August 18, 2014

Why A Curfew In Ferguson Is The Wrong Choice

By In Blogs, R Campbell Sproul

Governor Jay Nixon has instituted a state of emergency in Ferguson, Missouri, and enacted a curfew between the hours of 12 and 5 am. This is completely unacceptable, and a furthering of the brutality which we have already seen since Mike Brown was killed last week. Recognizing that there has been looting, rioting and vandalism, these crimes are specific to those that have committed them, and if the state wants to punish them, they should not punish others as well. Not only this, but they have no right to constrain persons to specific locations without first getting a conviction.

If Governor Nixon is intent on punishing the looters, the vandals, and the rioters, so be it, but only through the appropriate means of due process of law. Innocence until proof of guilt is still a fundamental right, and that doesn’t change just because Governor Nixon and his subordinates have woefully and abusively mishandled this situation from the beginning. The rights of the people in Ferguson (both those who have committed crimes during the protests and those who have not) don’t cease to be because it’s a certain time of the day, nor because the situation is difficult for the state to handle. In the entire course of human ethics, ends have never been a justification for means, and that hasn’t changed over the course of this week.

Morality is not about producing the “best” result, it’s about doing the right thing. Using and initiating unlawful force isn’t okay in the interest in preventing other unlawful force, and that doesn’t change because the governor of some state signed a slip of paper. Enforcing a curfew under threat of violence, kidnapping, or fine is a claim to own the persons placed under the curfew, which the state has no right to. Just like any person anywhere else, the people in Ferguson have a right to their own persons and property, and have a right before the state to dispose of these things however they wish, at whatever hour they wish to. If Governor Nixon is interested in resolving the mess which his administration has both caused and made worse through their brutality, he’s welcome to do so, but not through further aggression.

Written by R. Campbell Sproul

R Campbell Sproul is a graduate of Reformation Bible College, with a B.A. in Theological Studies. He lives in Orlando, FL with his wife, Hannah. You can read his blog at and you should follow him on Twitter @RCampbellSproul
  • Patrick T. McWilliams

    Why am I starting to get the feeling that they’re actually trying to provoke a violent uprising?

    • Brian K. Jacobson

      I feel like I have been starting a lot of my sentences lately with “I’m not a conspiracy theorists but….” That being said Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and his band have been known snitches for the FBI and other federal police forces for years. These “New Black Panther” folks I would almost guarantee are sent or payed to be provocateurs to encourage violence among protesters. Conveniently for the state this helps to paint this to be about race issues not the inappropriate use of force by a police state. Its a good ol’ wave of the hand magic trick. With the heavy federal police presence now there I would not be surprised at all if (just as we do in other countries) certain agencies are paying people to throw bottles, Molotov (that never work incidentally), and other things. And don’t be fooled that because they sent in the State troopers who didn’t wear body armor that suddenly they have demilitarized the forces there. As soon they got some positive press for that they went right back to the MRAP trucks, rubber bullets, and tear gas.

  • Brian K. Jacobson

    It is a total sham to say that any of police response is because of looting. Complete BS! I live in the St. Louis area and work about 10 minutes from where this is happening. I work with several people who live there and have been in the crowds protesting. The police have done literally nothing about the looting. People have videos of cops standing in their ranks watching people break into to stores. The police have told people on camera and in print that they don’t think it is their job right now to protect property rights. There are a few select larger business that do get protection from them but that is it. Police could have easily stopped the looting any of these nights but frankly they could not care less. They are there to escalate the tension and incite aggression for their own vindication, so that we can confirm that police are good people are bad and we need more protection and more budget increases.