This story is not one that we haven’t heard before – in fact, it is one that we still hear far too often. A person supposedly provokes a police officer; the cop becomes enraged and abuses his power. Unfortunately, many times, it ends in the death of the person on the receiving end of the officer’s anger- sometimes known as suicide by cop. Michael Brown, a young African American male in Ferguson, Missouri, got on the wrong side of an officer when the officer found him walking down the middle of the street and insisted that he move, since he was blocking traffic. Brown argued with the officer and then supposedly attempted to take the officer’s weapon. The officer panicked and ended up shooting Brown – 6 times. The story goes that Brown kept taunting and threatening the officer prior to the officer deciding to shoot. There is also the possibility that Brown had robbed a convenience store for cigars shortly before the altercation took place, but that is neither here nor there, since the officer had no knowledge of it.
For many people, the Ferguson situation is more about race problems in America than anything else. At least that is what the protests started as. At this point, the protests have become about police brutality and the police state that our nation is becoming (or has already become, depending on how you want to look at it). Police have an almost unprecedented amount of power over the citizens of this country. They can stop you on the highway and search your car for almost any reason – it is amazing how quickly they can pull something irrelevant out of a hat and complicate your life under the auspices of Constitutional power and authority. Instead of making the decision to simply arrest Brown or use a Taser, the cop went to an extreme and shot him. The police force has continued going to extremes throughout the past two weeks of protests, throwing tear gas at protesters and using rubber bullets. Riot police have been sent in and told that they are allowed to use harsh measures. Though there were looters, they were the minority to the peaceful protesters who have now been subjected to riot prevention tactics. The only thing that these officers have managed to do is rile people up and incite additional riots rather than reduce them.
So the question remains: what is it going to take to wake Americans up to the fact that we as a people are losing the Constitutional and personal privacy battle? We are living in a police state. Everything is regulated and everything is watched. The Supreme Court of the United States has recently opined that you can be pulled over for someone saying you were driving recklessly. Police put up DUI checkpoints that exist solely to give officers an extra abuse of power. A cop shot a man for walking down the middle of the road. Where does it end?
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