Tag Archives: Ferguson Mo.

This man needs an intervention

Bill Press is a Democratic Party operative. He’s as partisan as they come.

Thus, it is with keen interest that I share this Facebook post that Press put out there.


Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I have a man crush on Rand Paul.

Yes, it’s enough to drive me to confession: Every day I find myself agreeing more and more with the Libertarian from Kentucky. He may be running for president as a Republican, but he says some things that any liberal Democrat could support.

Who’s the leading champion to shut down NSA’s vast phone spying operation? Rand Paul!

Who blames Republican hawks, not Barack Obama, for the Iraq War and the eventual rise of ISIS? Rand Paul!

On the environment, Rand Paul says: “You’ll find I’m a tree hugger, literally…I compost.”

On Ferguson, Missouri, Rand Paul said: “The police department showed up in grear more fitting for Fallujah or Kandahar.”

And on the Republican Party, Rand Paul says: “Right now, the Republican brand sucks.”

No wonder I have such a man crush on Rand Paul. But I’d feel a lot less guilty – if he’d just run as a Democrat!


It’s rather weird, but I am feeling the same kind of “man crush” myself about Sen. Paul.

However, I’m not a paid partisan hack. I’m just a guy out here flapping my proverbial jaws about politics and other things.

Bill Press is finding himself being drawn into saying nice things about a Republican against his partisan loyalties, given that he works for Democrats, who pay him real American money to offer them political advice.

Therefore, I am thinking he needs an intervention.

Am I likely to vote for Paul should he obtain the GOP presidential nomination? Probably not.

Then again …


Armored car joins sheriff's force

Randall County, Texas, is where I live. It is a nice place, full of nice folks. It has its share of soreheads and criminals, but it’s not a place thought to be a haven for violence.

And yet …

The county sheriff’s department has just purchased — are you ready? — an armored car.

It’s one of those beastly vehicles associated, say, with battlefields. You know, places where enemy soldiers fire big-time ordnance at each other.


Sheriff Joel Richardson, a good guy and one of the top cops in Texas, has purchased a Lenco BearCat. The armored car is designed for ultimate protection and defense.

I’ll hand it to Richardson, though, for recognizing the public relations hurdle his department must clear.

According to NewsChannel 10: “Richardson’s biggest concern is making sure the public realizes the department is not trying to militarize law enforcement.”

“This is a vehicle not intended for aggression, this is a vehicle that is intended to make our community safer and to save lives,” said the sheriff.

Interesting, don’t you think?

The police in Ferguson, Mo., deployed some pretty heavy equipment when citizens there rioted after a young black man was shot to death by a white police officer. Critics then called Ferguson’s response a bit overheated.

Indeed, little ol’ Randall County’s crime issues seem tepid compared to what the cops in Ferguson faced.

If the armored car is intended to “make our community safer,” as Sheriff Richardson insists, then he’d be wise to keep it under wraps until all hell breaks loose. I’ve lived here slightly more than 20 years and have yet to see anything close to that happening.


Does this guy fit into the 'punk' category?

Jeremy Williams is now at the center of a controversy that doesn’t seem set to fade away.

He’s been arrested in connection with the shooting of two white police officers in Ferguson, Mo., a community beset with racial tension since the shooting death of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson; Brown was a young African-American man, while Wilson is a white former Ferguson cop.


Now comes Jeremy Williams. He’s black. He all but admitted to shooting the police officers, both of whom suffered non-life-threatening wounds.

Williams’s defense? He was shooting at someone else, not the officers.

Oh, here’s another thing: The young man is on probation for receiving stolen property. He’s not supposed to be carrying a firearm.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder described whoever shot the officers as a “punk.” Jeremy Williams appears to fit that description. Yes, there may be a whole host of extenuating circumstances that have led this young man to take the wrong path into adulthood. “This arrest sends a clear message that acts of violence against our law enforcement personnel will never be tolerated,” Holder said.

What’s more, as a prosecutor said after announcing the young man’s arrest, it doesn’t matter one bit whether he intended to shoot the officers or was aiming at someone else, he’s been accused of committing a Class A felony.


Ferguson shooting suspect in custody

That didn’t take long.

