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The Body in the Street -- Charles P. Pierce

Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, americans, children, corruption, crime, culture, family, freedoms, law, police, politics, rights, safety, society )

- 1395 days ago -
I keep coming back to one simple moment, one ghastly fact. One image, from which all the other images have flowed. They left the body in the street. Dictators leave bodies in the street.

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Kit B (276)
Friday August 22, 2014, 4:48 pm
Photo Credit - Getty Images - street memorial to Michael Brown

..they have built the electric chair and hired the executioner to throw the switch all right we are two nations America our nation has been beaten by strangers who have bought the laws and fenced off the meadows and cut down the woods for pulp and turned our pleasant cities into slums and sweated the wealth out of our people...

-- John Dos Passos, "The Big Money," USA

I keep coming back to what seems to me to be the most inhumane thing of all, the inhumane thing that happened before the rage began to rise, and before the backlash began to build, and before the cameras and television lights, and before the tear gas and the stun grenades and the chants and the prayers. I keep coming back to the one image that was there before the international event began, before it became a television show and a symbol in flames and something beyond what it was in the first place. I keep coming back to one simple moment, one ghastly fact. One image, from which all the other images have flowed.

They left the body in the street.

Dictators leave bodies in the street.

Petty local satraps leave bodies in the street.

Warlords leave bodies in the street.

A police officer shot Michael Brown to death. And they left his body in the street. For four hours. Bodies do not lie in the street for four hours. Not in an advanced society. Bodies lie in the street for four hours in small countries where they have perpetual civil war. Bodies lie in the street for four hours on back roads where people fight over the bare necessities of simple living, where they fight over food and water and small, useless parcels of land. Bodies lie in the street for four hours in places in which poor people fight as proxies for rich people in distant places, where they fight as proxies for the men who dig out the diamonds, or who drill out the oil, or who set ancient tribal grudges aflame for modern imperial purposes that are as far from the original grudges as bullets are from bows. Those are the places where they leave bodies in the street, as object lessons, or to make a point, or because there isn't the money to take the bodies away and bury them, or because nobody gives a damn whether they are there or not. Those are the places where they leave bodies in the street.

Bodies are not left in the streets of the leafy suburbs. The bodies of dogs and cats, or squirrels and raccoons, let alone the bodies of children, are not left in the streets of the leafy suburbs. No bodies are left in the streets of the financial districts. Freeze to death on a bench in the financial districts and you are whisked away before your inconvenient body can disturb the folks in line at the Starbucks across the street. But the body of a boy can be left in the street for four hours in a place like Ferguson, Missouri, and who knows whether it was because people wanted to make a point, or because nobody gave a damn whether he was there or not. Ferguson, Missouri was a place where they left a body in the street. For four hours. And the rage rose, and the backlash built, and the cameras arrived, and so did the cops, and the thing became something beyond what it was in the first place. And, in a very real way, in the streets of Ferguson, the body was still in the street.


The rage rises.

The very last march in which Martin Luther King, Jr. participated ended violently. He had come to Memphis to lend support to a strike by the city's sanitation workers. On March 28, 1968, King led a march in support of the striking workers. It did not end well.

King arrived late and found a massive crowd on the brink of chaos. Lawson and King led the march together but quickly called off the demonstration as violence began to erupt. King was whisked away to a nearby hotel, and Lawson told the mass of people to turn around and go back to the church. In the chaos that followed, downtown shops were looted, and a 16-year-old was shot and killed by a policeman. Police followed demonstrators back to the Clayborn Temple, entered the church, released tear gas inside the sanctuary, and clubbed people as they lay on the floor to get fresh air. Loeb called for martial law and brought in 4,000 National Guard troops. The following day, over 200 striking workers continued their daily march, carrying signs that read, "I Am a Man"... At a news conference held before he returned to Atlanta, King said that he had been unaware of the divisions within the community, particularly of the presence of a black youth group committed to "Black Power" called the Invaders, who were accused of starting the violence.

The backlash builds.

Whites, angered by the property damage to businesses during the aborted march, blamed blacks. The President of the Memphis Chamber of Commerce told the New York Times: "You can't take these Negro people and make the kind of citizens out of them you'd like."(sic). Rev. Lawson would later note that the nonviolence of thousands of black citizens who moved back to the church and their homes was lost in press accounts of the story.

