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Ferguson: rubber bullets, smoke bombs, and tear gas

Police in Ferguson, Missouri
Police in Ferguson, Missouri
Charlie Riedel, AP

Footage of violence in Ferguson, Missouri dominated the national news in the Summer of 2014, and for good reason: in response to another out-of-control altercation between an unarmed African-American and a person of any other race, the African-American lost the battle, yet again. Such scenarios are now commonplace. Although scholars cite the George Zimmerman case as the first real test of the nation's 'post-racial identity,' Ferguson has added several underlying dimensions to the drama.

'Blacks and whites see the events...through starkly different lenses,' Los Angeles Times reports. Yet, all can agree on the major issues illuminated by the ordeal. In a brazen display of unwarranted institutional intrusion, First Amendment rights were stripped, and Constitutional protections discarded as protesters faced off against rubber bullets, smoke bombs, and tear gas. The freedom of the press was quashed, with all treated as second-class citizens living in a third-world environment (later, in an equally transparent display of governmental deception, laws were changed arbitrarily as punishment for failure to relinquish rights, willingly.)

Activists have gathered elsewhere to protest similar shootings and, while those rallies have largely gone unnoticed, their existence speaks volumes on future expectations. In an interview, I described racial genocide in the USA as, 'business-as-usual,' with similar events on the horizon. Why? Because of extravagant attentions placed upon notions of racial and cultural superiority, as American minorities have, largely, been relegated to inferior societal positions, throughout time. What laws have activists and journalists broken, besides resisting the curtailing of their rights? Without these people believing they are fully integrated far beyond the surface-level election of an African-American to a high political office, they will continue to 'agitate' (as some news outlets have labeled it) until they at least feel a semblance of superficial respect.

The long-standing history of American intolerance is why we continue to debate race, at all. Employment is scarce, education is unavailable for a large portion of the populace, and future security, for the most part, is fleeting. Hence, the streets are lined with complaint, as participants are able to protest at all hours of the day and night, in lieu of having jobs that would act as their main priority. Poor people cannot be blamed for engaging, as the only shared experience between most Americans is the history book, or the chronicle of continual injustice.

When will we find ourselves past the point of having to deal with such demons? Certainly not until courteousness replaces physical aggression, as one of the main lessons from Ferguson is that reactionary tactics only spawn further reactionary tactics. If the police continue to terrorize the citizens, the citizens will terrorize back - proven by the Christopher Dorner model of fighting bigotry. The citizens have no choice other than to fight actively, as current American cultural ideology falls squarely in line with the NRA's constant pleas for Americans to stockpile firearms as a threat to authoritarianism.

The American government has actively curtailed the basic rights of its citizens, in many cases and regardless of race - setting a dangerous precedent and leading to the conclusion that America is not truly prepared for another 9/11-style attack or worse, while the nation is rife with internal disagreements regarding whether or not overreach has limited Constitutional enforcement, and which groups are even entitled to enjoy Constitutional benefits. As New Yorker's Jelani Cobb told journalist Chris Hayes, 'The people…show no sign of actually being tired or giving up' - to which Hayes replied, 'It's not going away.'