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At first it was "just" another tragic shooting of a minority kid by a white cop in a area that is 2/3 black, yet 50 out of 53 of the cops are white. But things have gone from a normal level of horrible, to a more serious level of really horrible.
There are deeply disturbing things happening in the aftermath of the shooting. Several factors point towards the adoption of the "Miami Model" by "local" police. The Miami Model is a fairly sophisticated, yet also simple set of tactics that the police have been using for over a decade to clamp down on protest. You can find out about it here:
In Ferguson, the police have really gone for the militarization stuff including the armored personal carriers, what look to me like guns more fit for war then crowd control, as well as masks, no ID, full body armor, etc. The police are making preemptive arrests, blocking off areas, and treating journalists who are not "embedded" as criminals. They are also pushing many of the common propaganda lines of the Miami Model, such as "bad outsiders disrupting local peaceful protests", "good people stay home", "allowed vs forbidden protests" etc. I can say from my own personal experience, as well as following large scale protest events for over ten years, that the whole thing is horse s!&+!
At almost every major event the Miami Model is used, the corporate media play along, a "good protester" march is allowed, then the cops beat up and jail people on a massive scale. Usually the cases are thrown out of court on basic constitutional grounds. Years later, the arrested and assaulted collectively get millions from tax payers, the police in charge get promoted, and the whole thing gets repeated in the next city.
What is happening in Ferguson is especially disturbing because of the rapid nature of the use of the Miami Model. Normally it takes a while to build up, but it seems to have happened overnight in Ferguson. I can basically guarantee that the local cops got some serious assistance from someone at a Federal level, in much the same way that they got help to crush the Occupy movement. I can also guarantee that this isn't the last time a response like this will happen at a smaller and more local level.
Finally, there is the old saying about hard hats making hard heads. When you dress people up like stormtroopers (Nazi stormtroopers, not the fun kind) guess what? They act the part. Expect them to treat the local citizens as enemy combatants, right down to the detention and later advanced interrogation techniques. You didn't expect that stuff to just end overseas did you? The guys doing it over there came home, joined the police, and are willing to please there commanding officers.
One last thing- I had heard something about St Louis reaching an agreement back in the day between The Powers and The People in regards to maintaining a level of peace. Seems like shooting an unarmed teenager violated that agreement, and rather then make peace, The Powers is doubling down on violence. I think this could lead to a much larger scale problem unless some serious negotiation/restitution takes place.