What is Tyranny?

Police deploy tear gas to impose first night of curfew in Ferguson

When does keeping the peace become tyranny? It seems to me that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon may be crossing that line. Sending troops to quell rioters is a drastic move, and that’s what he is doing. Isn’t that what George III did back in the 1770s?

Wasn’t the American Revolution an occasion for looting and vandalism? You bet it was!

What makes that event a magnificent blow for freedom and the Ferguson riots a display of lawlessness?

Could it have anything to do with the fact that the rioters in the 1770s were white and those in Ferguson are black?

Am I supporting the ugliness in Ferguson? No, I am not. I deplore the use of violence and I hope with all my heart that reason will prevail and that calm will be restored.

But do I understand why black American protesters might get out of hand? What reasonable person wouldn’t?

How many roads must a man walk down before they call him a man?

To an outside observer – and after 35 years in America I am still an outside observer –  the way Americans of color have been treated over so many years is astounding. Denied equal status both socially and economically, deprived of the vote, shunned by employers, quarantined by “white flight,” and gunned down with abandon at the slightest pretext …

How long would you put up with that kind of treatment?

I don’t know whether Michael Brown was a thug, as the Ferguson police are making him out to be. But that would not excuse the wanton way in which his life was snuffed out.

And I don’t think that’s the real reason for the fury in Ferguson.

It goes deeper than that.

It is the mestasis of a deadly cancer that has been festering for generations.

When there was looting and rioting in Egypt, Americans hailed it as the Arab Spring. When Assad turned his troops on protesters in Syria, Americans shrieked in outrage, and the President threatened to send in the drones.

Is it time to take the log out of our own eye?

Click for the situation in Ferguson.

Click for looting in the Revolutionary War.