Just a few days after two Ferguson, Mo., police officers were ambushed, authorities have arrested a suspect in connection with the crime.

He is 20-year-old Jeffrey Williams.


Let’s allow the system now to do its work.

Williams is accused of wounding the two officers who were watching a demonstration involving much of the recent racial tension that has gripped the St. Louis suburban community. This is where a young black man was shot to death by a white police officer; a grand jury declined to indict the officer for the young man’s death; violent protests erupted; the officer quit the police force; and the Justice Department has decided against pursuing federal civil rights charges against the officer.

Against that backdrop, someone shot the officers.

Williams told authorities he was shooting at someone else with whom he was having a disagreement. St. Louis County officials aren’t buying the story.

Whatever, this case has taken another bizarre turn.

I’m just hoping we can determine the guilt or innocence of a young man accused of a terrible crime.

As U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said, whoever did this is nothing more than a “punk.”

Well, even punks deserve fair justice.


Timing of Ferguson decision is more than curious

This isn’t an original thought; it comes from a friend of mine who posted it on Facebook … but I’ll share it here.

He wonders why the prosecutor in Ferguson, Mo., waited until 8 p.m. — well after dark — to tell the nation that the grand jury decided against prosecuting the white police officer in the death of the black youth this past summer.

Why the question? Well, my friend said that “night time is riot time.”

Officer Darren Wilson still might face federal prosecution in the death of Michael Brown. We’ll wait for that drama to play out.

But the town of Ferguson erupted last night in violence after the prosecutor’s announcement.

It makes me wonder: Couldn’t he have announced that he would wait until morning to reveal the grand jury’s decision? Would an announcement made in broad daylight have perhaps calmed tensions just a little?

As the late great slugger Ted Williams used to say about hitting a baseball: Timing is everything.

So, too, it might be in delivering emotionally charged news to an anxious public.


About that calm response in Ferguson …

Well, so much for calmness and reason in the wake of a grand jury’s decision.

A panel returned a no-bill in the case involving Police Officer Darren Wilson, who shot Michael Brown to death in Ferguson, Mo. Wilson is white, Brown was black. The incident touched off a series of protests, often violent. The cops made a mess of putting down the initial unrest. Questions have arisen about whether the African-American community gets a fair shake in Ferguson.


The case went to the grand jury, which Monday night returned its non-indictment. Wilson won’t be prosecuted for any crime.

The most tragic part of the response has been the damage done to innocent people. Their businesses have been looted, destroyed by stones and fire. People have been physically injured. The rage goes on. And for what purpose?

Michael Brown’s father pleaded for calm, asking residents to resist the temptation to strike back. Don’t like Michael die “in vain,” he said. President Obama echoed the sentiment late Monday after the decision came down, but noted that the nation can have a rational conversation about police-community relations.

Where has the reason and the calmness gone?


Grand jury no-bill is in; let calm prevail

This might be too much to ask, but I’ll ask it anyway.

Can the good folks of Ferguson, Mo., resist the urge to damage people’s property and injure fellow human beings in the wake of the grand jury’s decision to decline prosecution of a white police officer who shot a black youth to death this past summer?

The grand jury returned the no-bill decision this evening in the case of Officer Darren Wilson; the dead teen is Michael Brown.

The town has been the subject of intense media scrutiny ever since the shooting. There’s been a lot of anxiety, anger and tension in the town ever since. The media have contributed to much of the tension, in my view, with its incessant coverage of the event, the aftermath, and the potential for violence if the grand jury made the decision it did today.

Yes, there have been some key questions asked about the state of police relations with the African-American community — in Ferguson and in cities and towns across the country. They are valid questions that ask whether African-American youth are treated the same as other youth by the police.

Let’s examine those questions.

As for the reaction to the no-bill, let’s also understand that the shop owner, the restaurant proprietor or the average Joe aren’t culpable. They’re all innocent victims of random violence that has erupted as a result of past perceived injustices.

We need not create more of them.



Ferguson, Mo., waits … amid tension

Allow me to pose what I believe is a fair question: Are the media contributing to the tension that has gripped a small Missouri suburban community by the throat?

Much of the nation is awaiting a grand jury decision on whether to indict a white police officer who shot a black teenager to death in the St. Louis suburb.

