Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: What Is Your Reaction To Recent Events In Ferguson Missouri?
The Razor : I think Michael Brown may have had some kind of altercation with the police. I think the police overreacted due to inexperience and lack of professionalism. St. Louis county is riddled with municipalities with their own police forces and few compare in terms of professionalism and quality to the larger St. Louis County, St. Louis City or Missouri State Trooper forces. Municipality cops might know how to hand out a speeding ticket, but that’s about it.
American police forces have become militarized in ways that were predicted in dystopian science fiction movies of the 1970s and 1980s yet at the same time American society has grown less violent and the need for such militarization is disappearing.. Seeing the weaponry on display in Ferguson I have to ask why one needs fully automatic high caliber weapons in an urban setting? Do they plan on killing the target as well as 8 or 9 people behind him? Such weapons may make sense when facing the Taliban across a valley in Afghanistan, less so when facing unarmed Americans across a suburban street.
To be brutally honest the rioting and other reaction on display in Ferguson doesn’t concern me. Nothing much ever comes of that. What really disturbs me is the militarized police on display there and the “heavy footprint” the law leaves on society. In his piece in Time Sen. Rand Paul quoted a former member of the 82nd Airborne who said “We rolled lighter than that in an actual warzone.” In two generations we have gone from outgunned cops in inner city warzones to cops who view society as a warzone and act accordingly. We need to pull them back and re-engage them in their mission to watch over the people, not watch the people.
The Noisy Room :There have been and always will be riots and unrest. In a Progressive area such as Ferguson, with the entitlement mentality, poverty and want brought on by Democratic/Marxist policies, I am not surprised that these events happen. It’s disturbing to me that the media paints Michael Brown as some innocent teen who was executed by the state — a la Trayvon Martin, as the Rev. Jesse Jackson (race hustler extraordinaire), puts it. Brown was a very big boy and by all accounts he had just finished robbing a QuikTrip store. He towered over the clerk there and in a video, it showed him lifting and shaking the poor man before shoving him away after robbing the store. We can thank our lucky stars he wasn’t armed, or that clerk would probably be dead and maybe the cops would be too. We don’t have all the details yet and I don’t know if the cops did what they had to do to protect themselves. I suspect they did — a gun is not the only weapon to fear and like I said, Brown was a big, big guy with a bad attitude. The media can call him a teenager – at 18, he looked more like a truck and certainly had the stature of a man.
I do know that Obama, Holder and the DOJ are attempting to cover up evidence and manipulate the whole affair into race riots. They have lots of help from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, as well as the New Black Panthers and the lapdog media. These people truly want violence in the streets so they can further their agendas. A curfew has now been called due to violence and we are one small step from martial law being declared. I can see Obama rubbing his hands in gleeful anticipation of such an event.
However, my attention is riveted on the militarization of the police.
As awful as the shootings and the senseless waste of life is, the underlying story lies with the police force itself in my eyes. Business Insider has a great piece up on the militarization of the Ferguson police force and it is sobering and frightening.
This is the evil gift of Obama’s governmental control fetish. He has facilitated police forces whose attire is fashioned after the US Marine Corps MARPAT camouflage pattern. If there were not police force patches on the arms, you would swear the US military was descending. These departments have been armed just like the military in preparedness for standing against regular American citizens. Now, I understand calling out all you’ve got to stop riots, but this is ridiculous and deadly.
In fact, these officers are more geared up than the military forces on the ground in various combat arenas. MRAPs and Bearcats — armored vehicles that can withstand IEDs and severe attacks from insurgents hardly seem everyday fare for taking on American unrest. Why are we arming more heavily to confront our own than enemies in war? Please tell me, because I sincerely want to know. There is no good reason, except to control and intimidate the American people. Officers are brandishing short-barreled 5.56-mm rifles based on the military M4 carbine, with scopes that can accurately hit a target out to 500 meters. On their side they carry pistols. On their front, over their body armor, they carry at least four to six extra magazines, loaded with 30 rounds each. And these guys have attitude to match. “Bring it. You f*cking animals, bring it,” one police officer was caught on video telling protesters.
Not very professional conduct on the officer’s part and not how I choose to remember the men in blue who I have looked up to my whole life. I’m not sure when all of this morphed into the police turning into Obama’s new army. ‘Protect and serve’ has now become ‘us vs. them.’ Ferguson is not a war zone, at least not yet. Americans are supposed to have Constitutional rights and be innocent till proven guilty. This is not martial law. Not yet anyway.
So, now we have the FAA suspending flights over the area because they claim someone is firing at helicopters. How very convenient. The police are threatening reporters as well and protests are supposedly banned. It feels like I woke up in Moscow this morning – maybe I should check my passport. Papers please.
America better wake up and put a stop to this crap. Some day, and soon, this will come to a place near each of us. Every teeny tiny burg out there now is armed as if they are fighting ISIS in each of their neighborhoods. No doubt there are those just itching to use said force. The militarized police just rolled into Ferguson… next stop, your town USA.
GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD :If Ferguson Police Depts precepts are kinda unclear, maybe it’s why cause proponents don’t feel obligated or obliged to explain it to the media or community activists—cops just arrest them instead.
Who knew the 53-officer police force in Ferguson, Mo., even had all that military equipment and SWAT gear? Why do they have it?
The military is trained to engage and law enforcement is trained to defuse, nicht wahr?
Militarized Po Po deployments have increasingly come under scrutiny when, oh, you know, scrutinizable stuff like violating the 4th amendment or storming pot dealers houses in the middle of the night, shooting pet dogs and cats and terrorizing chirrunses and spouses with automatic weapons—sometimes at the wrong addresses—or like when they’ve ponderously established perimeters around active crime scenes while victims were still being shot in homes or schools.
In response to civic unrest after last week’s police killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown, those coppers turned out in force, in all their riot gear and SWAT splendor, while the brass stonewalled the community and street cops arrested journalists.
The Department of Defense provides military-grade weapons and equipment to local law enforcement agencies through the 1033 program, enacted by Congress in 1997 to expand the practice of dispensing extra military gear. Due to the defense industry’s bloated contracts, there is a huge surplus. To date, the Pentagon has donated military equipment worth more than $4 billion to local law enforcement agencies.
And the giving goes on, to police forces in all 50 states in the union.
For a police department like Ferguson’s, the path to becoming a paramilitary force is a short one. After getting fully crunk with free military gear, no big surprise that cops wanna use it. See, the 1033 program’s regs require the police use what they receive within one year.
Police militarization is a growing national threat. If the federal government doesn’t act to stop it, the future of law enforcement everywhere will look a lot like Ferguson.
JoshuaPundit : Trayvon redux. And when the toxicology report comes back, just like Trayvon I’d bet they will find that Michael Brown was high out of his mind on something. No one who’s in his right mind does a strong arm robbery in a convenience store, slaps the clerk around and shoves him into a display case, follows up by walking in the middle of a major street disrupting traffic to attract law enforcement’s attention and then indulges in cop fighting.
Two other points – First, A lot of people on the Left of the spectrum, especially certain black commentators have mentioned a lot about the ‘militarization of the police’ and how terrible it is. None of them will mention that it was President Obama, the man they voted for twice that was primarily responsible for this. It was President Obama who called for that ‘domestic security force., just as well trained, just as well funded, just well armed as our military’ blah blah blah. Remember that? And it was the Obama Administration that opened up the floodgates and who chose to sell local PDs military hardware by the boatload as well as establishing armed SWAT teams for over 70 government departments that never had them before.
It won’t happen, but it would be nice to get a sorry, at least.
Second, I have to admit I find it amusing in a bitter sort of way that some of the same black folks who quiver with emotion over things like Emmett Till and the lynch mobs of the past seem all too ready to become part of a lynch mob now themselves.
The Right Planet: What really floors me about the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, is we really don’t have all the facts, yet so many are acting as if they do. No one is really sure just what happened during the confrontation between the police and Michael Brown, at this point, except for those who were eyewitnesses. But more and more details are leaking out, albeit slowly. The surveillance video showing what appears to be Michael Brown shoving a convenience store owner after stealing items from his store and brazenly walking out certainly has taken the wind out of the main-stream media’s narrative that Michael Brown was just a “gentle giant.”
There’s a logical fallacy called “confirmation bias” (also called myside bias), which is the tendency to favor information that confirms one’s beliefs or hypotheses. But let’s be clear, beliefs and theories are not synonymous with facts. No, I think there are those who only wish to use this tragic event to further their own political and social agendas–namely, all cops are bad, especially white ones. And to see the liberal press so eager to be the judge, jury and executioner of the town of Ferguson and the Ferguson Police Department–going so far as to print a map to the police officer’s home who was involved in the shooting–is beyond disgusting; it’s damn near criminal.
Whatever happened to simply reporting the who, what, why, where, when and how? For so many years now, I have watched the liberal media masquerade social advocacy as de facto journalism. It seems that many in the press and the administration wish to inflame and agitate an already volatile situation, instead of making a sincere effort to try and deescalate tensions by simply reporting on both sides of the story, leaving all the social activism and personal bias out the story. But I’m not holding my breath in the hope that the main-stream press will change their agitating ways anytime soon. As a matter of fact, I believe the whole purpose and mission of the main-stream liberal media is to agitate for radical social change, and then call it “journalism.”
The Glittering Eye :Sadly, the events in Ferguson reflect a series of “shouldn’ts”.
The police shouldn’t mistrust the people they’re supposed to be serving.
The people shouldn’t mistrust the police that are supposed to be serving them.
The police shouldn’t shoot unarmed civilians.
The people shouldn’t engage in violent protests.
The police shouldn’t overreact.
People shouldn’t rob stores under the guise of protest.
And on and on.
Most importantly, people shouldn’t be so quick to draw sweeping conclusions from an incident that is, sadly, all too common and more dependent on local conditions and issues than on any overarching national issue.
Well, there you have it.