Last some crazy things happened in Ferguson, MO.
Matthew Yglesias says Enough is enough in Ferguson. "The local authorities clearly have no idea what they're doing, and higher powers from the state or federal government need to intervene before things get even worse."
"But it is clear at this point that local officials in the town of Ferguson and St. Louis County don't know what they are doing. Of course people will not be calm while police officers charged with protecting them trample their rights."
Tervor Timm of the Freedom of the Press Foundation writes, Lessons from Ferguson: Police Militarization is Now a Press Freedom Issue. "The situation in Ferguson, Missouri—where four days ago the police killed an unarmed teenager—took another disturbing turn yesterday as cops decked out in riot gear arrested and assaulted two reporters covering the protests, Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery and Huffington Post’s Ryan Reilly, as they were sitting in a McDonald’s, quietly charging their phones. The arrests were undoubtedly a gross violation of the reporters' First Amendment rights, and both the attempts to stop them from filming and their assault by police officers were downright illegal. But there’s another issue at play here, an issue which has led to the environment in which cops think they can get away with these acts: the militarization of local police."
Ryan Cooper in The Week explains, The fiasco in Ferguson shows why you don't give military equipment to cops. "While the Army Field Manual focuses on de-escalation, communication with protestors, and a minimum level of violence, the cops in Ferguson have been applying the opposite."
"Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan needed armored vehicles like MRAPs, since they were constantly in danger of being blown up or shot. The police in Ferguson, by contrast, are not facing insurgents armed with RPGs, IEDs, automatic weapons, sniper rifles, and suicide vests. They're facing unarmed civilians in their own country, give or take a few looters. When heavy military equipment is taken from its original context and placed in the hands of a domestic law enforcement agency with little training in wartime scenarios, it becomes nothing more than an instrument of intimidation. It simply has no other purpose. Wearing jungle camouflage in an urban setting, pointing guns at civilians, driving around pointlessly in an armored personnel carrier — all of these egregiously violate military best practices. This is playing soldier dress-up to scare the pants off the locals — except the guns are real."
The Washington Post writes, Military veterans see deeply flawed police response in Ferguson
“You see the police are standing online with bulletproof vests and rifles pointed at peoples chests,” said Jason Fritz, a former Army officer and an international policing operations analyst. “That’s not controlling the crowd, that’s intimidating them.”
“We went through some pretty bad areas of Afghanistan, but we didn’t wear that much gear,” said Kyle Dykstra, an Army veteran and former security officer for the State Department. Dykstra specifically pointed out the bulletproof armor the officers were wearing around their shoulders, known as “Deltoid” armor.
“I can’t think of a [protest] situation where the use of M4 [rifles] are merited,” Fritz said. “I don’t see it as a viable tactic in any scenario.”
“Officers were calling the protesters ‘animals,’ ” King said. “I can’t imagine a military unit would do that in any scenario.”
Glenn Greenwald provides his rant on the topic, The Militarization of U.S. Police: Finally Dragged Into the Light by the Horrors of Ferguson.
Matt Apuzzo explains in the NY Times how War Gear Flows to Police Departments. Dara Lind in Vox follows up with Why the feds are putting grenade launchers in the hands of local cops
Sarah Kliff points out, Tear gas is banned in international warfare — and in use in Ferguson, MO. "Tear gas is a chemical weapon that the Geneva Convention bans from use in international warfare. In the Ferguson, Mo. riots, police have used it repeatedly to disperse ongoing riots."
I keep reading how the press isn't really covering this well but even film site Badass Digest managed to comment on it, What BATTLESTAR GALACTICA Had To Say About Ferguson. And of course BSG nailed it: