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Missouri Governor Exchanges Militarized Police For The Military

In the days following the shooting of an unarmed black man by a Ferguson Police officer, the Ferguson Police Department received criticism for their heavily militarized equipment and aggressive tactics. These actions included arresting reporters and bombarding a news crews with tear gas. In an attempt to restore order, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon brought in the Highway Patrol. Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ronald S. Johnson’s tried to ease tensions by walking amongst the protesters and listening to their grievances. The change in police tactics calmed tensions briefly, but it was not long before looting and property destruction erupted again.

It seemed odd that the Highway Patrol prioritized managing the mostly peaceful protests over defense the private property of Missouri citizens. When looting escalated again, Gov. Nixon responded by instituting a midnight curfew.

Yesterday in The Morning Roar, I discussed how curfews do not mesh with libertarian principles, and the reaction to curfews in Ferguson verifies that curfews are not practically applicable to real life situations. In Ferguson, the curfew served to further inflame the situation and generated more animosity towards the police. This is probably due to the fact that the police continued to prioritize clearing protesters from the streets by the designated time over the defense of property and individual rights.

After the strong-arm techniques of the Ferguson Police Department and the curfew enforced by the Highway Patrol failed to stabilize the town, Gov. Nixon lifted the curfew and called in the Missouri National Guard to take over security in Ferguson.

The entire chain of events – from “militarized” local cops to the deployment of the National Guard – is dripping with irony. First, the local Ferguson police were criticized for being too “militarized,” now the Governor has called in the actual military to patrol the streets.

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This whole situation

should be eye-opening for the general public as to the dangers of an over militarized police force and how quickly government steps in to maintain their control.