Ferguson FireIt’s probably a safe bet to say that the Ferguson, Mo. residents who looted liquor stores and McDonalds restaurants while essentially burning their own community to the ground late Monday, Nov. 24 have never read Frederic Bastiat. That’s a shame, because then they would know that while their actions may make glaziers happy in the short run, they have only done themselves long-term economic damage.

Ferguson McDonalds vandalismA grand jury decided Monday night that the evidence presented to them regarding the shooting death of Michael Brown did not warrant an indictment of police officer Darren Wilson. That evidence was combed through and analyzed by the federal government — The Department of Justice under Eric Holder’s leadership — as well as an independent forensics expert hired by the Brown family. Sworn statements by multiple eye witnesses backed what the forensic evidence was telling investigators — but that sort of thing doesn’t matter when you’re the kind of person who really, really wants an excuse to rob liquor stores.

Liquor Looter FergusonThere is something paradoxically sad, hilarious and frightening about watching men in “Scream” masks and black hoodies robbing liquor stores adorned with “Hands up, Don’t Shoot” posters.

Ferguson Scream MaskMany Ferguson looters erroneously believe that justice was not served by the grand jury’s decision. (Some know the truth but just want an excuse to steal.) However, they should be thankful that there are still enough members of their own community who are capable of letting evidence instead of emotion guide their thinking.

Ironically, the Ferguson, Mo. authorities will probably not be taken to task for turning a blind eye to the wanton destruction of their own community.

As Bastiat says in “The Law”:

“Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources. This process is the origin of property.

But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.

Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain — and since labor is pain in itself — it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work. History shows this quite clearly. And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it.

When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor.

It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder,” — (Bastiat, The Law).

How many law-abiding business owners — who had absolutely nothing to do with Michael Brown’s death — will never recover from the destruction of personal property because of the misplaced notion that racial sensitivity trumps the law?

How many businesses — and the jobs that come with them — will now stay far, far away from Ferguson, Mo. because officials made the conscious decision to allow citizens to plunder from one another and raze portions of the city?

Enjoy your liquor, Ferguson looters. The rubble will still remain after your hangovers subside.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

26 comments

  1. MLK would be ashamed. I hate how people are still spreading silly comments and pushing for more trouble. What about Darren Wilson and his life? They make him out as guilty even though there was not even enough proof to show to get a trial. This behavior only sets us back rather than dealing with the issues like adults.

  2. How is his tweets constructive, All they do is spread lies, hate and fear. It seems he has other motivations such as getting attention.

    1. I heard that at least 25 businesses are in pretty bad shape. One of the commenters on Business Insider provided a list.

      Family Dollar
      Walgreens (on fire)
      CVS
      Beauty store (on fire)
      Conico
      BP
      McDonalds (on fire)
      KFC (on fire)
      Jewelry store
      Little Ceasar’s (on fire)
      Sam’s Meat Market (on fire)
      Storage Facility (on fire)
      Auto body shop
      Optical shop
      Red’s Barbecue (on fire)
      New York Grill
      Dollar General
      Ferguson Market and Liquor (on fire)
      Toys R us
      Walmart
      Sonic
      O’Reilly Auto parts (on fire)
      Advanced Auto parts (on fire)
      Antique shop
      Taco Bell

    2. That’s astounding. And the thing is, after this, those businesses will have every reason to close up shop and leave the community. No businesses, no jobs. No jobs, you get a bombed out ghost-town. A lot of urban areas never recover from stuff like this.

    3. And then when you do have businesses that try and bring jobs to a run-down neighborhood they’re denied the opportunity because they apparently bring in too many white people: ‘Portland African American Leadership Forum: We love vacant lots more than jobs, Trader Joe’s’

      [The Portland African American Leadership Forum] sent the city a letter saying it would “remain opposed to any development in N/NE Portland that does not primarily benefit the Black community.” It said the grocery-store development would “increase the desirability of the neighborhood,” for “non-oppressed populations.”

      Trader Joe’s is based in Monrovia, Calif. Its store would have been the anchor of a two-building development that included space for four to 10 shops and 100 parking spaces. A company owned by African-Americans in Portland had been slated to build it.

    4. It’s just annoying because it’s like, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. If cops lay off crime, they’re racist. If they’re tough on crime, they’re racist.

      I wish more people were as blunt and honest as Milwaukee’s Police Chief Edward Flynn.

    5. Seriously, though, what I want to know is they’ve got the police out there posing for pictures, armed to the teeth, looking the freaking storm-troopers, and this happened anyway? How? Outnumbered? Outmaneuvered? Ordered to stand down and let it happen? It was known beyond a shadow of doubt that this would happen regardless of the decision. The lack of preparedness is appalling.

    6. The protesters basically called law enforcement’s bluff. I think a decision was made to essentially let the citizens do whatever the heck they wanted to “blow off steam”. I guess officials figured it was better to let them destroy their own neighborhood and have no one but themselves to blame than to risk a few more people dead at the hands of white cops immediately following the grand jury’s decision.

      On another level, it gives the cops the moral high ground. I’m not saying it’s right, but who are sane people going to believe: the grand jury that had enormous pressure to indict officer Wilson, or a community that lights the entire city ablaze when they don’t get their way?

