Michael Brown’s parents, along with other geopolitical/criminological experts like Tef-Poe (is that a cardigan?), are currently attending meetings in Geneva, Switzerland in reference to supposed American Police abuses. In honor of their noble efforts, I thought I would help give them an international perspective with which to frame their arguments. While decrying the militarization of the police and in particular the militarization of American riot police, I thought it would also be wise to bring up a number of other more progressive countries with police forces who have engaged in actions in recent history which may have been forgotten. Forgive my following attempt at humor:
The following pictures are from Vancouver, British Columbia during the riots from 2011. During the events of unrest, Vancouver police deployed riot police (1)(2)(3)(5), wearing riot armor (1)(2)(3)(5), wielding riot clubs (aka murder sticks)(1)(2), deployed tear gas (a chemical weapon)(4), assault riot weapons (which only the military use)(2)(3), rubber bullets (7), and armored riot vehicles (only useful in running people over)(5). They also wore uniforms which obscured their name tags and a few individuals had the audacity to block their faces with balaclavas (1)(2)(3)(5)! Clearly the police here were trying to hide their identities so their individual abuses could not be reported!
2.) United KingdomIn 2011, during the riots in London, the police also utilized riot police (1)(2), wearing riots armor (helmets, tactical vests, and pads)(1)(2), wielding riot clubs (1)(2), deployed tear gas (2), obscured their nameplates and faces (1), and utilized armored riot vehicles (3)(4).
3.) SwitzerlandWhile the Michael Brown supporters are protesting supposed American Police abuses in Geneva, they should take time to protest the same actions by Geneva Police that are supposedly so reprehensible for American Police. Back in 2009, Police in Geneva, Switzerland engaged protesters at the World Trade Organization with riot police wearing intimidating and antagonizing riot gear (1)(2), without wearing nameplates (1), wielding riot clubs (1)(2), and deployed tear gas (2). They also used rubber bullets while making arrests.
The only logical conclusion to be drawn from this information is that the police in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland must disarm! Demilitarize Canada! Demilitarize the United Kingdom! Demilitarize Switzerland!
The above evidence is just further proof that the cries of abuse against protesters have been baseless. As evidenced above, the response has not been excessive, nor unusual for the circumstances. What’s more, the areas in question, London, Vancouver, and Geneva are not known for gun crime like St. Louis is and these incidents of rioting were not enhanced with an exclamation of gunfire as was commonplace in Ferguson. Furthermore:
- -In 2013, there were 6 homicides in the city of Vancouver, BC.
- -In 2010, there were 53 homicides in Geneva, Switzerland.
- -In 2013, in London there were 69 homicides
- -In 2013, in St. Louis there were 120 homicides in the city alone.
That’s not per capita. That’s raw events for cities with the following populations:
- -Vancouver Metro – 2.4 Million, City – 600k
- -Geneva Metro Equivalent – 915k – 196k
- -London Metro 13 Million, City – 8 Million
- -St. Louis Metro 2.8 Million, City -319k
Source: Wiki (sue me)
What’s more, the majority of our murders in St. Louis are gun crimes, so on top of beating out other locations in terms of homicide incidents, our incidents are committed more regularly due to the ease and availability of firearms. Why would common tactics be okay for safer jurisdictions but not for those of us in a far more dangerous environment?
Of course, the bottom line is that the “police abuse” argument is being utilized by protesters and the media because a lot of people really want the St. Louis County Police to be the bad guys in this story. Unfortunately, at this stage in the game, we’re past discussing facts. We live in a world in which people like Amnesty International still spread lies like the one in their report that Mike Brown was executed by Darren Wilson with no prior conflict and without Wilson so much as exiting his car. This level of bias is forgiven by the media and by the protesters because it supports the narrative they have committed themselves toward.
The common argument that riot gear AKA militarization is somehow indicative of an American Police mentality that leads toward violence is utterly asinine when viewed from an international lens. That lens is even clearer when the same militarized gear is used in areas like those listed above which are undeniably safer places than St. Louis. We’re not talking about Latin America or the Middle East. The nations I compared above are first world countries not known for violent nor gun crime.
The indignation of the protesters in terms of riot response and riot gear is being repeated in the lead up to the Grand Jury announcement with complaints about the purchase of gear and the utilization of training. There is persistent whining within the protester community (not to be confused with the Ferguson community) that the police are preparing for war with Ferguson. You don’t get to threaten war with a cry of, “no justice, no peace” and then be surprised when people prepare to defend themselves from your threats.