There are different types of mobs but they all have something in common. One type, for example, might consist of Wisconsin government employees screaming at the top of their lungs as they take over a public building to protest a cut in their benefits.
Another type might burn down a portion of Ferguson, Missouri while yelling “Hands up, don’t shoot!” which they mistakenly believe — or pretend to believe — accurately portrays Michael Brown’s last plea before he was fatally shot by the police officer whose gun Brown was trying to grab.
And another type of mob might consist of hysterical activists, some paid and some volunteer, who corner a United States senator in a hallway, an elevator or a restaurant and scream right into his face, almost threatening physical violence.
How do you fight such mobs? There is only one way, and it is not by merely attempting to reason with them. Reason, logic and civil discourse have very little effect on the mentality of a mob. Rather, mobs must be confronted by the power of law, which should result in swift prosecution and meaningful punishment.
Obviously, this takes strength, confidence and determination on the part of those charged with the duty of upholding the law. In other words, the law is both meaningless and impotent if there is no will to enforce it, which is a dangerous thing indeed.
In fact, it is infinitely more dangerous to render law meaningless than it is to physically confront a mob.
True, physically confronting a mob and arresting its members might result in some violence, especially if the mob is determined to resist arrest. But allowing the mob to triumph over the law will result in much greater violence at a later time.
Mobs can sense when they have the upper hand. They can smell fear or hesitation on the part of politicians and law enforcement officials. When these entities “stand down” and allow the mob to rule you can bet that true violence and mayhem — but on a grand scale — will be the eventual result.
It’s very much the same way in a class of first graders. If two children out of a class of thirty are out of control they must be brought back into compliance immediately. If the law in that classroom, personified and administered by the teacher, allows two students to run wild you can bet that three more students will join them shortly.
And although the majority of the class will not be running wild, by then it will be too late. It will not be a real classroom any longer. With as few as five children out of thirty running amok the classroom will not be a place of learning.
Instead, it will become a jungle; a place with no law, no order and no rules. In that place, the strong will simply dominate and take charge of the weak, shouting orders and doing whatever they please.
We cannot allow our public spaces to be taken over by screaming children or mobs. That will result in the total breakdown of law and rules. Our public officials must have the strength, confidence and determination to use the power of law to restore public order.
And if our officials don’t want to discharge this duty we must fire or punish them and get new ones. We cannot afford mob rule, nor do we have to, because the vast majority of our law enforcement personnel still have the backbone required to enforce law. But they cannot be led by weaklings. The weaklings must be ferreted out.
If the current mutiny against law is not quelled or our entire society will start to unravel. Try turning on a water faucet or an electric light switch then. Watch, as nothing happens. No water and no electricity. Why? Because complex institutions like electric grids and water systems cannot function without law.
Living without law — that’s real terror. Confronting a mob? By comparison, that’s child’s play.
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