For most of my life, when one read or heard the words “Nixon should resign”, the Nixon was former President Richard Nixon and the resignation demand flowed from the events of the Watergate scandal. After the debacle in Ferguson, Missouri, there’s another Nixon who needs to step down: Jay Nixon, the governor of that Show Me state.
Like millions of Americans, I was glued to the television watching Democratic St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch announce the results of the grand jury proceedings in the matter of the shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson.
In a highly unusual televised announcement, McCulloch spent almost an hour detailing the reasons why the racially diverse grand jury opted not to indict Officer Wilson. It was an interesting glimpse into the usually opaque grand jury process.
Furthermore, the prosecutor revealed that the authorities would be making publicly available virtually all evidence that the grand jury reviewed. Also, highly unconventional.
All of this made riveting television, but what was just as engrossing, and at the same time incredibly repulsive, was the barbarism taking shape on the split television screen. Before the prosecutor was even finished outlining the grand jury decision, the thugs that had gathered in Ferguson were on the march. When morning broke on Ferguson, Missouri, buildings were rubble and smoldering ashes. The question is why.
I had the misfortune of visiting Los Angeles, California in April 1992. At the time, a jury was deliberating the fate of four white Los Angeles police officers who were accused of assault with a deadly weapon and the use of excessive force against Rodney King.
When the jury acquitted those officers, violent riots erupted throughout the city. I recall seeing plumes of smoke, mainly in African American neighborhoods, and wondering why the authorities had not done more to protect the victims of these riots. Surely, the minority owned businesses that were being looted were not headed by the recently acquitted police officers.
In my view, the police should have moved in heavily armed. If the rioters did not desist from their violence, they should have been shot. Harsh, perhaps, but riots in other nations end very quickly when force is applied. Instead, innocent people were victimized by these villains, and law enforcement held their fire.
The cautious behavior of law enforcement was later attributed to their sadly legitimate concerns that they, too, would be accused of police abuse had they used sufficient force to stop the barbarians from their pillage, and likely prosecuted.
In the aftermath of the riots, angry citizens legitimately criticized their public officials, but few California political leaders were condemned because they didn’t foresee the violent reaction to the acquittals. It had been almost 25 years since riots riled the African American neighborhoods and no one was predicting the return of anarchy and the mobs, just because of a jury decision. The same cannot be said of Ferguson.
Unlike the sudden return of the Rodney King jury in Los Angeles, Governor Nixon and his staff knew for weeks that the grand jury was moving to a decision. In fact, the St. Louis County court announced the week before that a decision would be announced on the next Monday. Only a blithering idiot would have thought that a no-indictment announcement would have brought anything but violence and mayhem.
There was plenty of time for Governor Nixon to call up the National Guard and fortify the beleaguered Ferguson police contingent. If he didn’t have sufficient resources and manpower, he had ample time to request federal assistance.
There could not possibly have been doubt that the riots that would follow a decision not to indict would eclipse the riots that the barbarian marauders visited on Ferguson in the aftermath of the shooting of Michael Brown. Had Governor Nixon requested federal assistance and been rejected, the scandal would have eclipsed any of the recent Obama calamities.
But, instead of being adequately prepared for the invasion or asking for help, the Governor left his law enforcement forces weak and outnumbered. An outrage. Worse, it seems that a decision was made to keep those too few National Guard troops on scene away from the violence, like some worthless parent consigned to watching their teenager rampage through their home, hoping they would calm down. Consequently, viewers like me were left watching burning stores and buildings in Ferguson. Someone has to answer for this.
The guilty parties here are, undoubtedly, the rioters. They should have been arrested, prosecuted and sent to prison for lengthy sentences. I never write that sentence lightly, having myself served in prison. But violent offenders deserve one of only two fates: imprisonment or death. There are no excuses for these monsters and they should pay a steep price.
But, we don’t get to demand accountability from savage hellions. That’s why we have a government and law enforcement.
The first job of our public servants is to protect us. That protection is not just for wealthy white citizens, but should be for all citizens. That includes African Americans living in Ferguson, who should not be subjected to the torching of their town and their dreams because government officials are too afraid to use the force they are elected to use to put down violence and riots.
Governor Nixon is one of the weakest elected officials in recent memory. His overriding concern to be politically correct and his nauseating obeisance to the thug culture that produces the despicable riots of Ferguson should disqualify him from serving in the highest position in his state, or in any position in any state.
Nixon should resign.