Monday, August 18, 2014

Who Took the Saint Out of St. Louis?

This past week we have watched from the comfort of our homes the complete and utter destruction between a community and the police that are supposed to protect them.  It's as if we haven't learned anything from all the protests and confrontations from the 60's and 70's.  How can the police force of Ferguson, a suburb to St.Louis that is largely African-American citizens, not learn from the past?  The Ferguson police force and local officials are almost 100% white.  Many don't live in the community and have not taken the time, over these many years, to build trust and confidence.  This is not a new story, but, oh my God, it is a harsh reality.  

If you have been out of the country or living under a rock, here's what happened in a nutshell.  A young unarmed black man was shot to death by a police officer.  Immediately, the police department failed to reach out to the family and the community. The citizens felt there was a thick "Blue Line" covering up whatever happened.  They wouldn't release the name of the officer.  The police failed to interview witnesses.  It seemed justice wasn't going to be served for this young man.  So, the people of Ferguson began protesting peacefully in the streets and the police over reacted.  That's how it feels from my arm chair.  Police forces now are equipped with military equipment.  Remember during the Boston Marathon bombing all the army tanks and things rumbling through the streets of Boston?  It was shocking to see, but Boston is a big city on the coast and may have felt it necessary to be fully armed, but why did the police force of Ferguson feel the need?  What are the chances of a terrorist attack?  Slim to none, thankfully.  

Why are the police fully loaded? Well, I think that all the irresponsible rhetoric being thrown around has instilled irrational fears in so many Americans.  The bigger the guns and tanks, the safer they are.  Have you seen that Geico ad on television?  Words do hurt. Sticks and stones and words hurt.  Between social media, radio talk show hosts, and crazy far-right wingers, a lot of paranoia and fear has built up in the past decade.  Anyway, the point is the Ferguson police department, pulled out the big guns on their own citizens.  They over-reacted and didn't think about the pain and suffering of the community.  The Governor of Missouri should have stepped in publicly immediately and not waited 4 days to make a statement (and that was after the President of the United States did).  Governor Nixon should have brought in the National Guard from day one of the protesting, rioting, and tear gassing of the citizens trying desperately to get answers.  It took six days for the Police Chief to release the police officer's name and in the same breath released a video of the victim possibly robbing a convenience store for cigars.  Seriously?  Good move?  The Governor should have taken control of the situation immediately and cut off the ill-prepared and ignorant local authorities.  

And now the truth comes out last night...Michael Brown, the unarmed man, was shot over six times???  Really?  He didn't have a weapon, he wasn't caught in the middle of a crime, he was shot for what?  Disrespecting a cop?  I don't know.  There are witnesses that weren't ever interviewed until the FBI and the Justice Department came in.  There have been multiple injuries from the over zealous police force.  Another person was killed in the riots and many suffered from all the tear gas bombs.  Two journalists were arrested for not moving quick enough or some made up charge.  Both were released the day after.  The Governor got caught with his pants down.  He didn't want to get involved until his hand was forced.  

It is dreadfully sad and tragic in its entirety, but what's worse, too many communities haven't shifted with the ever changing demographics.  Communities are changing all across America.  People have to demand a more diverse government and police force to represent all the people that live there.  I really am surprised and, sadly, not surprised that we are here again.  It is unbearable to see a part of St. Louis under siege as if we were in Mosul.  

Communities and local governments, wake up!  Look around and see who is your neighbor.  To the people of Ferguson, please stay strong, demand changes, and vote in your elections.  I am truly sorry for the pain the Brown family is suffering and all the people of Ferguson.

Sidebars:  NBC did it again.  Remember how discgracefully they fired Ann Curry from the Today Show?  They took so much heat, as if they killed Bambi.  Did they learn from that?  Clearly, no.  Meet the Press unceremoniously dumped David Gregory who had been the moderator since the tragic loss of Tim Russert.  He did a good job.  He's not Tim Russert, and who is, but he's very credible and smart.  The rumor mill really picked up steam that David Gregory would be replaced.  After NBC got all their ducks in a row and got David Gregory to sign off, they didn't even have him come back to do a final show.  Just like that, poof, gone.  Poor Andrea Mitchell had to fill in on Sunday morning's show and do a BS homage to David Gregory.  If they liked him so much, they wouldn't have treated him so shabbily.  What a crappy business!

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