Paul Jacob

I am still not very confident about what really happened regarding the shooting of Mr. Brown on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.

For all I know, the events went down somewhat along the lines as the police say. But Ferguson’s police department has been so incompetent about investigating, collating and releasing information that might make their public stance easier, one has to wonder about everything they say.

How the police handled the protests and journalists — and looters — was even worse.

Indeed, cracking down on peaceful protests, harassing and locking up journalists, while letting looters run wild, shows a remarkable set of skewed priorities.

Could it be that police lack incentives to do the jobs that most need doing?

Some temptations must be resisted. We all know that. For example, it would be easy to get caught debating the subject of race, since it is obvious that black and white populations inside Ferguson (as well as outside the suburb) react so differently to the basic Ferguson story. But, though the proverbial “frank and honest discussion about race” might be good to have (if almost impossible to conduct, given the touchiness of the subject), what America really needs is a frank and honest discussion about incompetence.

Government incompetence.

We are all aware of government inefficiency, at some level. But how widespread it usually is too often gets missed.

Some of this blindness is the result of partisan commitments.

Conservatives tend to like their local governments (at least the police force); liberals tend to cheerlead for the federal government (at least when Republicans aren’t in charge).

Bill O’Reilly, Fox News’s most popular social conservative TV journalist and commentator, flew into a rage this week over the calumnies that he felt were being directed towards the “police community.” Meanwhile, President Obama sent Attorney General Eric Holder to save the day, though there was scant reason for federal action. It appears the typical left-approved “solution”: make it a federal case, since the federal government is good, local government, bad.

Sending in the feds, of course, was premature. And pointless. No local investigatory malfeasance had emerged. The local review processes had barely begun. Even assuming Holder to be competent on this issue (I see no evidence that he is; his mind seems made up in advance of his investigation), there is simply no call for his presence. Except from “the left.”

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.