Civil unrest and enemies of the state

The first time I heard of the Ferguson, Missouri police shooting of a young black man came from an acquaintance’s comment: “Police shot an unarmed teenager who was simply walking in the street.” Initially, I was skeptical, but because of so many similar reports in recent years I was not surprised. And Associated Press reporters wrote, “Brown, who was unarmed was shot to death Aug. 9 in the street.” Was this true? What was it all about? As the days passed more, but sketchy, information came out—and protests intensified.

Ten days later when I wrote this, “defiant protesters” still marched in the streets of Ferguson at night. People looted businesses, vandalized property and caused other “heightened racial tensions between the predominately black community and mostly white Ferguson Police Department,” wrote the AP guys.

After “an escalated police reaction” with military gear, assault weapons, armored vehicles and tear gas Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state-of-emergency and a curfew in Ferguson. Then, the Missouri State Highway Patrol took charge. Their spokesman, a black captain, met with members of the dead man’s family, expressed “shame” about the experience and spoke at a church “rally.” Cpt. Ron Johnson told the rally crowd to thank the Browns for their son because “Michael’s going to make it better for our sons to be better black men”—whatever that means.

But I suspect that Michael is a poster-boy for dysfunctional black families; or lack thereof, and almost a model of the disastrous results. Yet, black “leaders” show up to excuse bad behavior and poor choices made by young people with little or no parental guidance, support and discipline. Even Cpt. Johnson publicly admitted that his own son “wears his pants sagging…wears his hat cocked to the side, got tattoos on his arms….”

Of course, the race-reverends, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, also showed up to fuel tensions and hustle money. Sharpton, in his usual unhelpful way, said he expects that the police will “smear the slain teenager, his family and his attorneys”—we can be sure a lot of opportunists will be circling over the Ferguson carcass. Even Obama’s attorney general flies over. Eric Holder “ordered a federal medical examiner to perform another autopsy” on Michael’s body. In addition, Justice Department (40 FBI) agents will be swarming around and have “deepened the civil rights investigation.”

Naturally, the local police will try to protect their own people from these powerful federal forces, but they must be accountable for their actions. Personally, I think the facts will come out and justice will be done without all the scrutiny from the Feds, the Righteous Reverends and other outside agitators that seem to be drawn to these events like flies to a dung pile.
As far as I can see, only one good thing could come of this latest civil unrest. If it happens, ironically, we may have to give some credit to Al Sharpton. He “wants Congress to stop programs that provide military-style weaponry to police departments.” Amen.

Our local police—and non-military federal agencies—should not be allowed to militarize their operations. Government agents should always respect—even fear—the power of the people in this republic, but we should never have to fear their threats or attacks on us as presumed enemies of the state.

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About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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