By Claire Wolfe, August 16th 2014A week ago, most likely you'd never heard of Ferguson, Missouri. Now, you're probably sick of hearing about the aftermath of policeman Darren Wilson's killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown -- events that made Ferguson the center of the media world.
JPFO writer contributor, © 2014.
You may believe that Brown was an innocent, unarmed kid headed for college or that he was the formidably vicious strong-arm robber shown in surveillance videos. You may believe Brown was on his knees, arms raised in surrender and supplication when Wilson executed him. You may believe that Wilson fired in self defense as Brown lunged for the officer's gun. You may believe the shooting was an act of fatal racism or the justified elimination of a garden-variety criminal whose race was irrelevant.
Only one thing is certain and now obvious to nearly everybody now: Policing in the U.S. has gone completely wrong.
Small-town occupying armies
Ferguson and St. Louis County police teamed up to turn a tense aftermath into a disaster. They tear-gassed and shot rubber bullets at non-violent protestors. They arrested reporters for the non-crime of taking video.
They strong-armed innocent people more thuggishly than the robber of that Ferguson convenience store ever did.
They acted in ways George Orwell warned about, informing protestors that "Your right to assembly is not being denied" -- even as they denied it.
But the far bigger (and related) problem was the one nearly everybody else in the media finally noticed after two decades of trying to ignore it: the extreme militarization of even small-town police departments and the attitude that the general public is the enemy.
Small Missouri police forces -- who reportedly "couldn't afford" cameras on their uniforms and couldn't get around to installing dashcams on their patrol cars so we could see what actually happened on that fatal Saturday night -- confronted peaceful protestors from atop military vehicles, outfitted in gear familiar from Iraq and Afghanistan.
They threatened harmless people with the type of weapons that would give Dianne Feinstein knots in her knickers if you or I owned them. They acted not like officers trying to protect and serve their community, but like an occupying army facing its enemy.
Read the rest here.