Here’s a pop quiz for all you media junkies: Which of the following took place in Ferguson, Missouri, recently, and which transpired during the 1968 Democratic National Convention (hint: both involved a certain higher-up with the last name Nixon):
Two members of the media are quietly doing their jobs as a violent police action is under way. They are grabbed and assaulted by officers for no apparent reason.
Peaceful protesters on a street are attacked by police with tear gas.
A cop yells at a group of nonviolent protesters, “Bring it, you fucking animals, bring it!”
A cop yells at a group of nonviolent protesters, “Run, you bastards, run!”
In response to the violence, Nixon proclaims that the rule of law would be enforced and that there would be order.
In response to the violence, Nixon proclaims that the county police need to stand down.
Ready with your answers? Nos. 1 and 2—the unprovoked assaults on reporters and protesters—are from both incidents. No. 3 was in Ferguson; No. 4 in Chicago. The fifth is related to Chicago, and are comments made by Republican presidential nominee Richard Nixon. The sixth happened last week, as part of Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s response to the Ferguson nightmare.
What this country has just witnessed in Ferguson was, like in Chicago, an example of police gone wild—poorly led, poorly trained, unprofessional, displaying a complete lack of understanding of their jobs. It was an abomination that stains the reputation and credibility of talented, well-trained law enforcement officers throughout the country. It also adds to the danger these honorable men and women face, because the populace is increasingly afraid of their unfit brethren. (more…)
For the last two weeks, Ferguson, Missouri has been nightly entertainment. We have watched CNN, Fox News, MSNBC for the latest updates. Has the violence continued? Have peace and quiet been restored? What is wrong with those people in Ferguson? Could this happen here?
For two weeks, I have been avoiding the nightly news. I truly did not want to know what the latest update was. As a trauma surgeon, I hate loss of life. It is in my DNA. I hate it when someone needlessly gets gunned down in the streets. We saw that in Ferguson. We also saw it in the Trayvon Martin case.
In the United States there are several truisms. One of those truisms is that you simply don’t talk back to police. I was taught, growing up in the ’70s, that I needed to show police respect whether they deserved it or not. Why? Because that’s the way it is in the United States. My parents never explained it that way. But that’s the way it is. We can sit down and discuss the merits of the system and thoughtful ways of changing the system so the system works more for everybody, but the way the system is today… and the way it has been for more than 100 years, you must show police officers respect or there are dire consequences. Simply put, if you do not show police the respect that they, themselves want, you increase dramatically your chances of dying. Continue reading What Ferguson tells us about America→
So, now, nearly a week after Michael Brown was shot to death, we learn that he was a suspect in a robbery. This is so damn convenient. Suddenly, Michael Brown has been changed from a man minding his own business, a victim, into a criminal trying to evade arrest. One would figure, and this could be just me, that this piece of crucial information would’ve been released at the time of the shooting. (Here’s the police report.)