A week or two later, Dr. King stepped out onto the balcony of his motel room in Memphis. A white man shot him through the neck and he died. They covered his body with a sheet. They did not leave it there on the balcony, blood pooling around it, for four hours.


In 1965, the editors of the National Review traced the violence of the Watts riots back to the baleful influence of Dr. King's various campaigns throughout the South.

For years now, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and his associates have been deliberately undermining the foundations of internal order in this country. With their rabble-rousing demagoguery, they have been cracking the "cake of custom" that holds us together. With their doctrine of "civil disobedience," they have been teaching hundreds of thousands of Negroes - particularly the adolescents and the children - that it is perfectly all right to break the law and defy constituted authority if you are a Negro-with-a-grievance; in protest against injustice. And they have done more than talk. They have on occasion after occasion, in almost every part of the country, called out their mobs on the streets, promoted "school strikes," sit-ins, lie-ins, in explicit violation of the law and in explicit defiance of the public authority. They have taught anarchy and chaos by word and deed - and, no doubt, with the best intentions - and they have found apt pupils everywhere, with intentions not of the best. Sow the wind, and reap the whirlwind. But it is not they alone who reap it, but we as well; the entire nation.

In 2014, the editor of the National Review traced the violence of the disturbances in Ferguson to the baleful influence of MSNBC.

You get the feeling that the enormous emotional investment in Ferguson from the left-from Eric Holder to MSNBC on down-reflects a nostalgia for the truly heroic phase of the civil rights movement. They (most of them, at least) can never be Freedom Riders, but they can write blog posts complaining that the police gear in Ferguson looks scary. They can never register voters in the Jim Crow South, but they can tweet dramatic pictures of tear-gas canisters going off. They can never march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge circa 1965, but they can do some cable hits. Ferguson is all they've got, so it must be spun up into a national crisis-our Gaza, our apartheid-to increase the moral drama.

They do not leave bodies in the street in Arlington County in Virginia, where the editor of the National Review grew up.


The story now seems to be about the "healing process" going on in Ferguson. The nights are quieter. The National Guard has pulled out. Some of the reporters have moved on to other things. There will be a funeral on Monday for the boy whose body was left in the street. It will be a dignified spectacle and it will be terrific television and it will be said to be "healing" the wounded place. Meanwhile, there are other people finding their healing in many different ways.

I support officer Wilson and he did a great job removing an unnecessary thing from the public.

An unnecessary thing.

The body they left in the street.

The body that, in so many ways, is still in the street.

An unnecessary thing.

The body they left in the street. For four hours. Ferguson, Missouri was a place where they left a body in the street. For four hours. And the rage rose, and the backlash built, and the cameras arrived, and so did the cops, and the thing became something beyond what it was in the first place. And, in a very real way, in the streets of Ferguson, the body was still in the street. What kind of place leaves the body of a boy in the street? What kind of country does that?

Dos Passos was correct.

All right.

We are two nations.

All right?

By Charles P. Pierce - Esquire Magazine


Kit B (276)
Friday August 22, 2014, 4:56 pm

Please take the 2 or 3 minutes of your day to read this. Actually read it and if possible read it with empathy and not a political mind set.

Whether or not this young man was guilty of any thing more than fear is unknown. The owner of store that was forced to release the video said, Michael Brown is a shy kid. I did not report this. I'm not sure it was him. Of course, as we know the officer that stop Brown knew nothing of the shoplifting at the convenience stores, so that is irrelevant. At some point the drug test will be released and it may be that Michael Brown did smoke some pot - some times he did that. That too is irrelevant, no one is aggressive or violent because of pot. The combination of the two irrelevant details have done nothing but, demean and diminish the meaning of the life now dead. Michael Brown was a mother's child, she loved him, she has lost him.

They left his body lying in the street for four hours. That is not irrelevant. Nor is there any excuse for that behavior.

Animae C (514)
Friday August 22, 2014, 5:30 pm

Incredibly sad!
Shoplifting or smoking pot do not warrant being shot to death!

What's happening to America?!

Freya H (357)
Friday August 22, 2014, 5:34 pm
I fear that the United States is becoming too sick to survive.

If we act now, if a lot of us act, if we express our anger at the ballot box (first!), we may be able to reverse the course before the USA crosses the event horizon.