At issue is whether the grand jury will indict Officer Darren Wilson for his role in the shooting of Michael Brown.


Honest to goodness, I have no clue as to whether Wilson committed a crime, or whether the grand jury is going to indict him. The case has drawn considerable — and intense — attention from many Americans who live far from the town.

The case spawned disturbances in its aftermath. Now, the grand jury’s pending decision has folks on edge.

All the cable and broadcast news networks have staked out the place. They’re providing non-stop, 24/7 coverage of it. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency and has deployed the National Guard in case all hell breaks loose once the panel makes its decision public.

My concern here is that the media attention only feeds the unease and well could prompt a violent response if the grand jury, for example, returns a no-bill — meaning that Wilson would not be prosecuted for any crime.

Of course a violent demonstration would be a shameful response. Michael Brown’s father has called for calm and for that he is to be saluted. I would hope the community would heed the wise words of a grieving father.

I also wish the media would find a way to report these stories without such apparent breathlessness. I hope for the best, but fear the worst.



Tired of the Ferguson story

Let’s discuss this one a little.

OK, I’ll start. I am tired of the Ferguson, Mo., story. Does anyone else out there share that thought?

We know many of the facts already. A young African-American man, Michael Brown, was shot to death by a white police officer in the St. Louis suburb. Residents protested. The protests got violent. The Ferguson police responded with a very heavy hand. The state police took over. The governor declared a curfew and called out the National Guard to keep the peace.

The cable news networks have been all over this story. They’re covering it like a blanket. 24/7, or so it seems.

I’m weary of it.

The Ferguson story, I think, gets to the heart of what sometimes ails TV journalism. Reporters get fixated on stories and then beat them into the ground.

I grew tired of the Trayvon Martin story, which had a similar context. I grew sick and tired of the Natalie Holloway story — remember her? She was the Alabama teenager who disappeared in Aruba. The networks were all over that one for seemingly forever. I got sick of the Malaysia Airlines jetliner disappearance story. CNN was the worst, reporting “breaking news” when none existed. One news anchor asked someone if it was possible if the plane flew into a black hole; he was then reminded by the guest that a black hole would swallow the entire solar system.

What am I missing in this Ferguson story?

It’s not that that my heart isn’t broken over the death of the teenager. Or that the police made a mess of their response to the protests. Or that the state police captain who’s taken charge of things hasn’t acted with nobility and courage. I get all of that. I’d like answers to questions surrounding the militarization of the police department and whether minorities are being targeted unfairly by police. How about the Ferguson political structure? It needs to change. A majority black community needs more African-Americans in positions of authority.

I just cannot watch it at length any longer. I’ve grown tired of the media saturation, just as I tired of one cable network’s obsession with the Benghazi tragedy in Libya and its coverage of the IRS non-scandal.

Is there something wrong with me?

I’m all ears.

Community vs. military policing

When Jerry Neal became chief of the Amarillo Police Department in 1981, he introduced a concept that was still fairly new in departments across the nation.

It is called “community policing.” It puts officers in close contact with residents. It encourages more person-to-person contact, seeking to make cops more like best pals rather than intimidating forces to be feared.

If given a choice between community police strategies and a military-style presence in our streets, I’ll stick with the former rather than the latter.

Now we hear that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has the authority to cease giving surplus military equipment to police departments. Mr. Secretary, stop the practice at least until the nation gets a clear and full understanding of what has gone so terribly wrong in Ferguson, Mo.


“The secretary has the authority to rescind and take back equipment that is transferred to local law enforcement agencies if he deems fit. He has that authority,” said Pentagon Rear Adm. John Kirby.

I believe Hagel should “deem fit” a suspension of the policy that provides police agencies the surplus equipment.

Police militarization has become one of the focal points of the Ferguson upheaval, after a young black man was shot to death by a white police officer in the suburb of St. Louis. The cops responded initially with officers donning body armor and weaponry befitting a Green Beret platoon or SEAL team. Let’s just say it didn’t play well in the community.

Emotions will have to settle down considerably in Ferguson for any meaningful change to take hold.

When it’s all over, I’d settle gladly for more community policing efforts in all departments.

Maybe someone ought to call Jerry Neal, who’s now retired, and ask him for some sage advice on how this principle works.