When a police officer has taken a life, that life can never be restored. Funeral services, candlelight vigils, peaceful marches, heaps of flowers and teddy bears will not restore the life that was taken. Neither will violent protests, looting and burning, spitting and throwing bricks at law enforcement officers, harassing firefighters, beating store owners trying to protect their property.
Even when justice has been rendered fully and properly, the pain and suffering of those left behind cannot be relieved because justice alone is not enough. Once the officer has been tried according to the demands of the law, there is nothing more that can be done legally to heal the wounded and hollowed-out hearts of the victim’s loved-ones. Anger and hatred most assuredly will not do because wounding and hurting others – especially those otherwise innocent parties who are condemned for who they are or what they’ve done or failed to do -- will not bring relief to the devastated loved-ones.
The harsh reality is that justice is an icy virtue. Once it has been rendered, once the guilty party has been punished, there is no further obligation to address the wrong that was committed. What is needed is empathy and forgiveness. Forgiveness for the perpetrator from the loved-ones who still are burdened with suffering, and empathy from good people who are willing to personally take on some of that burden. “A burden shared is a burden made lighter.”
Even so, it’s not justice the rampaging protestors seek. It’s control. Control to destroy the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the rights and duties enumerated in the Constitution. Control to construct a new social order. Most fundamentally to replace individual freedom and limited government with machine-like compliance and oppressive government.
Hooded, black-clad agents of violent political change affirm their true intentions by inciting protestors to pull down the statues and deface the monuments that honor our founding fathers. They burn the flag because they know that it symbolizes the God-given right to live as free and self-governing human beings. Those provocateurs justify the need for a new social order by arguing that the entire system is corrupt and must be brought down. They use guilt by association to intimidate their adversaries into silence. They assert that all whites are guilty of systematically using their identity as a superior racial class to oppress blacks. They replace “In God We Trust” with “Take a Knee.” They have learned one powerful and effective lesson from tyrannical regimes: a silent citizen is a compliant citizen.
In the new social order, silence is enforced by removing the limits on government and imposing them on freedom of expression, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom to petition government, the right to bear arms, the right to confront one’s accuser, the sovereignty of the 50 states in a federated system, freedom of economic initiative, the right to enroll your children in a school of your choice. In exchange they promise free health care, free college education and cancellation of student loans, guaranteed annual income, criminal justice reform, open borders, reparations, recreational marijuana, no cops, no wall, no combustion engines, no taxes except for the super-wealthy one-percenters.
Limits on First Amendment freedoms need not be brutally imposed by secret agents of an oppressive government. Tik Tok, a Chinese owned video-sharing social networking service, called on its fans to register for free tickets to the President Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa Sunday night and not show up. The NY Times described it as a prank. It was no prank. Tik Tok limited the First Amendment freedom to assembly of thousands of the president’s supporters by effectively denying them access to those empty seats.
These agents of change represent an existential threat to One Nation, Under God. It is a grave mistake to allow them to vent their anger on the streets because it is not anger that drives their protests. It is hatred. They hate anyone who stands in their way. Anyone who objects to their ideology that power comes not from the consent of the governed but from the barrel of a gun. They shame a beloved professional athlete into taking a knee who for years proudly saluted the flag of his WWII veteran grandfathers and stood straight and tall for the National Anthem. They even despise those too weak to defend themselves such as the elderly lady who was ruthlessly punched in the face and knocked down by a thug passing by on a sidewalk in New York city.
At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in 1787 in Philadelphia Ben Franklin was asked what the delegates had accomplished. He replied “a republic, if you can keep it.”
The question for America today and in the weeks and months ahead is: Will we keep the republic along with the freedom and imperfect equality handed to us by the Convention delegates or turn away from it in the direction of the reign of terror of the French Revolution?
Edward J. O’Boyle is a Senior Research Associate with Mayo Research Institute. He has offices in West Monroe, Lake Charles and New Orleans. He can be reached at 381-4002 or email@example.com.