Kit B (276)
Friday August 22, 2014, 5:39 pm

Here is an odd bit of history wrapped in irony --- Four miles from the epicenter of the protests in Ferguson sits Calvary Cemetery.

Where Dred Scott is buried.

Animae C (514)
Friday August 22, 2014, 6:02 pm
OK i just read up on Dred Scott, thanx Kit

i shouldn't be asking 'what's happening to America?'
i should be saying 'Just like the old days.'

Kit B (276)
Friday August 22, 2014, 6:50 pm

A Bunch Of Terrible People Have Raised Over $130,000 For Darren Wilson --

Someone has started a Gofundme page for Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed an unarmed 18-year-old named Mike Brown earlier this month. The fund exists to raise financial support for Wilson and his family to use during this "trying time in their lives." So far, nearly $140,000 has been raised, and a lot of it is coming from plainly awful people.

- One comment from the list: ($50.00 donation) I support Officer Wilson he did a great job removing an unnecessary thing from the public. - I am stunned.

Carrie B (306)
Friday August 22, 2014, 7:14 pm
Thank you Kit. How very sad for this child, his family, and society for this to have happened.

Rose Becke (141)
Friday August 22, 2014, 7:19 pm
I am speechless Kit

Sheryl G (360)
Friday August 22, 2014, 7:30 pm
First of all good to see you back Kit.

I've been disgusted with this whole thing from the beginning and because I am I've even been accused by one C2 member as "fomenting riots and race wars" all because I placed several news stories on this. Also a story on how the reporters are being treated with harassment and funneled to certain areas.

I'd say that comment by that person you left above Kit, that can start a race war, donating $50.00 and adding "I support Officer Wilson he did a great job removing an unnecessary thing from the public." I'd like to know if in fact they keep that money, it should be sent back to the person with a note saying why. Remember people we all bleed red.

The whole thing stinks. This new Jim Crow mentality and people being shot instead of being hung isn't going to fly forever so the people best start to understand and see these injustices. No one remains quiet forever, nor should they when their unarmed children are being murdered in broad daylight.

Please sign these petitions if you haven't already.
Stop Militarizing the Police Petition
Tell Congress Pass The Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act

Laurie H (817)
Friday August 22, 2014, 7:37 pm
Thank you dear Kit for this share. I am so disheartened by the latest events both here in our USA and abroad. The incredible scope of sadness I feel seeing what is happening, I cannot adequately express. The disregard and lack of meaning for life, is becoming frightening to me---it is so, so, shocking!! Noted with a very heavy heart my friend.~

Sheila D (194)
Friday August 22, 2014, 7:39 pm
We are two nations...

Black and white, people of any color and white, legal and illegal, haves and havenots, right and left, rich and poor, leaders and followers, Natives and not, armed and not, Those who care and Those who do not...

This can go on and on. Easy to make a list, but very difficult to find our way out of the dark place we are in at this time...

They. Left. The. Body. In. The. Street.

A very sad commentary in the 21st Century in a supposed Democracy where Everyone is supposedy Equal.

JL A (281)
Friday August 22, 2014, 7:42 pm
I was just reading a remarkable pastor's piece on this issue, which includes this quote
"We must be clear that the issues of this
shooting are deeper than anything one trial
can resolve... it is also deeply and truly
about the social sin of prejudice, bigotry,
and institutionalized racism, which is
imbedded in our social structures, our
justice system, and the laws by which we
claim to offer freedom to each other."

Thanks Kit for yet another perspective of why, if we have any morality at all in this country, we cannot tolerate what we heard and saw on this one.

Giana Peranio-paz (398)
Friday August 22, 2014, 7:44 pm
The world around me is going absolutely crazy, it's a feeling that our govenments have lost control, it's a very scary feeling, no more security. Thanks Kit.

Sheryl G (360)
Friday August 22, 2014, 7:56 pm
Please also sign....
Please Enact New Federal Laws To Protect Citizens From Police Violence and Misconduct
Defend Journalism That Speaks Truth To Power From Ferguson to Washington

Robert Tomlinson (62)
Friday August 22, 2014, 8:02 pm
Thanks for the submission, Kit.
These actions by the FPD is a throwback to the south of the mid 20th century. Leaving the body in the street was not a mistake. Instead, it was a message to the African American community. Thank goodness the feds are involved.

