My latest for Politico is on the nightmare of tension that is life these days in St. Louis:
St. Louis is in a rerun of a nightmare. Protesters are still being arrested by the dozens, with 144 arrested on Monday alone. Officers still patrol the streets with riot gear and pepper spray, deploying smoke bombs in an effort to break up demonstrations whose very existence points to the lack of change. The Oath Keepers, a largely white paramilitary group, have returned, perching on the rooftops of Ferguson’s West Florissant Avenue with rifles in hand while police stand idly by. On Monday, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger proclaimed a “state of emergency” reminiscent of the one enacted last fall, once again prompting school cancellations and other disruptions of daily life.
We are living August 2014 again. We are living November 2014 again. We are living in a place where the only lesson learned seems to be how much people can get away with.
It has been a year since the killing of Michael Brown and the violence that erupted in the aftermath of his death. In August 2014, the protests and the outrage were spontaneous. Today, protests are organized by professional activists in advance, and the police response is equally choreographed. The national media swarm the streets, some arriving only after the shooting and looting on Sunday signaled a ratings bonanza in wait. Ferguson is a national story, but what is missed is that the police response is intended for the people of St. Louis.
Read the whole thing, “Ferguson’s Never-Ending Nightmare”, in Politico