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The Ferguson Reaction: Open Thread

I heard the county prosecutor’s announcement on NPR. I cannot believe they released this decision at night. Buildings and cars are now being set on fire in Ferguson, reports NBC News, and looting. People burning and destroying their own neighborhoods. Idiots. Robbing a dollar store, the mob, and breaking into a Walgreens. A neighborhood hair salon on fire. And now, I’m watching a Little Caesar’s pizza restaurant going up in flames. Some innocent business owner’s livelihood, gone. Over and over, that’s happening tonight in Ferguson.

No opinion from me on this decision tonight. I will wait to read the stories tomorrow, after analysts have had a chance to analyze the grand jury documents released. Emotions are not evidence.

Open thread below.

UPDATE: I just checked my TAC e-mail. A reader wrote this afternoon, before the news:

You are fond of stating that “culture matters,” and I couldn’t agree more.

A short anecdote from my drive this afternoon:

I was driving to pick up my kids and was listening to CNN Radio. Jake Tapper (who is excellent) was speaking with a woman who plans on protesting with a group of people. Mr. Tapper told the woman he had earlier spoken with an officer from the St Louis County PD who told him that it wasn’t people from Ferguson or St Louis County causing the trouble, it was people from the outside coming in to the area that were being violent.

So Mr. Tapper asks the woman if she and her friends have a plan on what to do if they see criminal activity taking place such as violence, looting, etc. and how to get in touch with law enforcement. Her response was that she did not join the law enforcement profession “for a reason,” and that it was “not her job” to notify law enforcement if she witnessed any criminal activity, it was the cops’ job to look for lawbreakers and deal with it, with no assistance from her or her friends.

“Not her job.” Those are her neighbors being victimized. That’s her community being victimized. Not her job?

Not so easily are the ties of community formed once severed. Culture matters. I chewed out my radio for a good five minutes, I couldn’t believe what I had heard.

How can someone so cavalierly disregard the needs of her neighbors and community? How can a community survive if that is the prevailing attitude?

I was angry when I first heard what she said. Now that an hour has passed, I’m just saddened by it.

Sorry, I had to vent at someone and I dare not post something like this on Facebook.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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