Robert B (60)
Friday August 22, 2014, 8:17 pm
Thank you Kit for the submission, Glad to see you back.
What we have is a very subtle, and almost invisible form of apartheid and a broken justice system that is biased against minorities and the poor. As long as we have this situation we will always have the potential for violence and unrest bubbling just under the illusion of a calm surface and like an active volcano can erupt any time at the moment of an unjust incident. Those in power have a moral obligation to ensure a level playing field for all, but they refuse to do it! WE THE PEOPLE must MAKE them do it. VOTE!!!! VOTE!!!! VOTE!!! It's the only thing that's going to save us.


Kit B (276)
Friday August 22, 2014, 8:19 pm

The Ferguson Police Department suddenly "found" the incident report on the shooting of Michael Brown, dated August 19, 2014 - that is 10 days after the shooting. Two nights ago a woman stopped by the peaceful group who were NOT rioting, the only rioting is police misconduct, she was on her way home. A friend told her she was bleeding. Yes, she said, something hit my head. One man grabbed her and called EMS. She was shot in the head - the police interviewed her at bedside. Funny thing - no incident report. She is in better condition today and might make a full recovery. I hope so.

Dandelion, thank you but I have signed those petitions and written a few letters.

Thank you all for reading and leaving your thoughts. I do believe that we have a mountain to climb and the death of this young man and so many others should push us up that mountain.

Bill O'Reilly says we should calm down, the police only kill about 420 people a year, hey Bill that is more than one person a day.

. (0)
Friday August 22, 2014, 8:23 pm
it truely is heartbreaking. they was another shot and killed by the police just a few miles from there. i forget now if it was today or yesterday. too much new am on overload. the whole world is going to hell

JL A (281)
Friday August 22, 2014, 8:27 pm
Giana reminded me of the reports that Ferguson's law enforcement, at least some, were trained in their military weapons by Israelis...military I think it said. Why anyone would consider military training appropriate for suburban law enforcement is mind boggling.

Sheila D (194)
Friday August 22, 2014, 8:33 pm
Both petitions signed, Dandelion...Thanks. Forwarded, Thank you Kit for a moving article.

Joanne Dixon (38)
Friday August 22, 2014, 8:41 pm
So the police "only" kill 420 people a year. 420 people for whom the police act as jury, judge, and executioner, How many people are executed in the US every year AFTER charging, trial, and sentencing? Fewer than 420. And some of them are still innocent. How many of those 420 are innocent of ANYTHING, let alone any capital crime?

Kit, I am so glad to see you back. I do not want to be a downer. But I have been reading about this daily too, and signing everything I can; I can only describe myself as sick with horror. Anyone who subscribes to the Daily Kos "Rec List" knows what I am going to say - they send an email normally once a day with links to articles that got the most attention. This week they have sent a second, special report email restricted to Ferguson news. Each email has on average 10-12 links - and of the 10-12 in the NON special email, 6-9 have been about Ferguson also. At least some are paying attention.

I am now going to check on one of Dandelion's links which I may have missed. If so, it will be missed no longer.

Walter F (129)
Friday August 22, 2014, 8:48 pm
Thanks for posting Kit Glad you are back.It is a very sad story.The boy died out of time for a minor misdeed..What happened in America has happened here several times in the past..It happens and unfortunately it will always happen when people break laws and the police we need to keep social order respond in haste or too harshly

Sheryl G (360)
Friday August 22, 2014, 8:57 pm
What law did he break? Walking down the street. That should lead to his death! I'd say that was harsh.

divergent revolution (309)
Friday August 22, 2014, 9:17 pm
Like Dandelion, I an extremely happy to welcome you back, missed you terribly.
What can I add to this travesty? A downward spiral of cyclical violence like the ghettos in new York where I grew up,,, miserable! !

TomCat S (128)
Friday August 22, 2014, 9:41 pm
Welcome home Kitty, Kitty. You have been very missed.

Mandi T (367)
Friday August 22, 2014, 9:44 pm
Heartbreaking. Tks Kit

MmAway M (506)
Friday August 22, 2014, 11:19 pm
Can't swallow Kitty! WT??? "Dande", thank you for the links, I will check into! I have no words here Kit! Can't send you a star for this, got to wipe my eyes! I don't think political much lately. Disgusted! Thought with my heart while I was reading and YES I need a tissue for HELL ON EARTH HUMANS!

