Ferguson Police Sign of Things to Come

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Several developments have taken shape relating the police in US cities through the years – gradually and quietly, without a fanfare and without official proclamations:

1.they have become increasingly and excessively militarized, to the point that, nowadays, you can’t tell the difference between them and a regiment fighting in Afghanistan. Not only do they get military style training that presents to them ordinary people, especially those living in poor neighborhoods and ghettos, as “the bad guys” or the enemy, but also military style weapons and gear, complete with automatic weapons, mechanized units with mine resistant and bullet proof personnel carriers and rooftop sharpshooters. Talks are underway for some police departments to even get drones.

2. They’ve been given more latitude and training to conduct raids on homes, and search cars, often without a search warrant, as they do in countries the US invades and occupies. We’ve seen examples of this in recent years, such as right after the Boston Marathon bombing or during the frantic manhunt to find Christopher Dorner, the formerly Navy reservist Los Angeles police officer, who had turned against the police and had killed one of their own. In both of these cases and others, they would enter homes and stop and search vehicles without a warrant. In the case of Dorner manhunt, they even shot at unsuspecting cars driving by and ended their hunt by burning down the building their suspect was hiding in, burning him to death. In the Boston case, they closed down an entire section of the city, rolled their carriers with what appeared to be military personnel with machine guns riding on top, and ordered everyone to remain in their homes or be fired on, just as they would had the state declared martial law.

3. Police shootings and beating to death of unarmed and innocent victims have become routine and frequent.

4. Routinely and systematically, the police have been given almost total immunity from prosecution. Even when they do get charged with any serious crime, it has proven extremely difficult to convict any officer even for cold blood execution style murders, even when there are witnesses and video footage.

5. Protests and demonstrations are being attacked violently and the trend has accelerated, in recent years. We all saw how peaceful protests were met with unprovoked beatings and violent arrests, during the Occupy Wall Street movement, throughout the nation. There have been many more examples of this, the most recent being the police reaction to the protests going on now in Ferguson, Missouri.

These developments are not an accident or a coincident and they didn’t happen on their own. There is an unmistakable move towards a police state by the corporate government, under both Republican and Democratic administrations, in anticipation of and preparation for a popular anti-war, anti-capitalist movement that could threaten the power of the corporations. The move is intended to preempt and proactively prevent such popular resistance to widening income and wealth gap on the one hand and endless wars on the other. In the scenario that’s envisioned, the poor and especially the minorities are considered the threat. At the same time and in parallel, the government agency responsible for spying on its own people, the NSA, has ramped up its spying operations and is targeting virtually everyone.

Police states are not created overnight and they do not target everyone equally and at equal pace. They almost always begin by targeting a specific group of people deemed a threat, first, and as things become routine, normal and accepted, spread to all sectors of the population. There may be debate on the current level of police militarization and violence or resemblance to having a police state, but, there is no doubt on the trend. The trend has all the hallmarks of a move towards a police state.

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