietnam by declaring victory and going home, he readily instituted wage and price controls, he followed a policy of détente with the Soviet Union and opened the door to Red China, he established the EPA supported the creation of the Legal Services Corporation, expanded welfare through his Family Assistance Plan welfare “reform,” signed the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970, and he signed an Emergency Employment Act creating government jobs to stimulate the economy—in short, he rejected the ideas of movement conservatives and followed exactly the policies the Washington establishment supported at the time.
Plus as the Watergate tapes revealed, Nixon was a thoroughgoing racist, regularly referring to African-Americans in terms we won’t use here, but that Seymour Hersh documented in The Price of Power: Kissinger in the Nixon White House and you can read for yourself through the link.

We think a good argument can be made that one reason the Republican Party has struggled to attract African-American votes is the precedent set by Nixon’s complete lack of empathy for the legitimate civil rights claims of African-Americans and his cynical exploitation of the anxieties of southern whites through his “southern strategy” and so-called law and order campaign.
It is also worth noting that the huge protests and riots of the Vietnam era ended not because of the repressive tactics Nixon and “law and order” advocates used (that resulted in the killings at Kent State and other deaths), but because Nixon ended the Vietnam war.
In the cold light of history, the protests ended not because the repressive tactics advocated by Nixon and Robert Patterson worked, but because the protesters got what they wanted – an end to the war
We also believe that Patterson’s advice that conservatives should embrace the militarization of the police is wrong because, quite obviously, hyper-aggressive militarized policing doesn’t work, as events in Ferguson have proven.
Militarized police haven’t deterred militant protesters from coming to Ferguson from out of state and the police in Ferguson, for all their “shock and awe” military gear, failed to produce the ordered liberty for which Patterson and others argue.
Indeed, the militarized police in Ferguson have produced neither order, nor liberty. Private property has not been protected; the same stores in Ferguson were repeatedly looted. The riots have gotten worse, not better, and journalists and other innocent citizens have been deprived of their constitutional rights.
Conservatives, who have long worked to achieve the goal of a color blind government, have the moral high ground in the argument with liberal social engineers – we shouldn’t be afraid to confront the uncomfortable question of how does an unarmed African-American teenager end-up getting shot to death in the course of a jaywalking incident?
Conservatives regularly and properly criticize liberals for their policy follies and the vast sums of money the government spends on failed social experiments. Being willfully blind to the failure of a hyper-aggressive militarized police force to produce “ordered liberty” and defending repressive tactics to produce order over liberty makes those alleged conservatives as bad as or worse than their liberal counterparts.

Click the link to read our op-ed “Would YOU Expect To Get Shot For Jaywalking?”

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Ferguson mess

I read where the young thug was stopped for "jay walking" I suppose strolling down the middle of the street is the accepted thing to do in Missouri??


If Mr. Rasley bothered to keep up with current news about the Ferguson incident then he would realize that Michael Brown was not shot for jaywalking. He attacked the officer causing an orbital fracture behind his eyeball and tried to grab the officer's gun. Brown was shot as he was running at the officer to inflict more injury. The autopsy showed that Brown was shot 6 times. The first 4 were non-fatal in the right arm and right chest. The fatal shots were to the forehead to suggest the bum's rush that 12 witnesses confirmed. The head shots were just as Brown had almost reached the officer. If I had been the officer, I would have done the same thing, except I would not have shot him in the arm first.

That picture don't look like any Policeman I have ever seen!

Since when do police wear camouflage in the inner city?
The Police patch on his arm is even camouflage!
He looks like a Sniper waiting for his target!
This is so asinine!

law and order

I do not agree with the condemning of Nixon he was a patriot doing what he thought was good for the country. And I lost my respect for Goldwater when he publicly turned on him and Tenn R Baker who was suppose to be Nixon's man on the panel and let him and America down. Well I better stop I don't want to get mad.

Where's my comment?

Apparently my comment did not fit the agenda.

Your Impatient!

Your Impatient!

One sided reporting

What a bunch of one sided comments. You make the police seem wrong for trying to apprehend a man of considerable weight and height, capable of inflicting bodily harm on anyone, and that just asulted and robbed a store owner! Yes, the same thug with drugs in his system, gangster attitude and god only knows ahat type of wrongs and anti social behavier he did before being put to rest for his wrongful actions! The same man that asulted the cop, inflicted bodily harm to him, tried to get his gun and then ran and ignored a police order to freeze and then turned and taunted the cop and charged directlt at the police!

Is this the same situation that you report on? Hell NO!


I would like to see the private film that show what happened. Again, the truth needs to be revealed, good or bad. My understanding is the youth was charging the officer, therefore the continuation of shots. Was the young man on drugs? Get to the facts, get them published and stop all the speculation.

Ferguson shooting

I agree with Nancy. It would be far better if we wait to find out what really happened before we express an opinion (or start a riot). Opinions expressed before the facts are known only serve as ammunition to those with an agenda. Remember "Let no crisis go to waste".