Sherri G (128)
Friday August 22, 2014, 11:48 pm
Someone needs to get out the vote to get rid of the white run government including mayor, District Attorney, and Governor. Then the community can get rid of the bastards mistreating the black community. Every film clip shows most of the white cops need a major attitude adjustment. Signed all related petitions, noted TY Kit.

Fiona Ogilvie (565)
Friday August 22, 2014, 11:48 pm
Welcome Back, Kit.

This article is heartbreaking, it makes me speechless

Inge B (202)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 12:56 am
All the people out and make a riot, it's the only politicians and authorities understand.

Love is

Krista Slavin (195)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 1:04 am

Athena F (131)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 1:43 am
Thank you, Kit. It is all truly horrific.

This also (trigger warning, there is video on this page of the shooting itself) breaks my heart:

It is far too "coincidental", the manner in which this was done, for it not to be considered a protest, or at least that it is most likely related to the Michael Brown incident. Why is it being swept under the rug? Oh, right. That's what they always do with incidents like this. :(

Autumn S (151)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 1:44 am
thanks for this article, Kit , this is just sad makes me wonder also what is happening to this world.

Margaret G (243)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 3:10 am
Pierce's writing is almost like poetry, it's so searing.

Michael Carney (217)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 3:11 am
I'm just sick that this is allowed to happen in our Country!!!

Past Member (0)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 5:09 am
I was wondering what happen to you Kit, glad you are back. No matter what you think of the Michael Brown story (and I will wait for full facts before making a decision), when a dead personís body Is left In the open I have to wonder if all of human dignity dies a little. So even understanding that the body was considered an active crime scene and that any alteration, no matter how small could compromise the case, that all bodies of the dead should be treated with respect and charity, in faith and hope of the Resurrection.

Barbara K (60)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 5:38 am
Hi, Kit, so glad to have you back, I was missing you. Thank you also for posting this tragic story. The magnitude is beyond words. To have shot and murdered an unarmed child is a horrible thing for any family to have to endure and I truly hope that cop is permanently off the job. There are too many kids being murdered by cop lately. Total unnecessary deaths. We need to get the Lunatics voted out of our government so we can return to whatever normalcy is left. As one above said: VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! as if your life depends on it, as it truly does.


Arielle S (313)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 6:35 am
Like everyone else here, I am disgusted, revolted, embarrassed, horrified, and repulsed by all of this. Then more so for those who think Wilson did the right thing. There is no justification for the shooting, for the way it was handled, no justification for the tear gas, rubber bullets, guns on a peaceful protest. If I was black, I would be angry. But I'm white and I'm furious.

Sheryl G (360)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 6:51 am
Propaganda and indoctrination have been doing it's work well that so many Americans do not see the wrong in all of it Arielle. I am very saddened by that fact but glad to see that at least not everyone is accepting this as okay. A person of any color should be able to walk down the street and not be shot by anyone.....period. I want America to look like America not some Banana Republic we are turning into.

Past Member (0)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 6:57 am
Sadly this seems to be the way cops operate these days. Their badge is a license to kill without just cause at every whim...and rarely do they receive punishment--it's both frightening+deplorable. I personally would dial a friend before i call one of them 4 help. The entire police association is outta control with thugs in uniform policing our streets while killing our innocent pets+people. Thanks Kit

Kit B (276)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 7:02 am

I missed each of you, terribly. Thank you for the kind words of welcome.

Like John, I am not passing judgment, there is just too much we do not know. I have now seen countless videos of this scene and soon after, as have others. I am very ready to give the city of Ferguson a failing grade. I can not confirm that Ferguson police were trained by Israel, only that it seems many are newly returned veterans of Afghanistan or Iraq.

What we do know is that Micheal Brown was walking on the street, the policeman in question, Darren Wilson told him to get off the street and get on the side walk. Apparently, and according to friends Brown walked next to curb on his way to his grandmother's house every day. No less than 3 witnesses said that Wilson was angry when Brown said he walked this street daily. From there the stories differ from each witness. One thing I know is true, our police are becoming far too aggressive. Walking in the street is not a crime worthy of a death sentence, arguing with the police is not a crime for execution.

