I thought yesterday was too soon to comment, but it appears they've finally started de-escalation in Ferguson, Missouri. (Warning, link may autoplay video.) The governor yanked the county cops back and sent in the Highway Patrol and they-- by golly, they did the "One Ranger, one riot" approach as well as I have seen it played, walking alongside protesters in shirtsleeve uniforms and only the most basic "bat-belt" carry gear, smiling and talking in normal tones of voice. Last night, Tam commented on video of Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson strolling with well-behaved protesters, remarking, "Doesn't look like anyone's 'lighting a candle' for him," in reference to the Molotov cocktails hurled at combat-clad county cops a day earlier. It's plenty risky for the state police, but I can't think of any better way to resolve the mess.
This may even (finally) get the increasing militarization of police out of the fringes and into the spotlight. And it's produced one interesting outcome already; U. S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the violence "cannot continue," specifically mentioning violent acts by the public as well as the overbearing police response. Mark me down in the "surprised" column.
It's still early days but at least things have reached the point where the citizens of Ferguson won't be burning down the courthouse. How the investigation into the precipitating incident is handled is still going to have huge effect -- but at least it will happen in something better than smoking ruins reeking of tear gas and opportunistic crime.
6 months ago