Americans are used to this nation's military being engaged in wars across the world; wars against nations and enemies "over there." But what we are not at all used to is what is happening here in America today as we witness more and more incidents of overly aggressive police actions using deadly force in situations that simply do not call for anything of the kind.
I'm talking about what might accurately be described as an uncivil war. If you look up the definition of uncivil you will find that it means barbarous, uncivilized conduct, not conducive to civic harmony and welfare. Well those words could certainly be used to describe the many recent incidents involving extremely violent measures taken by police in this country against its very own citizens.
Americans watch with an increasing sense of apprehension at what just happened in Ferguson, Missouri where Michael Brown, a black teenager, was shot and killed by a police officer who found him walking down the middle of the street and then confronted him.
The latest reports indicate that this young man was shot six times, twice in the head. That community is on the verge of exploding, to the point that the Missouri National Guard has now been mobilized; and that's another great mistake.
In mid-July in New York City we saw another black man, Eric Garner, confronted by police and accused of illegally selling cigarettes. He was wrestled to the ground and one of the officers applied a choke hold that resulted in his death. That situation could and should have been handled by using either mace, pepper spray or a taser if competent, trained officers were involved; but they weren't.
These kinds of confrontations involving the use of deadly force are becoming far too common in America and when they happen they often set off a firestorm of protests from those in the community who are incensed by these brutal police tactics.
Something very troubling, very frightening is going on in America, something we have never seen before to this extent. Police swat teams seem to be everywhere, in large cities and small towns and when we see them on the TV they look like storm troopers. Many of them brandish high powered assault-type weapons and even some types of machine guns. An increasing number of police units around the country have obtained monstrous armored vehicles handed down to them by the military.
We must not minimize or dismiss what is happening; Ferguson represents an ominous sign of the great chasm that has developed between the police and the people of this country. This, unquestionably, is a war of sorts with the vast majority of firepower possessed by this new-type quasi-military police force. If something is not done to address and solve this problem, and soon, then this country is in danger of becoming a full-blown police state.
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