Police dressed in "battle gear, driving tanks become soldiers patrolling for the enemy. Their duty is search and destroy. We have to decide if we pay the police to "serve and protect" or if we believe that a race/class war is just fine. Fine as long as it's not my neighborhood, not my child. I'm white, upper middle class, these things are not my problems, or are they? I am also an American citizen and when my fellow citizens are hurt, cheated of their rights, am I not also cheated and hurt? Are we not ONE country. Can we allow ourselves to fall into the trap as described by Dos Passo? Should we ever be tricked into allowing two nations?

Gene J (290)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 8:00 am
'They left his body lying in the street for four hours. That is not irrelevant. Nor is there any excuse for that behavior."

The article, and Kit, are both right. It is dehumanizing to leave a body in the street for four long hours. No matter the crime it is the tactic of a lesser society, or a greater society that is sending a message - you and all like you are unworthy of human decency. No surprise the fire burned hot and bright in the wake of that decision. There is no excused for it, no matter what comes next, we are civilized people or we are not and in that night and at that place officialdom was not.

Vallee R (280)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 8:02 am
Kit - welcome back - unfortunately I do not trust the cops here - almost a year ago - our medical alert alarm malfunctioned and went off at midnight. When the cops came to the door and we are attempting to wake up and get the pets in a room, hubby opens the door and the next thing I know is that he is on the floor - face down - about to be handcuffed - I timed it and I was out of the room 12 seconds! I screamed - he has had neck surgery and they could paralyze him - the police said = there was a scuffle they heard from outside (I yelled to them - let me get the pets put away), and hubby doesn't look old enough to have heart problems which is what they were told he had - so let's throw him on the floor.

In this situation- the police were exonerated for doing such a great job! Honest - that was in the report that took me 5 months to get! Four months after the investigation.

My point - is that these police are being militarized and we are the enemy - could be racial but in my opinion - it is anyone - a WHITE young adult was killed a few days after this in Utah because he was coming out of a convenience store and the police were told the place had just been robbed. So the police shot and killed the next person walking out that LOOKED like they just might be the right age etc to have robbed the store. No hands up, no stop - bullets. This country/world is in a bad state of affairs.

Pat B (356)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 8:34 am
Welcome back, Miss Kitty. From the article: "The body of a boy can be left in the street for four hours in a place like Ferguson, Missouri, and who knows whether it was because people wanted to make a point, or because nobody gave a damn whether he was there or not. Ferguson, Missouri was a place where they left a body in the street. For four hours." 4 hours.!! Shot and killed.!! This is a senseless crime in of itself, and my deepest condolences to his family. Michael, RIP, your memory lives on.

Janis K (126)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 8:51 am
Thanks for sharing Kit, and it's very good to see you back! Great article.

Kit B (276)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 9:06 am

We are a deeply racist society, to not acknowledge that fact is to put your head in the sand. Because of this long and lingering racism, we can not afford to continue to pretend that both racism and class divisions are not eroding our democratic society. These two combined elements make it even more dangerous to continue to allow the police to become a militarized police.

To rid themselves of unwanted and used military equipment the government is selling it cheap to our towns and cities, some get it free. This is a dangerous practice and we must do all in our power to end this selling of military equipment. For those who can remember or make the choice to read about it, in 1968 many of our cities burned, there were actual riots, and the police had no military equipment, after a week of grief, and it was grief from the murders of our leaders, the riots ended, people went home, many helped those businesses whose windows were broken to clean up. In 110 cities that suffered the riots after the murder of Dr King, dozens were killed, not thousands, today with tanks and other military equipment, I dare say the count would be thousands killed.

What Val described above is all too common a story. Our police react first with force, often deadly force. I do believe that vast majority of police are doing exactly what they are paid to do, "protect and serve" but the leadership from the mayor to the chief of police in far too many towns are giving police a carte blanche to react to each scene as they feel is appropriate amount of force, at the moment. Not to first take the steps of securing a scene and making certain the no innocent victim is harmed, but to react, with adrenaline pumping.

