Ferguson, Missouri. Unless you lived there or nearby at some time, who has heard of it?
Suddenly, this city has been in the forefront of the news based on an as yet unproven inflammatory act by a police officer. An unarmed young man was shot by said officer.
We don’t know if this act was accidental or intentional. We don’t know if it was provoked. We now know that the young man was not the angel the media tried to portray him. And we know he was black.
That was enough to set off riots and protests. Forget the facts. We must abandon all civility and destroy whatever strikes our fancy. Looters get an open invitation. Law enforcement is put in an uncomfortable position of protecting property and risking further incitement or standing aside to try and prevent more deaths.
Is this a sign of the times? Have people strayed from decency and civility? Or is this an “one-off” occurrence? Does one wrong act — accidental or intentional — justify another? Should the media play such a huge role in keeping feelings high? Should a trial be conducted by the media before any facts are known?
The continued rioting in Ferguson is a symptom of a deeper problem. There seems to be a shift in principles within the last few years. This manifests itself as, among other things, a sense of entitlement. I want what you have, therefore, I deserve it. If I don’t get it, give me any excuse and I will show you how unhappy I am about that.
There is a shift in moral guidance. Interestingly, this began to manifest itself in the 1990s. That is about the time that those in the hippie revolution of the 60’s raised a generation of children after that model. The guiding tenets seen earlier were soundly ignored by a sector of the 60s. Unfortunately, those are the ones now managing the media, entertainment and in upper level government positions.
The result is the view now that good is bad and bad is good. Radical Islam is good. Che Guevera was good. Mao was good. Atheism is good. Christians are bad. Patriotism is lame. History taught in schools has been corrupted to reflect liberal interpretations and agendas.
The “bad boy” syndrome is alive and well. The popular shows of yesteryear are gone, those like Dragnet, Gunsmoke, The Partridge Family, and so on. Any show that portrays the good guys winning or a happy family is out the door. Instead we have shows like Breaking Bad where a drug dealer is the good guy, or Hell on Wheels or Sons of Anarchy where the rebel is the hero. Not that those shows necessarily have bad content, but the message has been gradually and subtly changed by Hollywood.
The sense of entitlement has been gradual but consistent. There are now third and fourth generations of people whose entire livelihoods rely on government programs. If you think that is not by design, I have some shorefront property in Eastgate for you. The easiest path to servitude to a government is for you to believe they have total control over your destiny.
My biggest fear is that Ferguson is just a sign of worse rioting in the future. The government still maintains that inflation is less than 3 percent, but anyone who buys food, gas or any of the other things we need knows better. What is going to happen when food is not readily available at the store due to, say drought in California?
The U.S. is in debt up to its ears. Total debt now is very close to 100 percent of GDP. Interest rates have been held artificially low for a long time. What happens when other countries, mainly China, decide they no longer want U.S. debt obligations? What happens to all the government programs that so many rely on? If there isn’t any money available, what do those people do?
They show their displeasure. They riot. Greece is a good example of what happens when the pigs find the trough empty, or in their case the threat that the trough would empty. The same thing can happen here. I don’t think I would want to be in a large city when (not if) that happens.
So look to Ferguson as a sign of larger problems down the road. How far down the road? No one knows, just as no one can predict the trigger that starts it. Be ready.
Thomas Riggins is an LVN columnist whose column appears every other Friday.