Ferguson’s Long Hot August


Filed Under Latest News on Aug 18 

Ferguson was back in riot mode this weekend as Governor Nixon ordered the National Guard in to control looting and violence among protesters. Up until now, the police and the media have been the two main institutions present, with the courts yet to enter the fray, and politicians still trying to calm things down in order for investigations to proceed. So we have lots of footage of clouds of tear gas and angry mobs confronting heavily armed police – is there any other way to face molotov cocktails? – interspersed with Reverend Sharpton’s raging calls for justice. Does any of this this help calm things down? Dr. Ben Carson wondered out loud on television who exactly the looters were, or more precisely, whether they were from Ferguson or elsewhere. And he also asked what exactly do they want? Mob violence is a dangerous phenomena that takes a lot of energy and skill – and involves considerable risk – to bring to an end. Ben Carson’s call for dialogue is understandable, but the question is how do you get there? Any dialogue at this point will surely be nothing more than a shouting match – shouting is of course preferable to firebombs and looting.

So by all means, start the shouting, but stop the rioting as well please. There is evidence that is being released piecemeal and what is needed is an expedited investigation to clear up the facts. That does not mean a rush job. It just means avoiding any unnecessary delay. We will have had at least 3 autopsies by the time investigators truly get to work and some reports are suggesting that Michael Brown was charging the officer by the nature of the bullet wounds in his body. In Missouri’s long hot August, these investigations will have to be handled as cooly as possible. It is an impossibility that they will satisfy all of those concerned but the only other option is charging security forces with containing rioters night after night. Let’s remember how the Detroit riots left a scarred city that is still trying to recover its former glory. Ferguson is not Detroit nor will it become a little Detroit so to speak. But expediting the judicial process, as Dr. Ben Carson suggested, would clearly set things in the right direction.