Two days ago in a town not far from Ferguson, MO another shooting took place. This was all caught on video. The man filming had no way of knowing what was about to take place. A man had placed two cans on the curb, they might have been beer, it was not clear, they might have been soda. He seemed to be waiting for a bus or was just standing around, he bothered none of the people that walked by, the man filming thought this was all very funny, he thought the man was singing to himself. Suddenly, a police car pulled up, two officers got out with guns pulled and told the man: "get on the ground, hands up ". He may have been belligerent, he may have challenged the order, but just as he was raising his hands, both cops emptied their guns directly into his body. This is not acceptable. We can not have police ready to shot because a citizen is rude or does not react fast enough to the order to raise their hands.

pam w (139)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 10:12 am
WE MISSED YOU, KIT! many unknowns and so many complexities to these events. It's just sad and WRONG...all around!

Craig Pittman (52)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 10:14 am
So very good to see you back here Kit. You have been missed.
The investigation into the shooting needs to be thorough, timely, and carried out by an outside agency.
You are right that the issue right now is that the body was left in the street. That just would not have happened in an upscale neighbourhood.
To me the bottom line on the shooting is that an unarmed young man was shot repeatedly. What kind of training do these police officers receive! As far as I am concerned everything else is irrelevant.
The images of the young man's body left for hours on the street and police dressed like front-line combat troops have all the hallmarks of third world police state. Surely we are better than this.

Lady S (446)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 10:42 am
Thanks for the forward GG.

Sheryl G (360)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 10:59 am
You are so correct Craig, if it had been in an upscale neighborhood the body would of been removed as quickly as possible after photos or whatever else was needed, but the body would not have lingered in the street that long. I feel it was to send a message, if not, they are an incompetent bunch and certainly lacked good judgement, empathy, and respect to the fact he was human and to his family.

I read somewhere on the other shooting you mention Kit that the man was known to have some mental issues and was known to those within the Community. If we had true Community policing they also would of known he was suffering from a mental illness. Too many of our mentally ill have been sent into society and out of the facilities and they are being abused by both the general society, the elements, and too many being killed by the law. This is another disgrace upon our Nation that we can't find ways to treat those who have medical issues of one sort or another.

The article reported he had a knife, and yes, that is a weapon but could they not have tasered him or one of the other police run up behind him and threw a net over him, hit him with their billy club, shot him in the leg or drew his attention while the other officer disarmed him somehow. I mean really, must every incident be fatal?

I had also posted an article to that which you speak of military equipment finding it's way into local departments and I'll leave the link here if anyone would like to read it.
How Americas Police Became An Army The 1033 Program

I also read in one of the articles that these police are not given adequate training on how to use this equipment which has been pointed out by many Veterans seeing the photos and video's of improper use. Many Veterans also stated that even in war zones they seldom had to point their weapons at the citizens and they are really appalled to see this being done to they said, they were in war zones in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Kit B (276)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 11:21 am

After the incident it was reported by police that he had a knife, however; the full video did not show a knife, only a man shot to death. A knife can be a lethal weapon, but police are trained to handle that, often without firing a shot. He might have mental illness, which is first an illness, we don't shoot people with cancer. Though people with any illness may behave erratically at times.

The problems we see bubbling over are deeply endemic social problems. As William Rivers Pitt also addressed, and should not be over looked. When the police fear that almost anyone could be armed with at least one gun, they react in accordance with that threat. Today, that might well be the fact.

Kathleen M (211)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 1:16 pm
Very sadly noted. Thanks for posting, Kit, and to GG for the forward. Heartbreaking...

Judy C (97)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 1:52 pm
Thanks for posting this very moving piece about this sad and heinous event, Kit.

Sheryl G (360)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 3:19 pm
Here is a petition for Kajieme Powell, the man who was shot with a mental illness.
Justice for Kajieme Powell: Tell St. Louis Police to Adopt Mental Health Training!

Yvonne White (229)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 4:57 pm
I watch too many crime shows on TV - Major Crimes especially - that all say "don't move the body until Investigators have seen the scene & taken pics, etc." So the fact the body was left in the street isn't the issue as much as What the hell took so long???? Proper "procedure" ???? Was it? *heavy sigh*

Ruby S (44)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 10:03 pm
Satan (Lucifer) has come to America, and the sad fact is that people don't know that they are possessed with evil spirits. Evil to put it mildly, is hatred, confusion, pathological, selfish, greed, and ingrained with the seven deadly sins, all coming from a black hole in the Soul. The people have gone astray, they don't have a conscience, empty, as if from another planet and can't fit in here on Earth. Too many are asleep, soon it will be too late for them when thy finally awake. Stay awake, pay attention, I wonder who opened the door to Hell?

