Ferguson

The events in Ferguson are at once pretty simple and complex. Simple: white cop kills an unarmed black man. The complexity resides in a list of questions:

Why is the town’s police force basically all-white in a town which is 66% black. How does that happen?

Are there any black Ferguson politicians in positions of power? If not, why not?

What is the economical state of Ferguson? How does Ferguson fit in socio-economically with the rest of St. Louis County?

How does the murder of an unarmed black man by the police fit in with similar events around the great U.S. of A.?

The ACLU article Ferguson Is Everytown USA looks at six black men shot and killed by the police since April. “The stories of these six people make one thing painfully clear: The killing of black men in incidents that begin as investigatory police stops are anything but unusual in America. In this sense, Ferguson is Everytown, U.S.A.

There is a reason for this. More than 240 years of slavery and 90 years of legal segregation in this country have created a legacy of racialized policing. Killings and beatings lie at one end of a spectrum in which black people ­– and young black men in particular – are routinely stigmatized, humiliated, and harassed as targets for police stops, frisks, and searches, even when they are doing nothing ”

Why do pictures and videos of armed police on the ground in Ferguson resemble pictures from the Israeli attack on Gaza, or as some would have it, Israel’s defensive actions? Is the military equipment used in both places issued by the Pentagon?

Note the complex play between the local police and the State police as well as reports that at least some of the vandalism and more violent actions in Ferguson are being committed by ‘outsiders’ and drunk teens.

Who is in charge among the authorities? If the State police are in charge, why are the local police still on the street?

How many autopsies will the deceased suffer through? So far two and another one to be done. A private autopsy showed that Brown was shot at least 6 times. Did the policeman have to shoot so many times because he is such a bad shot? Did he have to shoot a man just because he was a suspect in a crime? Do we not charge people with crimes and let the justice system decide on guilt in this country? Did the policeman even know Brown was supposedly seen on a camera in the store during the robbery?

So many questions, so few answers. But the worst is that we can only assume that such violence will continue as nothing has ever stopped it up to the present. As such acts of violence on the side of the authorities seldom result in anyone being held accountable, we can only assume these acts will continue.

The militarization by the Pentagon of local authorities will not contribute to racial justice and well being.