Hart: Ferguson's lamentable lessons

Hart: Ferguson's lamentable lessons

August 29th, 2014 by By Ron Hart in Opinion Columns

In the violent aftermath of the robbery and assault by - then police shooting of - Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., I can offer some advice to looters: 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.

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 420 police shootings during those 12 million arrests. The plurality of those shot -- 42 percent -- were white. Blacks were shot in 32 percent of cases and Hispanics 20 percent -- about in line with crimes committed. But shootings happened in only 0.000035 percent of arrests. They are not a "crisis."

Police are not targeting black males. My father was a policeman. Do you really think he wanted to go into neighborhoods known for 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 fear 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 cred 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.

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: the trifecta of blight.

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.

The liberal education system echoes the victimization narrative, so, in school, youth get no economically uplifting, self-reliant templates for their lives.

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 feeding them 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.

Contact Ron Hart at Ron@RonaldHart.com.