Police brutality has been around since the dawn of human civilization, and is far too often a common occurrence in marginalized areas of society. What’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri, however, goes well beyond “police brutality” to a new realm resembling a military occupation. Armed to the teeth, using terror as a tactic, assaulting and arresting the media, overreacting to provocation; these are the actions of a force not bent on restoring order, but on intimidating and expunging anyone who dares question their authority.
The riots, following the shooting of an unarmed black man by police, are a lamentable but understandable reaction to yet another attack on a civilian by a law enforcement department that does not feel it is accountable to anyone. These types of incidents are becoming more and more common, as very little is done to bring the perpetrators to justice. Police departments and their enablers in the justice system consistently turn a blind eye to police who commit crimes, encouraging an environment of lawlessness and overreach among others.
The question that has to be asked about the situation in Ferguson and similar incidents is this: What is the mindset of the police involved? Do they believe they are there to stop lawlessness and illegal activity or do they see themselves as society’s tool for keeping order at any cost? Harassing and arresting reporters definitely falls into the latter category.
The footage of the riots in Ferguson look more like a scene from some third world country where the military is routinely sent in to quell disturbances, more often than not with bloody force. Is this America’s future we’re watching? It seems to me we dangerously close to crossing the line between enforcing the law and the active suppression of Constitutionally guaranteed civil rights.