At this point, I believe most of America knows the story behind the debacle in Missouri. A young African-American man, Mike Brown, was killed in a highly contested arrest, and left dead on the streets for longer than necessary. The locals have responded with anger, riots, and in some cases, looting. As the nation slowly sifts through piles of fluff to get to the core of the Ferguson, Missouri dilemma, we can put aside the facts of what stirred the pot. Whether Mike Brown assaulted an officer, or didn’t, is not the focal point anymore in a situation spiraling dangerously close to the L.A. riots of 1992. We have moved past the grey, white, and black of the situation, and now are facing a serious breakdown of liberties and rights. Does the local police force have the right to put an end to any legitimate threats a.k.a. looting, robbery, and the like? Absolutely. When it passes that threshold, and we have a no-fly zone enacted, journalists from esteemed press (HuffPo, Washington Post) arrested, and a general disregard for human life (tear gas, rubber bullets, etc), then we have a problem.
This nation has ambled through a suffrage movement, a civil rights movement, various terrorist attacks, and a multitude of just (or unjust) international conflicts, yet we cannot handle a local dispute, that yes turned ugly, but was absolutely redeemable. PR never seems to be on the budget for a lot of local and state governments (or it might be under ‘continental breakfast and secret Santa’), and it has ultimately hurt, and in some parts, demolished our trust (as citizens) in local authorities. This is not a police state, and we should not be afraid of those who are sworn to protect us. Journalists should have the right to cover a situation, no matter how bad it is on face value. That is a right we all have, last I checked.
I am opposed to widespread panic, looting, and general disruption to daily lives, but as an individual who is part of the media, I cannot stand by stifling of the realities that we live in. Alan Moore (by way of Juvenal) famously asked us, ‘Who watches the Watchmen?’ , and as more comes out of Ferguson, we have gotten our answer. No one, for the Watchmen have closed the eyes of the world to whatever truth (or mistruths) are occurring.