Thursday, August 14, 2014

"A police officer keeps watch over demonstrators."

The situation in Ferguson, Missouri is disgusting on multiple levels. The racism, both latent and open, is sad. The inequities that lead to a city that is 64% black to have a police force that is 6% black is the result of years of policy mistakes and poor management, leading to obvious public distrust in those supposed to protect them, and leading those supposed protectors to see their citizens as dangerous "others" rather than members of their own community. But the one public policy disaster that has become crystallized on our computers as we watch this crisis take place is the descent of local police forces into paramilitary organizations.

The use of military tactics and high-grade weaponry to keep the citizenry "in line" has no place in a democratic nation. This is the stuff of a military dictatorship, which the citizenry of Ferguson, Mo. does not have the capacity to overthrow. 

Imagery, and how it is reported, is important. From USA Today's website:

The caption, as the title of this post notes, reads ""A police officer keeps watch over demonstrators."

Is that what you see there? A "police officer?" "Keeping Watch?" Here's a better headline. "Untrained paramilitary soldier aims his assault rifle at black people standing in the street."

Photo from : "Alderman Antonio French arrested in Ferguson"