There is a disturbing phenomenon that unfortunately must be addressed. Criminals and their supporters are creating chaos and undermining peaceful efforts to step back the police state.
On June 8th, Jerad Miller and his wife Amanda walked into a Las Vegas restaurant and murdered two police officers while they ate lunch. On July 13th, Lawrence Campbell staged an ambush at a Jersey City pharmacy and murdered a police officer who responded to the call. On September 12th, Eric Frein used a rifle to ambush and murder a Pennsylvania State Trooper as he walked to his car. On December 20th, Ismaaiyl Brinsley walked up to a police cruiser and murdered the two officers sitting inside it.
In each case, the perpetrator(s) sought out police officers at random with the express purpose of murdering them because of their profession. Each perpetrator initiated the confrontation. Each committed a deliberate, cowardly attack on people who had done nothing and had no chance to defend themselves.
The most disturbing bit of commonality between these cases is that a certain subset of people have shown sympathy for killing police officers, or even openly celebrated the murders. To see some examples, check out this revolting collection of social media posts released after the most recent murder. Comments ranged from “I’m glad” to “Salute the shooter.”
The praise of murder extends further than classless internet posters. Earlier this month, a group of protesters in New York City openly chanted: “What do we want? Dead cops! When do we want it? Now!”
How can we explain these open calls for violence? What might be the effects of such protests? This article will attempt to explore the ugly side of opposing the government.
WHY ARE PEOPLE ANGRY?
Injustices are not hard to find in America. Among the many issues that people are concerned with is the number of officer-involved shootings that occur in the USA each year. While many of these are truly justified cases of self-defense, many are completely avoidable and egregious. A growing number of people are approaching police with more caution — or animosity.
Before Ismaaiyl Brinsley committed his attack, he wrote on the internet: “I’m Putting Wings On Pigs Today. They Take 1 Of Ours….. Let’s Take 2 of Theirs #ShootThePolice.” The same post mentioned the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown — two men that received nationwide attention following their deaths during interactions with police.
It is apparent that the murderer’s motivation was some sort of twisted revenge, aiming to punish the innocent for certain perceived injustices. This corrupt rationale unfortunately rings true with some people. What might otherwise be considered a horrific crime can evidently be justified by some as collective payback against “the police” for the behavior of certain officers — even if the controversies arose in another state.
The anger toward government abuse is understandable, but America’s collective response must be based on liberty, justice, and morality — something of which these murderers knew nothing.
RESPONDING TO MURDER APOLOGISTS
This author wishes to be distinguished from those who might rationalize murder. For a variety of reasons, such behavior — and sympathy for it — violates every principle of logic and morality and is bound to result in political failure.
First, is an adherence to the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP). This libertarian axiom is the basis for our opposition to many government intrusions. It holds that the party which initiates force in a situation is illegitimate. This ethical standard is a reliable means of distinguishing between the aggressor and victim. It is by this standard that we defend Eric Garner, the NYC man who was assaulted by police because he allegedly sold his own cigarettes. The same principle leads a rational person to conclude that cowardly ambush attacks are also unjust and illegitimate. (Read more: The Principle of Non-Aggression | Mises.org)
Second, is an appeal to justice. A just system offers a defendant due process and the chance to defend his actions during a fair trial. Justice requires the upholding of the natural rights of all individuals, including the right to life. The commission of murder is the ultimate denial of due process and the ultimate denial of the victim’s rights. It also denies the public the ability to treat the defendant by a common standard and with public oversight. Vigilante murder is incompatible with justice.
Third, is an appeal to morality. No rational system of ethics permits random acts of violence. Embracing murder, vengeance, and depravity is a rejection of the Golden Rule as articulated by Jesus Christ: “Do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). Suicidal cowards filled with hate are surely taking the low road and are incapable of producing righteousness. They share the same moral corruption as mass shooters and suicide bombers.
CHAOS ENABLES THE POLICE STATE
It is already apparent that some will reject arguments for liberty, justice, and morality. Besides the fact that wanton violence is repugnant and creates brand new innocent victims, it is strategically a failure to meet a political goal of less government.
Why? Chaos is beneficial to the state.
Those who wish for a less intrusive, abusive government need to win public support. The people must be convinced of the problems that stem from being over-policed, and the virtues of being left alone. Their perceptions of current events will play a large role in determining how much government they tolerate.
The media plays a significant — if not complete — role in shaping this public perception. Psychologically, most people are apt to side with the side which they perceive to be the victim; against the bully.
When random malcontents take shots at the police, they are creating the ideal circumstance for the government to express its victimhood at the hands of “anti-government” protesters. The media heavily carries this sentiment and quickly turns the public toward the side of the police and the government.
Consequently, these events give the government a sufficient excuse to uphold aggressive police tactics and the procurement of more militarized equipment. Such chaos reinforces a climate of danger and fear that the government readily uses to maintain its power.
The same can be said of rioters, like the ones that set dozens of buildings ablaze in Ferguson, Missouri. Such wanton destruction only caused the people to demand more security from the police.
While not only undermining credible reform efforts, chaos puts people into a state of submission when the government takes steps to restore/advance its control over a situation. This fact is well known to those in power, who have even been known to use agent provocateurs to instigate criminal behavior in order to create a pretext for suppressing certain freedoms. As White House operative Rahm Emanuel famously said, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
This author is committed to peaceful reform and will have no association with murder apologists and violent instigators. For the credibility of our movement toward freedom, it is strongly recommended that readers reject calls to violence and reject sympathy for these criminals.
Cop killers, rioters, and their supporters are an obstruction to repealing the police state. Leave the violence to the oppressors so that the public does not mistake who the victims are.