American Militarism: The Chickens Have Come Home to Roost

Ferguson is the price we pay for turning America's police into paramilitary units armed with the Pentagon's surplus military gear leftover from decades of American militarism overseas.

The era of your friendly neighborhood lawman only out to "protect and serve" the community is over -- if it ever existed at all.

Today, "protect and serve" would only be in reference to the State and its power, not the people.

While the shooting of an unarmed teen has incited the scenes we're seeing in Ferguson, where the full might of America's police state is on display, it's vital that protesters there remain nonviolent to keep the focus on the initial injustice perpetrated by a heavily armed, and aggressive police force.

Furthermore, it's vital that both sides remain calm while we wait for even the basic facts of the initial case to be released.

The images taken Wednesday night by David Carson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of protesters attempting to light a Molotov cocktail is disheartening.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said in 1963,

The reason I can' t follow the old eye-for-an-eye philosophy is that it ends up leaving everyone blind. Somebody must have sense and somebody must have religion. I remember some years ago, my brother and I were driving from Atlanta to Chattanooga, Tennessee. And for some reason the drivers that night were very discourteous or they were forgetting to dim their lights...And finally A.D. looked over at me and he said, 'I'm tired of this now, and the next car that comes by here and refuses to dim the lights, I'm going to refuse to dim mine.' I said, 'Wait a minute, don't do that . Somebody has to have some sense on this highway.' And I'm saying the same thing for us here in Birmingham. We are moving up a mighty highway toward the city of Freedom. There will be meandering points. There will be curves and difficult moments, and we will be tempted to retaliate with the same kind of force that the opposition will use. But I'm going to say to you, 'Wait a minute, Birmingham. Somebody's got to have some sense in Birmingham.'

I would plead with the protesters in Ferguson to remain nonviolent to expose the might of America's police state by not providing some perverse justification for further escalation of violence against the citizens of Ferguson.

Again, remembering the words of Dr. King,

Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.

Violence begets violence, and unfortunately, if things spiral out of control, the public may become more sympathetic to brutal police actions -- to "restore the peace."

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