It was almost like a party. That’s how both mainstream corporate and independent media outlets along with a good chunk of people on the ground via Twitter have been describing the scene in Ferguson, Missouri Thursday night.
I guess that’s what happens when you replace a military-style crackdown on freedom of assembly and freedom of the press by local police with a group of state highway patrol officers marching with the protestors and without riot gear. People celebrate the end of the occupation. I’d probably do the same if I was there.
The site of police marching with the people they are supposed to serve is as heartwarming as it clearly PR damage control. Likewise it’s a good thing that there isn’t a brutal crackdown on rights underway in Missouri currently, but should we really be celebrating?
In order for there to be an end to an occupation, there first needs to be an occupation. In order for fundamental rights to be restored, they first need to be suspended illegally.
Let’s not forget that the St-Louis County Police Department effectively turned a protest into a riot and a riot into a war zone by using equipment designed for a military. Let’s also not forget how they got that equipment.
As the absurdity of a makeshift suburban police state subsides and the status quo resumes, let’s remember what normal means.
We live in a world where politicians order up arms that the military doesn’t want because those weapons are made in their districts. We live in a world where the military gives their unneeded arms to local police forces that don’t need them, shouldn’t have them but are all too happy to use their new toys.
We live in a world where an almost exclusively white police force is in charge of patrolling a predominately African American community. We live in a world where police murder unarmed teenagers and, for the most part, get away with it.
Mike Brown is still dead. Let’s not forget that. He was shot unarmed while trying to surrender to police. Let’s not forget that this is the normal that Ferguson and the rest of us are returning to.
When that changes, then there truly will be reason to celebrate.
* Images: The Daily Banter