Home Hands Up, Don't Loot
Home Hands Up, Don't Loot

Hands Up, Don't Loot

The interior of the Ferguson Market and Liquor Store is littered with broken bottles and scattered snacks. Despite the plywood boards covering the windows and doors, looters with their faces covered in bandanas helped themselves to anything they could find as those who came to memorialize Michael Brown carried on his work.

The violence in Ferguson didn't begin when a police officer shot Michael Brown. It began when a 300 lb thug robbed the Ferguson Market and abused a clerk. The release of the video showing the obese criminal assaulting the clerk led to a terrified statement from the store manager that he had not called the police and had nothing to do with the release of the video.

“They kill us if they think we are responsible," he said.

That is what this conflict is about. The police exist so that Ferguson Market and a hundred other stores can do business without being robbed or murdered. Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Michael Brown, was holding down the thin line that makes it possible for stores to stay open and children to go to school.

When the police pulled back, the rioting and looting began in earnest. A mob forced its way into Ferguson Market and other stores. Governor Nixon, a critic of the police was forced to turn to the National Guard.

After all the lectures about militarization, there was no better solution to the violence than the military. The police were never the problem. The looters and rioters were.

The photos of protesters with their hands in the air confronting police in riot gear told a very misleading story. But the real story was sitting in a video held by the Ferguson police and the Justice Department. It was the video of Michael Brown assaulting a clerk at Ferguson Market.

The Justice Department and Governor Nixon did not want the video released because it put the emphasis back where it should have been all along. This was not a conflict between Michael Brown and the police. It was a conflict between Michael Brown and a Ferguson Market worker.

We are all that worker. 

Any one of us can be targeted by a Michael Brown at any time. Every week delivers up fresh new victims of the knockout game. A pregnant woman. An elderly man. A child.

The police are the common defense we use to protect ourselves against the kind of society where store workers have to fear being killed. They are not perfect, but they are far better than the rule of the Michael Browns who take what they want and attack anyone who tries to stop them.

In Ferguson there was a choice between looters wandering around shouting "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" and ordinary citizens crying out "Hands Up, Don't Loot". Shouting "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" at a police officer might work. Shouting "Hands Up, Don't Loot” at a looter won’t.

And that is why we have police forces. As flawed as they are, they follow some rules. The looters follow no rules at all.

Despite all the talk about the militarization of the police, there is very little discussion of why. The police and the prisons are a societal immune response to an infection.

Talking about the immune response as if it exists entirely apart from the infection is how we ended up with hysterical coverage of the unarmed teen shot in the back by a crazed racist officer. Not only was the media take on the story a lie, but it removed the context of the crime from the response to the crime. That was what made Brown's shooting seem senseless and insane.

Stripping away the rioting and looting from the police in riot gear made the law enforcement response seem deranged and insane. It's only when we see the rioting, the looting and the arson, the shots fired and Molotov cocktails thrown that the heavy gear suddenly has a context.

This is a trick that the left has been playing for a very long time. In Ferguson or Gaza, in Afghanistan or New York, it focuses on what soldiers and police do without the context of what they are responding to. Watch a few hours of media coverage from Gaza and you’ll conclude that Israel is fighting a war against crying children. Without footage of Hamas terrorists or Israeli children under fire, the Israelis seem like murderous lunatics.

And that is exactly what the media wants you to think.

If the United States continues bombing ISIS for another month, the media will stop showing photos of crying Yazidi refugees and instead show us the crying Sunni Arab children of the families in Mosul who support ISIS. And then the United States will start looking like maniacs who are out to murder crying children for no reason at all. Most people will forget that we got into it to save the Yazidis from genocide at the hands of Sunni Muslim supremacists and they will shake their heads.

This happens all the time.

The media gave us every detail of Clayton Lockett's suffering after his botched execution. It didn't tell us how he raped one teenage girl and shot her friend and buried her alive while she begged for her life. It didn't even tell us that Lockett died horribly because opponents of the death penalty had been working overtime to cut off the supply of reliable lethal injection drugs.

Without that context, the justice system seemed monstrous for making a man suffer while the monster was passed off as the innocent victim of the senseless brutality of the system.

All systems and people are flawed, but our law enforcement and military are reactive. When we don't talk about what they are reacting to, then there is nothing meaningful to say. 

We don't have SWAT teams because law enforcement has gone completely insane. We have them because of race riots and urban guerrilla warfare. Without Watts, the Black Panthers and the SLA, the police militarization would probably never have existed. 

The militarization of the police was a response to left-wing violence and terror. And the left knows it. 

If the left hadn't spent much of the last century inciting race riots and setting up terrorist groups, there wouldn't be police officers armed for war. 

