Three Murders in Las Vegas: Feeding the Beast, Rather than Starving It

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Three human beings were murdered in Las Vegas on Sunday morning. Two of them were officers with the Metro Police Department. Their names have been widely publicized, and their deaths will feature prominently in an elaborate public liturgy of state-focused mourning. The third, whose name has not been disclosed, was described as a “civilian,” which means that his violent death will not be similarly commemorated.

All three of the victims were irreplaceable human beings made in the image of our Creator, and were loved by people who are now incapacitated by sorrow. One of them, Officer Alyn Beck, was distantly related to me by marriage: He was a second cousin to my wife (and strongly resembled one of my brothers-in-law). He leaves behind a wife and three children. The other slain officer, Igor Soldo, was the married father of an infant.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval properly referred to the killings as an “act of senseless violence.” That description applies just as appropriately to scores of incidents in which officers of the Metro PD have killed or mutilated innocent people – and have never been held accountable for those crimes.

Among the victims was Erik Scott, who was gunned down by Metro officers at a Vegas Costco store. All three of the officers involved in what can appropriately be called the murder of Erik Scott were exonerated by a supposedly independent inquest board. In what can only be interpreted as a conscious gesture of contempt toward the public, the Las Vegas Police Protective Agency (PPA) nominated two of the officers who killed Scott, William Mosher and Joshua Stark, for consideration as the 2011 “national officer of the year.” PPA commissar Chris Collins referred to the murder of Erik Scott as one of the “top two heroic events our officers participated in” during 2010.

The assailants who murdered Alyn Beck, Igor Soldo, and a yet-unnamed “civilian” likewise considered their act of aggressive violence to be an “heroic event.” According to eyewitnesses, one of the shooters exclaimed: “Tell the police the revolution has begun.”

No genuine “revolution” can be carried out through aggressive violence, or led by people who mimic the worst behavior of those who act in the name of the murderous fiction called the State. This approach is morally abhorrent and strategically suicidal. The state subsists on aggression: We should be starving the beast, rather than feeding it.

Erik Scott’s father, Bill Scott, spares nothing in his assessment of the officers who murdered his son, and the department that validated that crime. Displaying discernment and forbearance difficult to imagine in the face of his loss, Scott expresses a resilient hope that some decent people can be found in Metro’s employ – and it’s quite likely that this already embattled sub-population has just been reduced by two.

“Here’s the breakdown of the police composition, as described to us by some good cops – most retired, some still active,” Scott explained to me in an interview last year. “About twenty-five percent of Metro cops are what could be characterized as rogue or bad cops. Another 25 percent are simply trying to keep their jobs, their paychecks, and their pensions. Roughly half are conscientious people who became police for the right reasons – but they are frustrated by the system. As one of them told me, `It’s difficult to do the right thing when you’re working for a vindictive tyrant.’ For this reason the good cops don’t step up and confront the bad ones.”

Owing to the murders that took place Sunday morning, the worst tribal impulses of the Metro PD will be reinforced, and the danger to the public will be enhanced. This underscores the practical objections to the use of aggressive violence as a revolutionary tactic. The moral objections should be obvious to anybody equipped with a functioning conscience.

2:08 am on June 9, 2014
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