I started this, oh, a couple of weeks ago, and never did finish it, as things got a bit odd here at home. Here’s what I did write, though.
August is the mad time, the dead time.
But August is not what’s wrong in Ferguson, although there is both madness and death there.
The death is that of Michael Brown, and the potential death of so many others there, every night that weapons are aimed and tear gas thrown, but the madness is not that of the protestors and crowds.
The madness is the increased militarization of police in a world where cops are safer than they have been at any time in almost a century and a half. The madness is the cops behaving as if they are in a war zone when violent crime has been falling for decades. The madness is the police deciding that the people they are sworn to protect and serve are enemy combatants.
The madness is also racism. The personal racism of individual police officers (and their supporters across the country, the racism of Darren Wilson, but also the institutional racism embodied in a police force of 54 members were 3 are black, in a town where the population is 67% black. The racism of a national media and audience that seeks to put the victim on trial because he’s black rather than his white killer.