A year after the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, a protest rally turned violent with a drive-by shooting and police exchanging gunfire with a man at the protest.
The initial protests of Brown's shooting by a police officer a year ago had dissolved into violent confrontations and massive arson and looting. A year later, protests are back in Ferguson, long after a state grand jury and the U.S. Justice Department found no grounds for bringing charges against the police officer who killed Brown.
This week's protests show a lack of confidence in democratic institutions — duly elected or appointed law enforcement and judicial officers — and an unwillingness to accept the conclusions of legally structured agencies. Protesters cling to unreliable and rejected narratives of the shooting of Brown, and they insist on ... something different.
What is it that the protesters hope to achieve? State and federal law enforcement officials have investigated and reached their conclusions. The case is closed. No amount of marching in the street, punctuated by gunfire and violence, will change the Justice Department's carefully reached decision or the grand jury's decision against an indictment.
The insistence upon street protests rather than acceptance of legally reached conclusions begins to look like anarchy. It is the anarchists' credo that government structures cannot be trusted and that no government is better than a government they oppose. Anarchy, however, is chaotic and dangerous. If everyone's opinion is as good as or better than the collective wisdom of democratically elected and appointed government officials, there can be no acceptance of governmental authority.
The rallying cry of "No justice, no peace" is true in this context: In anarchy, there is no peace.