It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.
Edmund Burke’s insight returned to mind while watching cable news coverage of the rampage in Ferguson, Missouri, after St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced that officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted in the shooting death of Michael Brown.
The rioting, looting, arson, and gunfire that began after McCulloch relayed the grand jury’s decision, a decision long predicted and anticipated, revealed the unspoken truth about Ferguson.
The problem in Ferguson is not the 53-man police department. The problem is the hoodlum element those Ferguson cops have to police, who, Monday night, burned and pillaged the stores on the main streets of their own community.
The police were portraits in restraint as they were cursed and showered with rocks, bottles and Molotov cocktails. If the police were at fault at all, it was in their refusal to use the necessary force to stop a rampaging mob that destroyed the lives and livelihoods of honest businessmen and women of Ferguson.
Many will not be able to rebuild their stores. Many will not be able to get insurance. Many will give up and move away, the investment of a lifetime lost in a night of thuggery.
One recalls that the Detroit riot of 1967 was the beginning of the end of Motown. And it was decades before D.C. fully recovered from the riot and arson that followed the assassination of Dr. King.