Just read Jacob Sullum’s take, over at reason.com, on ferguson. So I want to get this straight. Mr. Sullum is a-ok with the police action in this case. So anytime a non-blue-uniformed person shows aggression toward a blue-uniformed person, then tries to leave the scene, the blue-uniformed person can shoot to kill the unarmed non-blue-uniformed person? Somehow I doubt I would get away with this in, say, a bar room fight. While I’m not totally surprised by the outcome, what pisses me off is that this shows a high level of incompetence and disregard for life. There is NO OTHER way this could have been handled other than emptying his revolver? Really? Of course, Wilson is still getting his paid vacation over this. Where else but the public sector can you get a paid vacation over a blatant display of incompetence? The public blindly accept this as a necessary part of police “protection”. I would like to take a poll with the following multiple choice question:
- Regarding the police service you have encountered, please choose among the following:
- I have had situations in my life where the police force has protected me from harm.
- I’ve never had a situation where I’ve been protected by police since I’ve never been in that situation.
- I have felt unnecessarily harassed in situations with the police
- I have been unnecessarily beaten, shot at, etc in situations with the police
# 3 for me, and I suspect many others. Michael Brown can’t answer with #4 can he? How often would anyone answer #1? Frankly I don’t think much would happen if we eliminated the public police force, other than more guns being purchased and a flourishing private protection business sector (which would be staffed by personnel held accountable for their actions).
On another note, what sort of human psychological analysis explains looting private businesses when a government official has wronged you? Somehow I think there is more at work here other than concern for Michael Brown or the competence of the police force. After all, what do businesses that serve the publics interest have to do with the police? Is this just confusion on the part of the citizens of Ferguson? Or is it just anger lashing out in every direction? I suspect it is confusion on some level, that being the inability to tell the difference between “us” and “the system”, lumping the police and anyone else who’s successful in some way. But in my mind there’s a huge difference between a successful shop owner and the police. And that difference is simply the shop owner has provided a service that people value. We know this because they voluntarily paid for the service. Our public police for is funded by taxation, which causes a host of problems. One, there is no way to know if the service provided is valuable in relation to the forced taxation. Two, the service is a monopoly, which economics 101 teaches us leads to poor service at higher costs.
Until the general public sees the economic aspects of monopolist, forced taxation, public services, this sort of thing will continue. Somehow I don’t think that the citizens of Ferguson are thinking in this direction. And, unfortunately, it doesn’t really appear to me that the pseudo-libertarian news sight Reason, thinks that way either.