My friend Jenny Trout from GRRWG posed an interesting question on Facebook regarding Ferguson and it had nothing to do with race. I had a fairly quick response, but have been thinking about it, so here's my longer answer to her question.
First, what Jenny asked was along the lines of Second Amendment supporters always bring up the point that we need to continue to hold onto our rights in order to fight against our government if it becomes too militarized. So why weren't they in Ferguson helping fight against the police? That's a paraphrase, and I may have paraphrased her incorrectly, but that's the jist I got, and that's what I'm responding to.
I think there are several reasons there wasn't a "Second Amendment" response to the unrest in Ferguson. One, it was an "isolated" response. Similar events seem to happen in Los Angeles on a frequent basis and ever since Rodney King the community tends to protest more peacefully, rather than ransack their own neighborhoods. In fact, there was a protest in Los Angeles while Ferguson was in an uproar. Unfortunately, the LA protest was overlooked by the media, even though it involved another unarmed, young black male. I don't remember if the race of the officer was called out in the blurb I'd run across about it, but for those that don't know California has been having issues with the police departments in several large cities, but we aren't seeing the rioting and looting we used to.
Second, the vast majority of conservative supporters of the Second Amendment were already aware of the militarized police presence. I've known about it for several years already, so it was no surprise to me that these tactics would be used by the local PD. My larger concern is whether or not the police in that small department had proper training on those tools and why the hell didn't the Governor get the National Guard down there right away? I think that a response from the National Guard would have had a better effect in calming things down, with less damage/harm/injury (take your pick) to the under-served black community there.
Third, by the time the media got the word out, most of the streets into Ferguson were already blocked. The few that may have already been there were probably standing with their neighbors to protect their businesses or families as the police had basically stopped responding to the looting due to being outnumbered.
Don't get me wrong, we need to take a close look at the Ferguson PD, how they've been treating the minorities (racial or economic) in town, and their use of military force - as we need to do across the country. I think it's wrong for local Police Departments to have this much force, that's what the National Guard is there for, and that's where the equipment should go.
I feel bad for the residents of Ferguson, there's a lot of damage to repair there and it's something I'm not really used to. Originating from the West Coast I hadn't been exposed to such blatant racism (on both sides) in many decades. It's really disheartening to see the country going backwards on this issue.
The worst part is that there will never be any real justice. The media has already tried and skewered the officer involved without knowing or presenting all the facts. Just as the video shown of the robbery that may or may not have started this all has put a stain on Michael Brown's legacy. A young man is dead before his life could begin and the officer involved cannot go back to a "normal" life.
We have forgotten an important fact: we are fortunate in America to be legally considered Innocent Until Proven Guilty. That goes both ways, for Michael Brown and for the officer involved. Our media seems to have convinced the vast majority that the media knows "everything", when in reality, our media no longer holds to the original ethics of journalism. It's all about what sells, damn the facts.
I pray that Michael Brown's family will find some peace and a way to allow their community to help them heal as the community heals.
There is one good thing that came of this though. If it weren't for Michael Brown, I don't believe that the militarization of our police force would have been so readily addressed or pointed out by our media. I only hope it brings about a positive change and raises the awareness of our representatives in Washington, DC who don't come home to see what's happening often enough.