If not for the left's disastrous social experiments, the War on Drugs would never have been necessary. Instead the left trashes social values and criminal laws and then complains about the authoritarian rebound from the crime waves that follow. The wealthy liberal who snorts cocaine and dashes from sexual encounter to encounter can walk away with little damage done. The same behavior in the ghetto leaves behind shattered lives and destroyed communities because there is no safety net for it.

Finally, if the left hadn't shifted immigration over to the Third World while sympathizing with Islamic terrorists, September 11 and its law enforcement and military aftermath would never have been necessary.

This is why the left tears away the context from a crisis. If we began to genuinely discuss why there are police officers dressed like soldiers or TSA agents examining your shoes, the line would trace all the way back to the policies and agendas of the left.

The left isn't just covering up for the rioters and the looters, the terrorists and the murderers. It is covering up its own role in causing all of this.

That is why its cultural apparatus snips away the context, reacting to the reaction as if it were the cause. The left keeps yammering about finding the root cause, but it is the root cause. The root cause isn't poverty. It's not racism. It's the left.

Communists realized how useful race riots and the authoritarian backlash could be to their agenda. Terrorists don't just aim for the target; they also exploit the fallout to polarize a society.

That is what the left has been doing for generations since.

Everything from the Weathermen to September 11 became a means of polarizing the response while removing the context. The left plants the bombs and then acts as if the security men running around are insane fascists who could have no other possible motive except abusing innocent people.

Ferguson is more of the same. The left's army of activists and reporters troop down to the city. The activists start the violence while the reporters dramatize it. The coverage polarizes Americans and gives the left another hook for hanging on to power long after its economic policies have been as thoroughly discredited as those of the Soviet Union.

Law enforcement is an immune system. If we have an overdeveloped and oversensitive immune system, that's worth discussing, but it has to be discussed in the context of the infection it is reacting to. Until we treat the infection of the left, the country will be caught in the same cycle of crime and authoritarian backlash, liberals who open the door for criminals and conservatives who slam it shut.


  1. Anonymous20/8/14

    I just hope that somebody gets to the bottom of the truth of what happened, but I doubt it will happen. If this cop is charged he won't have a fair trial or even an illusion of a fair trial.

    Sigh. The shooting death of an 18-year old kid is horrible but the second I see pictures of people rioting it takes a little of my compassion away. Well, not just the rioting but all of the looting. Some of these people are using this tragedy as an excuse to break into electronic stores and steal cell phones.

    Same thing happened with Katrina. I was worried when weather reports kept indicating that the storm was coming and would be devastating and there were real fears about the levy. Five days and nobody did a thing.

    Then the catastrophe hit and the second I saw video of people breaking into stores and stealing DVD players...my compassion went down a notch or two. Not only is the rioting counterproductive and destructive the victim gets totally lost.

    Rioting for the sake of rioting. Martin Luther King held peaceful protests and the civil rights abuses back then were 100x worse. Why can't these people (nothing racist implied by the phrase these people) but seriously: there are other options: yes, insist on a federal investigation, hold protest marches and the old fashioned "sit ins" but destroying property and stealing?

    Not to mention destroying their own communities and then put their collective hands out to the government to demand that they repair it...

    The tragic part is the dead kid has become incidental to the rioting, and the future and possibly freedom of this cop is also in danger. Between Obama and Holder what chance does he have for a fair trial?

    I don't know. I just don't get why tragedies are always an occasion to riot and steal.


  2. Anonymous20/8/14

    Mark Steyn has a point that the hyper regulatory state and a militarized police do not make a good combination for a "free" people. And Steyn rightly notes the sheer number of persons killed by the police in the US dwarf any other first world country. But Steyn has failed to note how many US police are killed in the line of duty by criminals in the US. The figure is in the hundreds and this also dwarfs any other first world country. We have a problem. We have a stable working middle class first world population and a growing welfare reliant poor violent third world population operating under the same law and under the same police. And the system is breaking down under the strain.

  3. NormanAlbertGuy20/8/14


    That is a brilliant essay.

    Bravo. Well said.


  4. Though I've explained to a large number of people how the media was the biggest villain here from the start, you Daniel are exposing here how the villainy goes further back than that. Showing us the animus that has infested most all Western institutions, but none so much as our soviet-style media (SSM).

    The Progs from their 1800s start labeled all who would react to their destabilizing as Reactionaries even before their first attacks began. You never say that explicitly, but it is there as your underlying theme. Nicely done as is usual.

  5. @Anonymous Spot on! All social & regulatory systems in the Western world where built by decent people for decent people. Indeed importing third worlders, (considered advisable for a multitude of false reasons by the arrogant political elite), who even after two, three or more generations show to prefer to follow the barbaric ways of the countries they fled and show neither respect or self-constraint nor honesty only an unlimited greed to fully abuse the institutions our civilization have created, from welfare to medicare only to hollow them out till collapse by both creating unbearable workload and impossible funding.