    7. True… The problem with that approach is that it’s clear we don’t live in a sane world. We’ve gone so far through the looking glass, it’s impossible to tell which way is up.

  3. Good points! I bet a lot of those people looting and destroying things aren’t even from that community. That’s how stupid this mentality gets, this social justice nonsense. A bunch of people from out of town who don’t even understand the complexities of the issue will perceive themselves as the self appointed morality police, vigilantes out to save the world because the rest of us are too stupid to do it.

    In Seattle a while back we had some anarchists that went about smashing store windows to get back at “the man, the 1%, the big bankers” or something. In the process they smashed out the windows and slashed the tires of three single moms attending classes nearby. Needless to say, the media never really told the story, but the tears and frustration of those women should have been on the front page of every newspaper. Here’s your 1%, women who can barely afford parking, women who didn’t have insurance, women whose lives are now a whole lot harder because you just vandalized their only source of transportation. I wish our media would tell those stories because that’s what rioting is really all about.

    1. In Seattle a while back we had some anarchists that went about smashing store windows to get back at “the man, the 1%, the big bankers” or something. In the process they smashed out the windows and slashed the tires of three single moms attending classes nearby.

      I remember a few years ago there was an “Occupy” video that came out of San Francisco, if memory serves me correctly. These guys just bashed in the window of a random car and someone who lived in the apartments nearby was like, “Why did you do that?! That wasn’t a banker’s car, etc.” I don’t believe the Occupy guys answered them, or they may have mumbled something about the “One percent.” Regardless, it was a very telling video. First of all it was interesting how the liberal San Francisco guy implied that it was okay to destroy someone’s property if it was the “right” person, but it also highlighted the kind of lawlessness that the Occupy mentality ultimately encourages of its advocates.

  4. We all know looting and burning things down shows love for others. What does this behavior gain, I guess they needed to steal liquor and booze to call others and deal with the pain. One of the places looted had signs in support of Brown. It is clear that some were there for nothing more than to cause trouble.

  5. This Heinlein quote is especially appropriate, in light of not only the lootings, but also the comments referencing Trader Joe’s:

    Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

    This is known as “bad luck.”

    1. I really should read Heinlein. His name keeps coming up over and over again, but yet I’m still behind on his work. If there’s one book that you recommend above all others, then just let me know and I’ll add it to my list. I really do need to finish the book I’m writing one of these days…but for the most part my reading slate is now clean. I can probably knock out a Heinlein book over Christmas.

    2. I’ve never read Heinlein, but I highly recommend Larry Correia’s Grimnoir Chronicles. The first book is called Hard Magic, and it has a lady in a red dress on the cover, along with a man holding a Thompson. Get the audio version if possible; you won’t regret it.

    3. I may get the audio version. I have to make an 8-hour round-trip car ride to Washington, D.C. once a month…and for the most part I ride in silence. I know that sounds weird…but I actually think it’s healthy. I explain here or in another thread if need be. 🙂

      Anyway, I’ll definitely check out “Grimnoir Chronicles” sometime in the near future.

  6. “You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”

    Under every state or federal court decision that I’ve ever heard of (Riss vs. New York, Warren vs. District of Columbia, Castle Rock vs. Gonzalez), the police (whether the department or individual officers) cannot be sued or prosecuted for failure to prevent a crime, failure to arrest a criminal, or failure to rescue a victim. They can, however, be sued and/or prosecuted (and, of course, fired) for brutality, excessive force, hate crimes, harassment, false arrest, and for violating civil rights.

    So, if Wilson had been goofing off in a doughnut shop instead of doing his job, he could have saved himself a lot of grief. And I am sure a lot of cops across the country are thinking along similar lines.

    Heinlein’s “Expanded Universe” is a collection of essays and short stories. It makes a good sampler.

    1. Yep. That’s the thing — on so many levels good people are given incentives to do the wrong thing. And then when that blows up in our face we’re back to watching talking heads on television arguing about what went wrong. Again: welcome to the Twilight Zone. Sigh…

      Heinlein’s “Expanded Universe” is a collection of essays and short stories. It makes a good sampler.

      Thanks!

  7. I don’t normally like to give Lizard19 any attention when he writes about me, but in this case I will because it’s just too hilarious. I apparently felt a “sense of relief” that angry Ferguson protesters burned their community to the ground. Because otherwise I might have to take their temper tantrums seriously…or something.

    Sorry. Forensic evidence doesn’t lie. Video of Michael Brown conducting a strong-arm robbery doesn’t lie. If Ferguson, Mo. residents want to hold up Michael Brown as the poster boy for police brutality, then they’re in for a rude awakening.

    Also, in Lizard19’s world, a bunch of drunk and stupid college kids smashing pumpkins in New Hampshire should warrant just as much media attention as the those who took a torch to multiple Ferguson businesses after the grand jury declined to indict officer Darren Wilson. Classic.

    1. No one ever said that Lizard19 was smart, Doug. The mere fact that a fellow liberal blogger denounced his conspiratorial nonsense says a lot. He has issues, and that’s being kind.

      A local perspective: here in Minnesota, idiot protesters actually shut down I-35W in Minneapolis, blocking commuters from getting to work. It was pretty ridiculous, but the local media (particularly the Star Tribune) has gone out of their way to defend them and basically imply that anyone who criticizes them is a “racist.”

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