By Jim Killebrew
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[August 20, 2014]
of the complaints we have heard from the people who are talking
about the Ferguson, Missouri reaction to the shooting involving the
death of the 18 year-old Michael Brown is the "militarization" of
the police in responding to the persons who demonstrated and looted
stores. When the police used military equipment left over from the
war in Iraq and Afghanistan that consisted of armored vehicles, many
said the presence of the "military-like" equipment provoked the
crowd into a state of being out of control causing them to loot and
burn property. Since the police responded in force, we are being
told, it "caused" much of the problems because the people in the
area are so "frustrated" with the law enforcement that they are only
trying to protect themselves against a police force who have been
unfair to them. When those kind of forces show up at scenes where
large mob-like crowds are looting and burning convenient stores, the
police look so "menacing" that it creates violence and exacerbates
the already volatile situation.
Of course when Al Sharpton can stand in a pulpit in a church on Sunday
morning and preach violence and hatred, apparently that does not seem
menacing to anyone and presumably serves to calm the volatile situation?
Sharpton stood in the church and said, "We're not looters; we are
liberators. We're not burners; we are builders." (Al Sharpton, 8/17/2014 at
the Ferguson Rally) Really, Mr. Sharpton? Liberators instead of looters;
builders instead of burners? Exactly what were those people who were
breaking into the store carrying things that didn't belong to them out of
the store without paying for the merchandise, then setting a building on
fire think they were "liberating" or "building?"
It seems that all those people gathered in the streets throwing Molotov
Cocktails and trying to take things that didn't belong to them and destroy
others' property were not listening to Mr. Sharpton when he called them
liberators and builders. Other store owners who have fortified their stores
and property to a defensive posture must not believe Mr. Sharpton either.
Apparently the police force must have believed in part what Mr. Sharpton was
saying, Governor Nixon put the State Police in charge of the security
propelling Captain Ron Johnson into the leadership role, sometimes even
embracing some of the marchers as well as marching with them.
Even with that gesture, however, Mr. Sharpton continued to send veiled
messages to the people by saying, "There are many more hurdles in the coming
days." The Civil Rights leader continued on with, “We haven’t even had the
funeral. What happens when these kids see their friend laying in the casket?
I’ve been through this more than one time. We’re not out of the emotions
because we all of a sudden had a good night of marching.” Mr. Sharpton's
self-fulfilling prophecy came true with the rioting looters (or liberators
and builders) continuing on in their law-breaking behaviors. Not only did
they continue, but the intensity became worse. It necessitated the
involvement of the federal Department of Justice, the FBI, Missouri State
Police as well as the police department.
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As the riot gear was put away the rioting and looting became much
more intense. So intense was the destruction, the Governor finally
called the National Guard to take control to accomplish what the
local law enforcement, the state police and others could not do. It
finally became apparent that there were people from outside of
Ferguson coming in to loot and riot. It appeared it was an
opportunity for those not even effected by the shooting began to
take advantage of the situation simply to agitate and loot.
As the "softer approach" seemed to fade, the environment turned more
ugly than in the beginning. The result was the President denouncing
the actions of those who are stimulating the rioting actions, and
calling for the U.S. Attorney General to visit the city to ensure
the investigation is not tainted in any way. The President referred
to the rioting people in Ferguson telling them they are not
contributing to achieving any justice by doing what they are doing.
He warned them that it was unacceptable to engage in such behavior
as the lawbreaking, especially in a nation based on the rule of law.
Taking the cue from the President reminding us of the rule of law,
perhaps we should make a greater effort to examine and evaluate the
race-baiter comments that continue to inflame situations like the
one in Ferguson, Missouri. When Mr. Sharpton and the New Black
Panthers begin calling for actions that run counter to the "rule of
law" perhaps the Attorney General should investigate those behaviors
and determine if it is right to engage in inflammatory behaviors
tantamount to "yelling fire in a crowded theater." Finding all of
the evidence through a complete, unbiased investigation should be
the better way. That should be the standard for all citizens in our
[By JIM KILLEBREW]
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