  6. Anonymous21/8/14

    To understand the word "left" just look up the word "sinister" in the dictionary.

    I agree with all your points, truer words were never spoken.

  7. This is just another example of the Orwellian world we live in. A police officer trying to do his job is attacked by a 300 pound beast who first breaks the officer's nose. Not content with that he charges the officer who in defending himself pumps bullets into the beast. Perhaps to many, but who are we to say and what would we have done? Besides, how many bullets are necessary to subdue a wild animal? But now in our topsy turvy world the beast is the victim and the officer is the criminal.

  8. Anonymous21/8/14

    We need to create more words for " Brilliant ".
    Its required use in this comment section diminishes our need for expression of awe and appreciation for the light that Daniel brings to these matters.
    He limns the human condition with his wisdom . . he illuminates the turbulent world of today's events as lucidly as Isaac Newton revealed nature's laws. Brilliant.

  9. Anonymous21/8/14

    Terrorists choose to exploit the divisions it creates in its target societies long
    after the initial event. So what caused more damage 9-11 or the aftermath
    a mere 8 years later when a super Liberal society, the USA, decided to elect
    a man from the Third World in order to prove how tolerant it was. Barack Hussein
    Obama was nothing more than the follow on attack.

  10. Anonymous21/8/14

    Yeah, it's all the fault of today's lefties, aka KKKK (Kool Kids Kommie Klub). That's why Africa's such a peaceful and serene garden spot, why Somalian pirates aren't hijacking boats, why Boko Haram isn't kidnapping young girls, why South Africans aren't beheading white farmers. Why, if those pesky liberals would just get out of the way black people would all be like Morgan Freeman, Official Black God. We can look to Africa as our proof.

    Blacks in America have been rioting, to a greater or lesser extent, since 1964. I'm not an apologist for black violence around the globe, but it's really not their fault. Blacks have higher levels of testosterone, which in turn leads to increased violent behavior. The sooner conservatives (and yes, libs too) recognize the incontrovertible biological underpinnings of America's black community, the sooner we may begin to address meaningful solutions like job training, reform of the generational welfare state, and an end to white guilt.

    P.S. Why didn't blacks in America riot prior to 1964? Same reason South Africa was much more stable during apartheid ... They got hung. Pretty powerful deterrent.

    P.S.2 - This part may be off the rails, but I believe in reincarnation, and thus I've been a black man. And I may be once again. I don't wanna step into all this outta-control shit during a future go-round, so I pray someone somewhere steps up to acknowledge and work within our racial and cultural differences, strengths and limitations, instead of just blaming Whitey, left and right, for all universal sins.

  11. Anonymous21/8/14

    Very good analysis! As a retired police officer I saw "mission creep" developing as early as the 1970's. The perception of what was going on rarely matched the reality. It was fueled by a press that was becoming more competetive in getting the best (most sensational) video and images out to the public. The context they portrayed rarely matched the reality on the ground. I remember being part of security for a demonstration in the city I served. Less than 50 protestors were present and yet when the news stories appeared (on local AND national outlets) the viewer would have thought there were thousands present. In addition - one of my fellow officers was kneed in the groin by a "peaceful protestor" as a camera crew were filming the from the chest up. The cop reacted and took the man down and the whole context in the media was of a cop violently arresting an innocent protestor. Only later when the "justice system" had taken its time to fully investigate and adjudicate the matter did the truth come out and the officer was exonerated. The "protestor" was part of an organized anarchist group that came from 2000 miles away to create chaos.

  12. Anonymous21/8/14

    Too many bullets? The autopsy shows that it is likely the killing shot dropped him like a rock. That means until that killing shot the perp was still charging the officer intending him harm. It seems to me that the officer fired anumber of non-lethal shots andthat is why six shots were fired. But then you find out that the officer was hit so hard in his eye that his eye socket was shattered. Ask yourself if that is why he failed to stop the perp with one shot? And if after one or two shots and the perp is still charging should the police simply stop shooting to avoid the mondya mornng quarterback view that too many bulets were used? In fact I would argue that the exact and correct number of bullets were fired, no more, no less.

  13. Anonymous21/8/14

    In my neck of the woods the meme being murmured is PANTS up, don't loot.

    I wish I were in my 30s and had all sorts of time to play on the internet, coz I'd start a page where people can post a shopped photo of the store they want looted in THEIR memory, if they get killed by an LEO.

    I'd have lots of middle aged ladies running out of the local yarn shop, their arms brimming with skeins and hanks of merino and angora and roving for home-spinning and Addi Click circular knitting needle sets and Amish-made yarn swifts and expensive coffee table books on aran sweaters and stuff.

