Ferguson, Missouri. Hash tag holyshit! Hash tag handledwrong. Stories of fear drenched incompetence have made their way online. Wrongly accused people have been arrested. People have been gassed and beaten. If it wasn’t before, the divide that between races is now a fucking schism and a very fucking large one at that. What started out as reportedly peaceful protest has flipped to one hundred percent bat shit crazy. How could it not when police show up looking like soldiers.
I wasn’t there. All my information is coming from the internet, which means I have a more honest understanding of what happened than if I watched Fox News. Images and reports trickled in on my twitter feed early Wednesday evening. I clicked a few. My heart sank as I saw images of police officers armed as soldiers. Helmets, vests, big guns and even sniper rifles. Sniper Rifles? Is that an armored vehicle considered a van or a tank? Did the defense department have a yard sale? Where they hell did police officers get all of this gear?
What started out as a trickle soon became a flood. Soon I was doing nothing else but watching twitter and gleaning all that I could. What I saw happening looked as if it couldn’t be happening in my home country. In a state the neighbors the one that I am from. In a city with a population close to two that I once lived in.
How could we have fallen so far? Incessant need for inquests and more and more legislation. Bi partisan bullshit, not just at the government level, but all the way down to the lowliest voter. A government that has quit putting its citizens first or rather tried to protect them from the terrorists to the point that is has become a detriment. Stagnation and separation of community. Lastly – and please stick with me – a love for guns and fire power that has become more of a perverse enthusiasm for exercising our right to bare arms.
All of those reasons are really caused by one thing. Fear. Especially fear of the unknown. Fear that bills need to be written to protect us. Fear that the other side of politics is going to destroy this country. Fear of terrorism to the point that we have turned the guns on ourselves. Fear of people and other races to an effect that we just stay home and don’t talk to anyone. Fear that everyone has guns and we are the only ones that protect ourselves.
How do we combat fear of the unknown? Baby steps. Due to the severity of the situation, baby steps in fast forward. Republicans, let a Democrat hug you. Democrats, let a Republican take you out for a few rounds, alcohol or guns. Cities, start having festivals and community events that mix different cultures and races. There will be haters at first. Don’t let them crush these events. Police these events properly. By that I mean, make sure a significant amount of regular old police officers are visible. Its amazing what having some authority figures visible will deter. Nulling the need for a militarized response.
Soon after we start talking again we will start accepting or at least being respectful of others beliefs and views. Then it is only a matter of time before fear begins to fade. In response maybe some of the guns can be laid down and police forces can be demilitarized. We will quit telling representatives how scared we are. Government will quit doing things to protect us that actually end up scaring us even more.