Ferguson’s lamentable lessons

By Ron Hart   

In the violent aftermath of the robbery and assault by – then police shooting of – Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, I can offer some advice: be sure not to forget to also steal those AAA batteries for the flat-screen remote. It is frustrating to get home and not have them. Then you just have to turn around and go back to the convenience store and choke a hapless clerk to get your batteries.

To be fair, at least when you loot a TV you don’t have to fight off that store clerk trying to hard sell you on the extended warranty.

Police shootings are not a major issue. There were 12 million arrests in the United States in 2012 and, according to FBI statistics there were only 420 police shootings during those 12 million arrests. The plurality of those shot was 42 percent white. Blacks were shot 32 percent and Hispanics 20 percent. This is about in line with crimes committed. But shootings happened in only 0.000035 percent of arrests. They are not a crisis.

We Waspy Presbyterians run a higher risk of getting shot during a police raid because we won’t raise our hands into the air for fear our friends might see us and think we pray that way.

Police are not targeting black males. My father was a policeman. Do you really think he wanted to go into neighborhoods infested with crime, gangs and drugs to arrest someone? Would you? If there is a problem (and it may be a reason crime is high in these areas) it is that police are not aggressive enough because they fear for their own lives and being persecuted by a leftist media and merchants of race-hatred.

Some 90 percent of the protesters in Ferguson were from out of town. Many were white college kids burnishing their liberal creed to impress their professors. The authorities would not shoot them because they owe the government at least $90,000 each in student loans and the feds wouldn’t let them off the hook that easily. The imported whites organized protests and the locals looted, just to prove that the races actually can work together.

Let’s review the reality of Ferguson and the lingering economic impact of government dependence, looting and crime in such neighborhoods.

We learn from pictures of looting youth that they think they can savage a business over a perceived injustice no matter the facts. They looted everything they could from stores, except the latest Garth Brooks CD and job applications.

As a result the good merchants leave a crime-ridden area. The intrepid ones who stay have to charge their customers more because their stores are being robbed. It’s a cost of doing business. What remains are pawn shops, liquor stores and plaintiffs’ attorney advertisements.

As a result, area youth see only seedy businesses and nefarious characters. Perhaps this informs their views of business in general. With successful role models gone the cycle perpetuates itself. It is, hands down, bad economics for the city and the kids there.

The liberal education system echoes the victimization narrative, so, in school, youth get no economically uplifting self-reliant templates for their lives. I doubt they’ve even heard of Horatio Alger or inspiring black businessmen like Bob Johnson or Herman Cain.

For years, I coached an inner-city housing-project basketball team of 15 year olds. I would take them to movies on weekends and drive them through nice neighborhoods. When they marveled at the homes I would ask, “What do you think these people do to make the money to live in such homes?” There was a long pause. None had an idea. Then one of them said, “I know. They get a rapid refund from the government.” Getting money from government is the only way they are conditioned to think.

Aside from being fed the constant line that they are victims and are owed something, Obama gives looter types even more justification for pillaging. And for their votes, Democrats are all too willing to let them continue to think they are always victims who should depend on government.

But Obama did fly back to D.C. from his Martha’s Vineyard vacation to lecture us on race. Either he felt the issue was important or he had forgotten to take his favorite putter.

(Ron Hart, a libertarian syndicated op-ed humorist, award-winning author and TV/radio commentator, can be reached at Ron@RonaldHart.com or visit www.RonaldHart.com.)

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