    My husband says his would consist of someones looting the local Bass Pro fishing store, heaped with tackle, just tackle.

    Our daughter wants the local pet shop's parrot toy aisle looted in her memory, with the proviso that her parrot, Mr. Bingley, gets them all.

  14. Anonymous21/8/14

    The wonder is that police officers are still willing to risk life, limb, peace of mind, and reputation to serve the community. The shame is that all this is starkly obvious to the media and the interested politicians, as they persist in calling that ponderous, menacing, hooligan "an unarmed 18 year old" as if he were a fragile, naive innocent, catapulted from another dimension into the maws of a merciless police state. I'd love to know how much these looters are paid, who provides their meals, pays for the buses that deliver them to their battle stations, how many have been to other Sharpton events over the years, and even, perhaps how many union members from all over the country have been mustered to assist in the cause. The media arm of the progressives seem, to a man to be minus integrity, empathy, compassion, civility. They brutalize innocent citizens as thoroughly as the street thugs, just use a different technique.It'd be funny, and not out of the question if some day we find that some or a lot of the demonstrators are being paid with taxpayers' dollars, through federal programs, or on government payrolls. Seems they don't any of them have to be anywhere anytime soon, like, say a job. Until Ferguson runs out of stuff to steal and destroy. Until Irreverand Al creates another feeding ground to keep them sated.

  15. Excellent article, as usual. I will link to this from my Old Jarhead blog. (www.tartanmarine.blogspot.com). I will post this on my next blog post:
    What would you do?
    You are a white cop responding to a reported rape of a child. You are alone and spot the black suspect near the mother's apartment in a black neighborhood. You order him to stop at gun point, but he refuses and walks rapidly towards an ally. you see no weapon. Do you shoot him and face riots and a murder trial, or let him go and assure the rapes and perhaps worse of other young girls? Some retired cops on my list responded to the question.

    Robert A. Hall
    USMC 1964-68
    USMCR, 1977-83
    Massachusetts Senate, 1973-83
    Author: The Coming Collapse of the American Republic
    All royalties go to help wounded veterans
    For a free PDF of my 80-page book, write tartanmarine(at)gmail.com

  16. Anonymous21/8/14

    "In my neck of the woods the meme being murmured is PANTS up, don't loot."

    ROFL! You made my day with that one.


  17. Anonymous23/8/14

    Keliata, regarding your first post:
    Correct all the way! The looters use an excuse that "the black man can't get ahead; the racist system ensures failure." Explain that to the black businessman who worked his ass off for decades, scrimped & saved, denied his family luxuries in order to invest his profits in his small business, only to see it burned to the ground by black looters (I won't say "his fellow black people", because they have nothing in common other than melanin).
    About 15 years ago, after (surprise!) a young black man was shot & killed, during the comission of a violent felony, by police in Nashville, TN, some of the residents of the neighborhood rioted. Among the businesses burned was a Dollar General store. The store had been located in that neighborhood because it was near a housing project, & the people needed jobs, according to DG. After things calmed, DG announced that it would rebuild the store, because "the locals need those jobs", and after all, it wasn't their fault that a small percentage of the locals destroyed the store. I haven't shopped at DG since.
    If we can demand (as we should) that decent Muslims take responsibility for their community, denounce the extremists, & show that they are peaceful, law-abiding folks, why is it we don't demand the same of the black community? Simple: non-black folks are afraid of being called racists.
    Not I. Call me what you will. I & those who know me know I've not a racist bone in my body. The uninformed accusing me of something of which I'm innocent doesn't make me lose a millisecond of sleep. Decent people of any hue or ideology need to stand up & take back their identity, lest they, by inaction, be lumped in with the evil among them.
    Sorry for the over-long post, but I'm sick of this.
    --Tennessee Budd

  18. Anonymous25/8/14

    Thank you for this article Mr. Greenfield. You have put into words what I have suspected but could not express. As the mother of a young police officer, I have grown increasingly alarmed over the hateful rhetoric being aimed at the police by some conservatives lately. I expect it from the left, of course. To hear fellow conservatives claiming all cops are bad and the only good cop is a dead one is frightening. The left has so twisted the narrative that they are even sucking conservatives into blaming the "immune response" instead of the "infection". It seems that these conservatives are losing the ability to discern the the bottom line in this war for our republic. I only hope and pray my son is not taken out by some over zealous person who cannot see the forest for the trees. There is already enough to worry about when he is on duty.

  19. I don't think you need to worry about that. It's a lot of talk and misdirected anger for the most part. Cops seem like the most local part of a large faceless system.

  20. Anonymous27/8/14

    Remove Africa from the US and a lot of problems will be solved. In my eyes, AA's are an occupying force with a culture that is antithetical to western culture.


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