Could a Fergeson, Missouri-like event happen here? Only in America, could the people display non-violent civic disobedience ten days after another police shooting incident. The killing’ of another unarmed Black teenager, Michael Brown, in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, is worth analysis because of the paramilitary mindset, social class racism and the economic deprivation extant in this nation today. Their most recent mantra is “MY HANDS ARE UP; DON’T SHOOT’.
This incident ignited a public outcry elicited by this killing and the paramilitary military responses. Police wearing camoflaged uniforms & riot headgear, attempted crowd control by using blast bombs and tear gas. Armored vehicles and snipers having high powered rifles were deployed. The local police displayed its paramilitary tactics and equipment supplied by Department of Homeland Security coordinaed with the Department of Defense. This may indicate the level of influence which the ‘military-industrial complex’ has in our nation. The Pentagon has its allies in the U.S. Congress who insist on development of weapon systems which are not needed yet, while neglecting the needs of the people. When will we learn that in today’s global universe, America needs to assert the superiority of its concepts of governance which take care of people with consideration, dignity, respect, religious and cultural sensitivity. Armed might and wars do not solve the problems of this nation and the world. Rather, armed might suppresses the dialogues necessary to finding the resolution to the challenges being faced. The military tactics used were totally inappropriate annytime and anyplace in any American community.
Later it was determined that the local police contained only 3 African American officers. This in a community which is 80% Black-20% White. Those police had to be scared out of their minds when that community reacted with a peaceful demonstration. Some bottles thrown by fringe dissidents allegedly turned that non-violent dissent expression into one of violence. Since many of those ‘white police’ were not residents of Fergeson, they were not well informed about high levels of anger and resentment resulting from repression and unemployment.
The community, composed of both Black and Whites, was displaying their right to ‘peaceably assemble’ and their ‘Freedom of Speech’. Both are American ideals. Authorities need to read the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment to remind themselves that this is a government ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people’.
During the chaos, a fringe group began to vandalize, loot and pillage local retail stores. Local citizens formed human barriers to control this. A state of emergency was declared by the Governor who had the Missouri State Police take over and deployed a local National Guard unit. A curfew was imposed and was violated by local enfuriated residents. The FBI and Department of Justice deployed agents to independently determine what had happened and who was involved.
It was totally inappropriate for the Fergeson Police Chief to release surveillance videos and other materials in an attempt to disparage the reputation of Michael Brown. No Police Chief has the right to be judge and jury because of ‘conflict of interest’ and ‘self-serving’ actions taken. Rather, those actions may be more evidence that he had a ‘White is right’ approach which does not meet nor serve the ideals of our U,S. Constitution and its Bill of Rights…nor does it serve that Fergeson commnity.
The family suthorized an autopsy of Michael Brown’s remains. This established that he was shot six times. Two bullets hit his skill; four bullets hit his body.
The next day, the Missouri State Patrol assumed responsibility for Fergeson’s public safety and security. It was then that the name of the officer, Darrin Wilson, was made public by the Police Chief who began to release information disparaging the character of Michael Brown.
Today the Fergeson community is very tense. Its residents, both ‘White’ and ‘Black’ are working collaboratively to re-establish their community’s lawful peace and security which is essential to the American life style and its conduct of commerce.
But let us not overlook the role of the various levels of governance in creating the current cynical attitude of ‘We, The People’. The various governance levels must operate with honesty, integrity and transparency; with the conscious knowledge that there are ‘checks and balances’. The U.S. Congress, as an elected policy making group must perform and fulfil its purpose which is to govern with the objective of doing the greatest good for the greatest number of Americans. As an outcome of its inaction regarding several broken public policy systems, such as income disparity, excessive support of the military-industrial complex, the need for jobs; adjustment of the dynamic equilibrium, a well-funded education system, and a fair justice system. If policy adjustments are not made soon, YES, it could happen here in Silicon Valley.