Ruby S (44)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 10:11 pm
@kit, hell people who are not mentally ill act irrational, look around...the tea party, Republicans, people with no Souls, fighting, mayhem in the streets and all types of lying. A vast minority of persons walking around on this earth are mentally ill... they don't have the ability to change so they are stuck and because they are stuck, go mental on the first thing that they fear, and that is fear itself...fear inside causes all types of calamity.

Shirley S (187)
Saturday August 23, 2014, 11:52 pm
Returned veterans who become policemen. Makes me wonder if they are psychologically suited for the job. I wonder if anybody takes the time to evaluate police candidates ability to deal with local problems as apposed to problems in war zones.

Lois Jordan (63)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 1:44 pm
Noted w/thanks for posting, Kit. Yes, terribly sad. A human being left in the road. This should tear at the heart of all human beings. Compassion and empathy should bring us all to tears over this. Are there really so many with "hearts of cold stone?" I will agree with Ruby A.'s comment above, while knowing there is a thin line between mental illness and plain cruelty and evil.
Signed every petition Dandelion posted....thanks to her. And, excellent info regarding the Pentagon's 1033 program; which began in 1991 to help police forces in the "War On Drugs".....which transfers surplus equipment to local & state authorities. Since 2006 the Pentagon has transferred more than $4 billion of equipment to local & state agencies.

Vivian B (169)
Sunday August 24, 2014, 8:38 pm
The veterans that I have seen on the media talking about the MRAP's and other military vehicles that are used by the police forces of the US are not meant to be used in paved streets. They tear it up and leave the pavement with potholes everywhere! They are not meant for civilian use, so why are they even given to the local police forces in the first place? So that the ultra-armed cant take them out when, if ever they run into a band of people with equal armor! So stupid!!
Isn't there some way to bring the level of terror for the police down a bit? They are geared up for war and there is none!! Not here, unless they make it!
Thanks to Dandelion and all for who posted petitions!
Missed you, Kit! Glad you are back!!

Animae C (514)
Monday August 25, 2014, 12:01 am

Justice for Kajieme Powell
16,657 signatures

LaurenBackSoon Kozen (173)
Monday August 25, 2014, 12:42 am
This is so very sad. I am speechless.
Shared. Thanks for posting this Kit.

Jae A (316)
Wednesday August 27, 2014, 6:42 am
:-( for this nation of hate, greed, racism and it's political-military mindset that smothers our neighborhoods 24-7 .....Having heard the ramblings of the rightwing extremist talking heads and their supporters, extra loud and clear since 9/11, I think that for Republicans/Teabagers this all probably falls under the category of 'Mission Accomplished' ......

Mitchell D (87)
Wednesday August 27, 2014, 12:29 pm
Hi Kit, glad to see you back.
We do, indeed, live in "a very racist society." Pierce and Dos Passos got it right.
I have recommended a Pierce book, here, over the last couple of years, whose name escapes me now, but it might be "Idiot America..." or the one about the American love affair with war.
While you were gone, Kit, I posted a story about the militarization of the police in the country, found in Newsweek, soon after the Ferguson tragedy.
Left in the street for 4 hours...Inexcusable. We have passed the point of becoming a "Banana Republic!"

Nancy C (806)
Thursday August 28, 2014, 4:14 am
I think you're right Jae...Just after this incident, a fb person shared a video hailing the bravery and righteousness of cops...I hadn't heard of the 4 hr "viewing" (as a warning perhaps), but listened to the approvals here and there. I, and I know many of you too, am so sad about the climate of inclusion in the US. True, with friends of terrorism abiding here, awareness is key. But the alarmist, military violence has become the norm. Education of the police corp needs an overhaul. Every human has the right to life. Yes, the right to liberty may be questioned, but murder does not belong in commonplace, peaceful situations.

Anyway, thanx Kit for the additional and damning info. Welcome back to one of your homes!!!

Nancy C (806)
Thursday August 28, 2014, 4:16 am
PS...TY Dandelion. Had a/s all petitions! And I agree with Margaret in that the article is by a creative master...
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