The events in Ferguson have shown us daily that the looting and violence by a few is not being stopped, while the right of the people to peaceably assemble and petition government for redress of grievances is not being respected. The current riot control tactics of the local police, rooted in outmoded techniques developed in the 1950’s – and only made worse by the ongoing militarization of our police – are failing the people of Ferguson, giving them a false choice between rampant looting on the one hand, and hyper-militarized police and curfews on the other (which also fail to stop the looting, leaving the mistaken impression among many of the American people that even moremilitarization and curtailment of free speech and assembly is needed). Our local boots on the ground, made up of retired police officers, military veterans, and intelligence workers (with critical input from current serving Missouri police officers) have answers that could provide the people of Ferguson the relief they need and deserve while respecting their rights. It is time to change a losing game.
The militarized police response we saw in Ferguson did not work. All it did was violate the rights of peaceful protesters and media, alienate the community, and make our country look even more like a police state, with big, intimidating displays of heavily armed, militarized officers, in full “battle-rattle” and backed by BearCat type armored vehicles, firing CS gas and rubber bullets into peaceful protesters and even at media personnel, while failing to stop those relative few who were actually looting, throwing Molotov cocktails, and shooting.