Ferguson Roundup

Throughout the month of August, I'm aiming to write 25 blog posts. This is post #12 of 25. Find them all in the "blogathon 2014" category.

Content warning: Police brutality, violence, racism.

My heart hurts.

It’s been a week and a half since police in Ferguson, MO shot and killed Mike Brown, an unarmed black teenager. A week and a half later, and the system has devolved into a nightmare. Police responded to what were originally nonviolent protests with riot gear and military equipment and tactics. They’re using tear gas and firing rubber bullets. A curfew has been instilled. The Ferguson police seem to care little for the Constitution; peaceful protesters have reportedly been forced to stay on the move if they want to protest, violating their right to assemble, and police have arrested journalists and interfered with their work. It’s so bad that Amnesty International has, for the first time in its 53-year history, deployed a team of observers inside the United States–in this case, to collect information on what’s going on.

There’s so much that’s wrong with this. First and foremost is the blatant racism at work–Mike Brown’s murder was only the latest in a string of shootings committed by white Americans against young black Americans. Once again, America has proven that it views the lives of black teenagers as disposable, that they don’t deserve justice or fair trials, that they could be executed on the street by any white cop who thinks they look suspicious. It’s fucked.

Then there’s the terrifying amount of police power on display. This, like nothing else in the last few years, has illustrated how damn militarized our police forces have become–and what happens when you blur the lines between police and military. Seeing the police ganging up, turning on civilians, trampling on civil rights, and treating an American city like a warzone and American citizens like enemy combatants… it chills me to the bone. This is not how democracy works. This is not an acceptable use of state power. But this is what we’ve allowed to be built in this country.

All of this is weighing on me, and I feel an obligation to write a blog post about it; to write all of my remaining blog posts about it, but I don’t think that’s feasible. In lieu of that, here are a number of important links about the situation in Ferguson that you should read. Continue reading


Throughout the month of August, I'm aiming to write 25 blog posts. This is post #10 of 25. Find them all in the "blogathon 2014" category.

I am not afraid of the bogeymen.

This summer, my landlord was arrested for possession of child pornography. My reaction was mixed. Revulsion, yes. Disappointment. Pity. That deep melancholy that accompanies a reminder of the world’s dark corners. I felt a lot of emotions, none of them happy.

But even on the day I found out, when I saw his pathetic mugshot and imagined how fundamentally unsettled the parents in our building must have been to hear the news, even when my blood was hottest, if you had asked me to grant the government wide-reaching powers to capture other people like my landlord… I would have said no.

Sexual predators. Pedophiles. Terrorists. These are the bogeymen they warn us of. “Beware,” they hiss, and they gesture at the dark, foreboding closet as their grip on our shoulder grows painfully tight.

I am not afraid of the bogeymen. What I fear is something else entirely. Continue reading