John Stossel
Libertarians warned for years that government is force, that government always grows and that America's police have become too much like an occupying army.

We get accused of being paranoid, but we look less paranoid after heavily armed police in Ferguson, Missouri, tear gassed peaceful protesters, arrested journalists and stopped some journalists from entering the town.

One week before the rioting began, Fox News aired my documentary on the militarization of law enforcement, "Policing America."

That show didn't stop some left-wing commentators from making the bizarre claim that libertarians like me have been silent about Ferguson.

I can't force them to read my columns, or Sen. Rand Paul's (R, Ken.) article titled "We Must Demilitarize the Police" or libertarian Rep. Justin Amash's (R, Mich.) condemnation of the police for "escalating" tensions with "military equipment."

Although it was government police and  government-supplied military equipment that provoked the conflict (plus property-rights-violating looters), leftists still found ways to blame libertarians and advocates of private gun ownership.

Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Tom Toles depicted a sarcastic TV viewer watching news from Ferguson and sniping that "I'm sure the NRA has an interesting solution for this" -- as if overzealous police are the fault of people who believe in individuals' right to defend themselves.

Other pro-big-government commentators just questioned the sincerity of libertarians, saying that if we were in power, we would become authoritarians and defend the police.

It's true that once people are in power, they often grow fond of authority and less interested in liberty. But I don't see why this is an argument against libertarians -- who warn about this problem all the time -- instead of an argument against all those who are actually in power and shameless about wielding that power.

But since leftists are so easily confused, and since there's plenty of blame to go around, let's list who's to blame for what:

--The police do not have the right to execute suspects, unless there is no other way of stopping them and they pose an immediate threat to the safety of others.

--Michael Brown, assuming current interpretations of security footage are correct, robbed and bullied a store clerk right before he was killed by police. That may well mean he was violent and dangerous, but even violent people should be brought to trial, not gunned down.


John Stossel

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at >johnstossel.com. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. ©Creators Syndicate