Police and civil disorder roundup

by Walter Olson on August 20, 2014

All-Ferguson edition, including my CNBC exchange last Friday, above:

  • Typically good John Stossel column [Washington Examiner, syndicated, and thanks for mention] Disturbing innovations coming our way in the world of crowd/protest control include “puke cannons,” “pain rays” [Gene Healy, Washington Examiner, ditto]
  • Cause of death: failure to comply with police orders [David M. Perry, opinion] “Here is the bottom line: if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you” [Sunil Dutta (L.A.P.D. officer), Washington Post; Ken at Popehat]
  • “Expect Many, Many Lawsuits From Ferguson” [Chris Geidner, BuzzFeed]
  • Not the safe conventional move: I’m quoted on Sen. Rand Paul’s willingness to grapple with Ferguson [Politico]
  • Local commercial economies take a long time to recover from damage done by looting [Kate Rogers/Fox Business, thanks for quote]]
  • Political economy: unusual state of representation in Ferguson makes the town an outlier [Seth Masket, Pacific Standard] Police-driven budget? “Ferguson receives nearly one-quarter of its revenue from court fees” [Jeff Smith, NY Times]
  • According to Victor Davis Hanson, we critics of police militarization have “empowered [radical groups] to commit violence” [NRO]
  • “What I Did After a Cop Killed My Son” [Michael Bell, Politico, Kenosha, Wisc.; civilian review]
  • “Why Are There No News Helicopters Over Ferguson?” [Peter Suderman]

{ 4 comments }

1 Juliette Whiskey 08.20.14 at 8:40 am

I think you misread Dr. Hanson. What he is saying, it seems to me, is that a primary cause of the current lawlessness in Ferguson is not militarization of the police per se, but a culture in which the government decides which laws it chooses to enforce and which it chooses to ignore. In other words, if the government has no respect for the law, nor will citizens. Of course, the overall policing culture in the US seems to me as a non-American to have degenerated to the point where the police themselves don’t seem to have much respect for the law, judging by their treatment of their fellow citizens.

2 Becky 08.20.14 at 4:47 pm

The initial incident, a single cop in a cop car stopping a young man on the
street, was not a militarized police action. The policeman who is the focus was not using military equipment. The timeline is important.

3 gitarcarver 08.20.14 at 11:31 pm

The New York Times has an interactive map that shows the amount of military equipment states and local municipalities have gotten. That amounts of equipment is staggering.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/08/15/us/surplus-military-equipment-map.html?_r=1

Secondly, in Ferguson what we have seen are police pointing weapons at civilians in violation of the first rule of gun safety that if you point a weapon at something, you need to be ready to destroy and kill it. Are the police in Ferguson really saying they are willing to kill and destroy all the people that are there?

Lastly. I defy anyone to travel down the street toward the police with an M4, AR-15 or handgun raised and pointed at a line of police. Don’t lower the weapon and keep going toward the police. After you find yourself lying in a pool of your own blood, maybe you will wonder why pointing a weapon at the police will get you shot, but the police pointing a weapon at you is acceptable in this day and age.

4 Aaron 08.21.14 at 8:44 pm

Re Sunil Dutta: if you don’t want to be beaten or get shot, don’t “dis” a member of America’s largest street gang, the LAPD.

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