Not much to say except this is completely predictable. Small-time police department given the armaments of an invading army (literally) and firm in the belief that all crime is fungible and all criminals are supervillains. Throw in the racial element of a town in the South with a history of disproportionate police action against racial minorities and you have all the elements needed for Birmingham fifty years later…with the caveat that the cops in Birmingham had dogs, firehoses, and revolvers. Not fully automatic assault rifles with six clips each, armored vehicles, countersnipers and tear gas.
Which is fucking absurd. Their “sniper” was sitting on top of the armored vehicle with his SR-25 on a bipod, exposed to everyone in a position that in a real war zone would get him greased in about ten seconds. That was a guy who was absolutely positive he wasn’t going to be shot at…which means he had no business being up there to begin with. Countless Tweets from people who service in Iraq have pointed out that the Ferguson cops are carrying far more ammo – and actually pointing their guns FAR more – than they ever did in-country, and one in particular noted that American troops put down riots outside mosques with less loadout than the Ferguson PD feels obliged to carry.
It’s out of hand. And really, there’s no way to easily sort it out. Ideally, you’d put the entirety of local law-enforcement on the sidelines and bring in cops from somewhere else where the police aren’t merely the best-armed gang and the rednecks who want to need the guns don’t have badges. And then the community activists would do a bang-up job of isolating the guys who just want to throw Molotovs and stir the shit (I guarantee you there are some of the usual Free Mumia-International ANSWER-Black Bloc-type douchetards out there making things worse). If you could remove the untrustworthy police from the situation and launch a loudly public external investigation, you might persuade people that this is not going to be swept under the rug and justice will be served. But then, if ifs and buts were bros and sluts we’d all have been laid on prom night, and right now not a mumbling word is being said about ann investigation. Hell, nobody knows where the shooter cop is, he’s not in custody, and there are rednecks marching for HIM in St Louis even after autopsy results suggest that he capped an unarmed man on his knees.
And that’s really the thing, isn’t it? The Ferguson police are out spreading the meme that the kid was a criminal, that he had just robbed a gas station or something, despite admitting that the cop would have no knowledge of that at the time of the incident. And even if it’s completely true – we’re doing “shot six times without trial” as an appropriate response to an unarmed theft now? It’s like I said earlier: in the minds of certain people, all crime is fungible and every criminal is a terrorist and all terrorists are Magneto. And more than one person is pointing out how a bunch of old white people pointed military weapons at the ATF for two weeks at the Bundy Ranch without consequence, and the point should not be lost on anyone. Those old crackers weren’t criminals, after all, they weren’t dark enough for that.
Ironically, we have just found the perfect use for Google Glass. Real time video of everything a cop does from the moment they step out of the car, both policeman and subject, with real-time data updates in the corner of your eye too. Horses for courses, and law enforcement is the ideal spot for it. And we already have documented evidence that the camera makes a huge difference: cops play by the rules and citizens know that tape is running on them too. Instant surveillance at the time it’s needed: maybe that’s the fix. Because the cops are loaded for bear in Ferguson but they’re still trying to shut down the media – which is all the proof you need that in 2014, the iPhone is mightier than the sword.