January 22, 2021

Liberty, Liberalism and Law On the Streets of Cincinnati

Liberty, Liberalism and Law On the Streets of Cincinnati
by Michael Spencer

I don’t want a police state anywhere in America, not even in Cincinnati. Someone might reasonably argue that a community which elected Jerry Springer as mayor needs to be watched closely, but I am not moved by this extreme example. Groups of riot-geared policeman roaming the streets are never a sight that makes my conservative heart skip with joy. I understand those reasonable people in Cinci who are upset at the shooting of an unarmed nineteen year-old black man who was resisting arrest by flight, but I am also disturbed at seeing police take over an entire neighborhood to restore order. Watch me all day and you won’t find me cheering. I prefer my police eating donuts and patrolling public school restrooms.

Law enforcement is a necessity in any society. At the school where I work, we have lots of rules, and most of them are needed. (The one against dancing is a glaring exception.) The efficient enforcement of those rules, however, is another story. Appropriate words- on a good day- to describe how the rules are enforced would be “imperfect,” “inconsistent,” “clumsy” and “highly subjective.” Yet, I believe the rules must be enforced, otherwise we will quickly descend into a level of barbarism that could attract a live television crew from the Discovery Channel. And I believe the laws of the City of Cincinnati must be enforced, even though it will be an imperfect and sometimes painful necessity.

So the Libertarian in me is not excited about what is happening in Cincinnati, but the largest reason the police are roaming the streets in riot gear has nothing to do with the threat of a police state. It has a lot to do with the always-predictably inane ass-umptions of the liberals who largely run our cities and the liberal media who tell us all about them. The fastest way I know of to install a policeman in every school, home and restroom is to simply let the liberals continue duping the country about reality. In short, liberals in America are showing a confusing tendency to trash the police and idealize the criminals. Bad choice. But then, liberalism always knows the short route to tyranny. They just advertise it as the road to Utopia.

For starters, it is not an out-of-control, racist police force that we are seeing. It is what any police force in a major American city faces every day. And in every major American city that I hear about in my daily news rounds, there are incidents where liberals are accusing the police of racial profiling, brutality and cold-blooded murder as they valiantly, but imperfectly, go about their work. Not because incidents of possible police violence are happening on a large scale, but because law enforcement is a tough, risky and violent business.

Every law-enforcement officer in America gets up in the morning knowing that he/she may not come home that evening. They know that the chance of being injured or killed in the performance of routine duties is increasing, as more and more “ordinary” criminals carry guns. So, every so often, a law enforcement officer shoots someone who shouldn’t have been shot. I’m sorry. It happens and it always will, unless the liberals take away the weapons. (NOTE: Since I wrote this article, a Cinci police officer was shot by a rioter. Fortunately, he survived because of a bullet proof vest.)

I prefer the unfortunate fact of the occasional shooting of an unarmed fugitive to any kind of significant hampering of law enforcement from doing their job. It’s rotten and risky work. Despite all those college classes on public relations, it still can get down to shoot the other guy first to save your own butt. I have a co-worker who was a policeman in a major city. One evening he pulled over a routine traffic violation. The guy gets out of the car and rushes towards the police cruiser with his hand reaching into the back of his pants. My friend had about two seconds to react. What would you do? Well, fortunately, he stopped just in time and it turned out the idiot was taking out his wallet. But it could have been another Cincinnati. (Can you hear the liberals screaming in the distance? Cold Blooded cop kills unarmed man coming to say hello.)

I don’t want unregulated, unmonitored police. They are fallible and corruptible human beings like the rest of us, so someone needs to keep an eye out. But let these people do their job, and quit acting like law enforcement in Cincinnati should be carried out like discipline in a liberal public school. Stop, or you’re going to get your name on the board. Drop that knife or it’s a time out.

Then we have the media. As a mob of teenage boys wandered through the streets of the Queen City breaking windows, looting and pulling strangers from their vehicles, the media described them as “protestors.” Protestors? Quick, get me a dictionary and look up the difference between protestor and “rioter,” “looter,” and “punk brat dropout hoodlum scumbag.”

There were some protestors in Cincinnati and I am sure they behaved correctly, but they were apparently too civilized to get the attention of the media, who treated us to repeated views of what looked like a mob of juvenile delinquents reveling in breaking windows, burning things and hurting people. Television ratings, newspaper sales and web page hits probably have nothing to do with this kind of reporting. The fact is, there were rioters in the streets giving ample evidence of why our police officers are facing a dangerous and violent situation in cities like Cincinnati. I think the Cinci police are to be commended for handling a night of looting and provocation with a minimum of force and plenty of patience. Since no one is going to discipline these hoodlums, and liberals are going to treat them like the dignified followers of Martin Luther King, Jr., it must be tempting for the police to make up for what society has overlooked.

My liberal friends are happy for those police union votes, but it seems they are also the first ones in line to join hands for a photo op with the guy hoisting the “Down with the Pigs!” sign. Listen up: Not every gripe of the victim classes is worthy of liberal support. The fact is the police, imperfect as they are, supply the first and best line of defense in minority communities ravaged by criminals. Just in case you missed that day of school, if you support someone, you don’t support their enemies or smear them in general when limited, specific criticisms will do. Police make mistakes, and it is wrong to hit the pavement portraying all law enforcement as racist and out of control. Liberals need to show a little bit of mature differentiation. You can do it guys; I know you can.

Liberals have not yet discovered a way to be credible to the hyper-victimized mindset of their political base and still be reasonable in their support of law enforcement. It is possible, and extremely necessary. We are rapidly moving toward more acceptance of a police state as a remedy to various social ills, and people who value freedom must resist this reasonably and rationally. Somewhere between streets full of rioting thugs and streets full of riot police, there must be an acceptable balance that doesn’t play politics with the public good.