More Fergusons are coming: Why para-military hysteria is dooming America
More Fergusons are coming: Why para-military hysteria is dooming AmericaPolice advance after tear gas was used to disperse a crowd Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. (Credit: AP/Charlie Riedel)
Over the weekend, Missouri governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in Ferguson and imposed a curfew. Once again tear gas filled the night air. Now the National Guard has been called out.
We will never know how differently things would have played out if the official reaction from the start of the unrest had been the more community engaged response led by Captain Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol (Plan B) and not the authoritarian doubling down of the locals. All too often an initial oppressive response by authority to long-simmering resentments and alienation sets in motion a cycle of violence that develops its own momentum. (See Newark, June 1967.) At that point you’re on your way to alienated narratives that are much harder to reconcile.
Local officials were just oblivious to the level of mistrust present in Ferguson when their first response was para-military, as depicted in the front page New York Times photo of police looking more like U.S. Marines protecting the Green Zone in Baghdad more
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