Remember in the days that followed the resolution of the Boston Bombing, when we all discussed my observation that the real takeaway from the whole incident was that, in a matter of a day, a major American City had been closed, and suddenly, we were seeing major militarized actions being carried out on the streets.
Now, the reasoning there was a noble one, where bad people had done an evil act, and needed to be caught. So, the public in general, gave it a pass.
Now, a year and a half later, we are all seeing the second large scale round of this action, as it is playing out on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.
The Pentagon, without much notice, started having a big fire sale in the mid-90s, letting local law enforcement agencies purchase all the extra materials lying around, and thus militarizing themselves.
Then fast forward to a rapidly passed, lightly considered Patriot Act 13 years ago, that gave motivation and justification for such a move.
To their credit, a lot of local law enforcement were wise enough not to flaunt their new G.I. Joe cartoon looking ramp up of tools to use against the local population. In fact, most people in most cities and towns likely have no clue whether or not their local forces have extra force.
In Asheville, in late 2013, over in the area of town that looks a little like that area of Ferguson, MO, the APD spent around 20 hours in the coldest of cold weather, with their souped up gear, in a standoff with a man who refused to come out of his house. In the standoff, we got to see some nice armored type materials on display, as well as one of those little bomb dismantling type robots.
And we were a bit surprised.
We shouldn't be.
Now, in Ferguson, there's a lot of outrage over a highly-suspect incident, where a Police Officer gunned down an African American teen.
In the aftermath, and the lack of a forthcoming Police Department, the people in that community got angry and came out to confront what they feared was about to be a massive cover up (dare I say, "white wash").
The situation was instantly mismanaged by local law officials, and within a matter of hours, it has escalated.
Now, we are looking at something akin to the 1992 LA Riots, busting loose in Middle America.
The police seem to not care that they look pretty bad, and are looking worse with every passing hour.
Media is all over it, and have now been part of the Police brutality, as Reporters have been physically man-handled, and tear-gassed by the heavily armed units that are pressing down on the angry crowds.
My questions: What has taken so long for higher officials to get involved?
We're hearing from President Obama today, but I am a bit stunned that the Mayor of Ferguson, or the Governor of Missouri have just let this unfold, and quickly get out of control.
We are becoming a militarized thuggish police state, and this is a much clearer warning sign than people saw Boston 2013 to be.