“What transpired in the streets appeared to be a kind of municipal version of shock and awe,” writes Jelani Cobb at the New Yorker.
Cobb brings us to street level. He explains how the killing of Michael Brown by a police officer whose name has still not been revealed has ignited passionate community protests as well as an aggressive, military-grade police effort to control the protesters. We hear from activists and residents who give us context, helping us understand the community’s anger and the absurdity of the police response.
The day began with questions about why a young man was killed just days before he was due to begin college. It ended as a referendum on the militarization of American police forces. There is a feedback loop of recrimination playing in the streets of Ferguson. With the thinnest of rationales, the police here responded to community anger in the self-justifying language of force, under circumstances that call for a more humane tongue.