Last month I wrote a blog
decrying the right-wing anti-government wackos, nihilists, and anarchists who deliberately target police. I got some push back for it because the police can make themselves less sympathetic when they routinely violate the laws they are tasked with upholding and enforcing.
I still stand by that blog from a "violence is a bad solution" viewpoint, but holy cow - recent events are making it very difficult to support the police. I've always been of the mind that when you try to protect the bad apples, you end up spoiling the whole bushel. That goes for political parties, and it goes for police. That thin blue line is going to strangle the whole profession.
The events in Ferguson Missouri are well-documented, so I won't rehash them as if you've been living in a bubble. Suffice to say, by all appearances, a cop murdered an unarmed teen who had his hands up. The cop will undoubtedly say he was (or felt) threatened, but that's hardly the issue. If you feel threatened by an unarmed teen with his hands up, you have no business being a cop.
It's certainly natural for the community to be outraged. The police are supposed to "protect and serve". When they panic and murder a kid, then bring in military hardware to deal with the aftermath, there is no good outcome that will result. The tone deafness is appalling. Charging the officer would be a good start. Allowing the community to vent in a community meeting would defuse the situation. Maintaining an adversarial relationship between the police and an entire community goes against the very nature of why the police are ostensibly there.
It also certainly doesn't help when they show up dressed and armed as if they were taking on the Soviet army. There have been numerous blogs and TV segments about the militarization of the police. The reality is: when your tools are a box of hammers, every problem looks like a nail. Why talk when you can storm in with an overwhelming show of force? That's what the army does because they are entering enemy territory. If you consider the neighborhood that you are supposed to be protecting "enemy territory", then the problem has very deep roots.
The police may say that they need this for protection because the "criminals" are armed to the teeth. That may be true when dealing with - oh, I don't know - the Bundy clan out west, but it certainly isn't the case with bottle-throwing teenagers. I'm trying to remember that bloodbath out west when the National Guard came in to clear out the "patriots" who were threatening federal workers trying to enforce a court order. Oh yeah - they didn't.
The biggest problem with all of this is the uneven application of law enforcement. The previously mentioned self-styled militias were allowed to threaten the police with no retribution, rich white women get no jail time when shoplifting
, but a black teenager who supposedly stole a cigar receives an execution on the streets. It's not just black kids either
When lethal force becomes the go-to for the police, when it becomes routine, when it becomes accepted by the power structure... when victims are demonized to excuse the police officers' actions... then we have lost what it means to be America. We are all guaranteed a fair and honest trial by our own Constitution, and the police that take it upon themselves to be judge, jury, and executioner have no business calling themselves Americans. They have more in common with the terrorists who use violence to strike fear into our psyches.