I spent too much time on twitter following the mess in Ferguson this evening. I really thought things would have calmed down by now but the police there have made every mistake in the book. The only way to calm things down is for them to name the officer who shot Michael Brown, interview all the eyeball witnesses and release all the relevant information on the autopsy. You know, all the normal stuff that most other law enforcement agencies would have done by now. The air in Ferguson, MO is thick with both tear gas and stupidity.
I’m old enough to have vicariously (on teevee) witnessed past riots but this is one is different. The police are armed to the teeth with paramilitary weapons and equipment. The Feds were stupidly handing this shit out to “assist in the war on terror.” That’s right, Al-Qaeda was coming to Ferguson as a staging ground to blow up the Gateway Arch in St. Louis or some nonsense. Hell, if the arch could survive the fictional war on Defiance it could survive anything. I threw in a teevee show to show the absurdity of the whole notion. It was concocted by people with no comprehension of human nature: give someone expensive equipment and they’ll be itching to use it. The evidence is in the streets of a hitherto obscure town near St. Louis.
There was a lot of hysteria on the tweeter tube tonight; lots of folks trying to make this about themselves and milking it for all the drama it’s worth. The echo chamber was on full blast about how we’ve become a police state but what’s going on in Ferguson is a full blown police riot. We’ve had them before in our country: Watts in 1965 and Chicago 1968. This police riot is *worse* in many ways than Mayor Daley’s cops losing their collective shit: there was some provocation from the protesters then but there seems to be almost none in Ferguson as of this writing. Congrats FPD, you’re stupider and more violent than the perpetrators of one of the most infamous police riots in American history.
One of the stupidest and most naive things tweeted tonight came from New York Magazine political pundit Jonathan Chait:
Chait has obviously been taken in by the whole libertarian charade. Perhaps charade is too harsh a word, perhaps it’s real when it comes to issues impacting white GOPers. But there ain’t no way on God’s green earth that Rand Paul can give that sort of speech and be a serious contender for the 2016 nomination. The party that gave us Tricky Dick, Ronald Reagan, and the white backlash would never countenance it. Senator Aqua Buddha knows that, I know that, you know that; all God’s chillun know that except for Mr. Chait. Aqua Buddha is an ambitious man, trying to not repeat the same mistakes as his crazy racist father, hence the largely insincere outreach to African-Americans. BUT remember this is the guy whose ghost writer called himself the Confederate Avenger. Aqua Buddha isn’t flushing his political future down the terlet just to satisfy some pundits who love it when politicians show courage by rubbishing their own base.
I was tear gassed when I was in Paris years ago and stumbled into a demonstration of some sort. I ducked into the Metro hoping to escape the fumes but les flics threw tear gas canisters down there. It was most unpleasant: it sent my eyes a watering and left me gasping for breath, but it wasn’t followed by assholes carrying assault weapons whilst riding in armored Humvees.
It’s past time for the political authorities in Missouri to assert civilian control over this stupidly militarized police force. Until that happens, this is going to go on and on and on. I’m not sure if Rushbo has blamed President Obama but he will. Hmm, I wonder if I can blame Tricky Dick since the Governor’s name is Nixon. Probably not, he’s a Democrat who seems to be hiding under his desk or something.
It’s time to end the police riot. I’ll give Frank Zappa the last word with his classic song about the Watts riots. The video is crappy but it’s one of his best bands and the message is powerful and still relevant: