The Argyle Independent School District in north Texas has started the 2014-15 school year, as KDAF-TV noted, “with guns blazing” — or, rather, with newly armed teachers who have been given the right to use them “to protect our students.”

KDAF reported that all teachers who are given a gun must obtain a license to carry it, pass a psychological evaluation and get training in how to use the weapon. Signs like the one above have been posted at all four of the schools in the small district.




This week’s column is, of course, about the chaos and brutality in Ferguson. I wrote it as a primer for those learning about the problem of police misconduct essentially for the first time, so you may find it useful to share with family and friends who are still figuring things out.

As the police use of tear gas and First Amendment limitations continue in Ferguson, Missouri—the small town wracked by protests following the still murky police killing of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown—there are a number of reasons to believe this story is just the tip of the iceberg.

Here are 5.

1. Because we only care about policy brutality when we’re forced to care.

Though the largely peaceful protests in Ferguson have unfortunately been tarnished by the actions of a few looters, its citizens have accomplished a rare feat: They have made the whole country care about police brutality.

Let’s face it: Normally, we don’t care enough. While libertarians have been talking about police militarization for years and the black community is well aware of racial bias in the justice system, most of us too easily forget, or are simply unaware of, the many cases of police misconduct that occur on a regular basis.

Here are stories from the last month alone:

  • EMTs have to stop four NYPD officers from beating a handcuffed, emotionally disturbed patient on a stretcher
  • Six Philadelphia police charged with robbery, extortion, and kidnapping
  • Harrisburg, PA police order a man with a video camera to leave the area while they body slam a drunk man
  • LAPD officers under investigation for ferociously kicking and punching a woman placed in a holding cell under suspicion of petty theft
  • NYPD officer charged with breaking into a woman’s apartment and beating her

Have you heard of any of these? I hadn’t. And without the protesters in Ferguson, Mike Brown would be just another entry on that much-abbreviated list of recent incidents.

2. Because we arm police like soldiers and then wonder why they act like soldiers. 

This is a topic which Radley Balko has amply addressed for years (seriously, read this), but this comment from the past week really nailed it:

Give a man access to drones, tanks, and body armor, and he’ll reasonably think that his job isn’t simply to maintain peace, but to eradicate danger. Instead of protecting and serving, police are searching and destroying.

Following the reports of police violence in Ferguson, President Obama and administration officials condemned police misconduct. But the fact is, they’re complicit: The military equipment, vehicles, and weapons which so often contribute to police brutality are frequently presents from the federal government (to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year, with minimal proof required that these weapons are in any sense “needed”).

The Pentagon has confirmed that some of the equipment used by police in Ferguson is from their stockpile.

Read the whole thing here.





5 disturbing facts about police militarization in America

Those cops in riot armor beating and tear-gassing protesters in Ferguson didn’t drop out of thin air. As American police continue to receive billions in military-grade equipment free or subsidized by the Pentagon and Homeland Security, they’ve predictably started to act more like a military force in hostile territory than the public’s protectors.

Facts from ACLU report show just how big the problem has become Follow micdotcom

Don’t you think cops are becoming more aggressive because the people they’re trying to protect are equally, if not more, aggressive? Also, grouping all cops again like one bad cop represents all of them.

For all of you who are just starting to wake up to what those crazy Conspiracy Theorists have been screaming about for years: Welcome to reality. This was all happening while you were watching the E! channel.

There’s a bit more to the last image than some people would like to come to grips with, but still.



A Democratic Missouri state senator representing parts of Ferguson who tweeted multiple times “fuck you,” at Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon defended her choice of words on Fox News Monday saying she did so because she was tear-gassed for three days.

“The reason why I used profane language is because he has allowed us to get tear-gassed for three days,” Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal said. “I am one of his senators in his party and he was at the state fair enjoying a country concert while we were getting teargassed and shot at. And yes, anyone who’s going to get teargassed deserves to say a few ‘F’ bombs here and there.”

“I represent my constituents, not Gov. Nixon,” the senator said. “He has been absent from the minority community his entire career and only comes before us when it is politically expedient for him. Or when he’s running for office, and because he has been outside of this community…let me tell you this, and this is important for your audience to know. He has still yet to come to ground zero. Yet to come to ground zero. He’s been in Florissant, he’s been in Normandy, but he has not spoken to the victims of the crisis we are dealing with and that is why I have called him a coward.”