When I was little, my mother always used to tell me, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.” That’s how I feel about the events that recently took place in Ferguson, Missouri.
You may have heard that there was a bit of unrest in Ferguson last month. If you haven’t heard, on Saturday, August 9, a Ferguson police officer shot and killed 18 year old Michael Brown. On August 10, police revealed that Brown had been unarmed at the time he was killed, but alleged that Brown had assaulted the officer and attempted to take his firearm prior to the shooting. Other witnesses related a different version of events, and said that Brown’s hands were up in surrender when he was shot. Later that night, a vigil in Brown’s honor turned violent, with protestors looting and burning buildings. Unrest and allegations of systemic racism have fomented since.
What followed the shooting was wrong heaped upon wrong. Violent protests, and looting and burning the buildings of innocent storeowners was wrong, and a terrible way to draw sympathy for the protestors’ cause. The failure of the authorities to release information about the shooting, especially in light of the already heightened tensions, probably didn’t help either.
And perhaps most troubling was the presence of heavily armed police who brought dangerous less-than-lethal munitions – things like pepperballs, LRADs, tear gas and rubber bullets – to bear against protestors, violent and peaceful alike. The authorities exhibited other misbehaviors, such as detaining journalists from various mainstream media outlets.
All of this was precipitated by a shooting that may or may not prove to have been justified. I find it odd that so many are so quick to condemn the actions of a six-year veteran of the force with no prior disciplinary history, and assert with surety the innocence of the deceased, who had moments before committed a violent robbery.
For now, the only positive aspect of this incident is that it has caused people to take notice of the heavy militarization of our local police forces. The midnight no-knock drug raids for baggies of pot weren’t enough to raise the public’s ire, but apparently, the suppression of rioters got us there. Go figure.
It’ll be interesting to watch events unfold in the coming months. Until next month,
Dave Fournier, Jr.
Published in the September 2014 Edition of American Recycler NewsAdd a comment