TIME Guns

9-Year-Old Girl Accidentally Shoots, Kills Instructor at Gun Range

The operator says it allows supervised children age eight and up to handle weapons

A nine-year-old girl accidentally shot and killed a shooting range instructor in Arizona, police say.

Charles Vacca, 39, was instructing the girl on how to use an automatic Uzi on Monday when the girl, who was accompanied by her parents, pulled the trigger and then lost control of the weapon, the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Tuesday. Vacca was shot in the head and died of his injuries.

Sam Scarmardo, the operator of the shooting range Last Stop where the accident occurred, said the range allows accompanied children age eight and older to handle weapons.

He said Vacca, a longtime military veteran, had been working at the range for roughly two years. Scarmardo also said the range had not had an accident since it was opened more than a decade ago.

The girl’s parents were recording the tutorial on their cell phones when the incident occurred and handed the footage over to authorities, according to Scarmardo.

TIME Crime

National Guard Pulled From Ferguson After Night of Relative Calm

Soldiers from the Missouri National Guard stand in front of their Humvee vehicle outside a Burger King restaurant, operated by Burger King Worldwide Inc., as they man an entrance to a temporary police command center in Ferguson, Missouri, U.S., on Aug. 20, 2014.
Soldiers from the Missouri National Guard stand in front of their Humvee vehicle outside a Burger King restaurant as they man an entrance to a temporary police command center in Ferguson, Missouri on Aug. 20, 2014. Luke Sharrett—Bloomberg/Getty Images

“As we continue to see improvement, I have ordered the Missouri National Guard to begin a systematic process of withdrawing from the City of Ferguson.”

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered the National Guard to withdraw from Ferguson, Mo., on Thursday, as tension in the area appeared to cool off Wednesday evening for the first time in nearly a week.

“As we continue to see improvement, I have ordered the Missouri National Guard to begin a systematic process of withdrawing from the City of Ferguson,” Nixon said in a statement.

Nixon dispatched the National Guard to the St. Louis suburb Monday to help respond to protests that have rocked the area since a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, on Aug. 9. Nixon said the National Guard’s mission would be limited to protecting a police Unified Command Center near the site of nightly protests, which he said had been attacked during previous violence.

Ferguson’s protests have been mostly peaceful during the day, but have generally erupted into violence at night. However, people demonstrated in relative calm Wednesday, with rainy weather likely contributing to a smaller turnout among demonstrators. Earlier in the day, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder arrived in Ferguson and met with Brown’s family.

The National Guard had been operating under the authority of Missouri State Highway Patrol, which was charged with leading security in the city after the heavily-equipped local police force on the scene came under increasing scrutiny for its tactics.

“I greatly appreciate the men and women of the Missouri National Guard for successfully carrying out the specific, limited mission of protecting the Unified Command Center so that law enforcement officers could focus on the important work of increasing communication within the community, restoring trust, and protecting the people and property of Ferguson,” Nixon said.

TIME

A White Gay Man and a Black Woman Hug It Out

Steve Friess & Courtney Jones Stevens

In the name of an open dialogue on race, two sides of a divisive opinion try to come together in an online chat

Last month, Time.com posted a piece, “Dear Black Women: White Gays Are Your Allies, So Don’t Push Us Away,” by regular contributor Steve Friess responding to University of Mississippi student Sierra Mannie’s op-ed, “Dear White Gays: Stop Stealing Black Female Culture,” also published on Time.com.

The reaction to both pieces was explosive, proving how large the racial divide remains in America and how different the perspectives are of even well-intended people of both sides.

After engaging with his dissenters, Friess asked one of the women with whom he exchanged emails to have an on-the-record chat, in the name of an “open dialogue about race.” Courtney Jones-Stevens, a 26-year-old who recently earned a master’s degree in college student affairs administration from the University of Georgia.

Their conversation has been edited for space and approved by both parties.

* * *

SF: Good afternoon, Courtney. How are you?

CJS: I’m not feeling especially peaceful today in general considering what all has transpired in Missouri, but I’m ready for some insightful discourse.

SF: So is this a good time to have a dialogue on race relations in America?

CJS: It’s a good time for white allies to get into white communities and do some educating.

SF: Well, that’s a good segue to why we’re talking in the first place. I wrote a piece that I had hoped was a way of describing the commonalities between white gay men and black women and why we ought to be allies. I felt the original writer, Sierra Mannie, singled out a pretty small group of people—white gay men maybe make up one percent of all non-black people— for ridicule and attack.

CJS: Correct.

SF: Please tell me as best you can what you found wrong about what I said.

CJS: I know the title set the tone as directive and patronizing.

SF: I agree the headline was specifically problematic. It was, however, written as a parallel to the title of Mannie’s piece. Do you see the reverse problem of tone and disrespect?

CJS: I do empathize. I can see parallels in the casting out of gay White men and Black women. But for many Black women, race and gender exists in a strange space. What resonated from Mannie’s piece was that, although you may not be one of them, there are plenty of gay White men who at least make attempts to emulate Black women. You felt she was speaking to you even though you say you aren’t one of those men, and that speaks volumes to how privilege works.

SF: The discussion of privilege is frustrating because black people don’t want their world views, worth or ideas boiled down or dismissed based on their color. Yes, I’m white. And male. And gay. And disabled. And Jewish. Why does my perspective become invalid because of some of my traits?

CJS: Not invalid, but you can never understand what it is to be Black in America, to be forever objectified and subjugated. Mannie didn’t come from a place of disdain but exhaustion. I cannot tell you how many experiences I’ve had with microaggressions, with decent white folks who assume things about me and approach me or respond to me accordingly.

SF: You say many white gay guys emulate black women. I don’t believe there are so many, but if there are some, so what? Anyone admiring and celebrating black female culture would seem like people who are not out to harm you.

CJS: Steve, if someone says, “X is offensive and it’s not taken as you might have intended,” and your objective is to forge an alliance, your respond cannot be, “So what?” Do you know how many times I get “Whaddup sistah girl?!” and my white counterparts get a simple, “Hello.” Or how many times I’ve been asked to teach someone how to twerk. It’s just exhausting. This is from white gay men in the work place, in bars and clubs, etc.

SF: You must understand that that sounds completely bizarre and alien to me. And most gay white men I know.

CJS: Maybe it’s regional. I doubt it is. In the South, using blackness and being adjacent to black things is a cash cow.

SF: Do white straight men do this?

CJS: Absolutely. Although from straight white men, it’s more of a sexual objectification and fetishizing.

SF: So it’s a white male thing. Why isolate a very small portion of white men, the gays, for attack? Mannie accuses white gay men who “act” too black-female of being cultural thieves.

CJS: Mannie called out some folks who’ve flown under the radar.

SF: So the sense is there’s been enough written about racist behavior coming from the white world in general and that her piece was about a subset, white gays, who hadn’t been called out?

CJS: Right. The racism that’s rampant in the LGBT community and the cultural appropriation that happens in that community goes unnoticed. Nobody has a problem with gays doing the “Single Ladies” choreography in the club with each other, but there comes a point where we enter territory in which we don’t belong.

SF: One of the great ironies is that I’ve been shopping an essay for more than a year in which I react to Andrew Sullivan and others who are just stunned—stunned— by the head-spinning advances toward gay acceptance. It’s really easy and obvious; white men and women have been so involved. Whites came while having been embedded or secretly on the inside of America’s levers of power. Look at the gay movement through the lens of privilege and it’s pretty easy to see why it has been so successful so fast.

CJS: Okay. This is good. As awful as it is to hide parts of your identity, gays can and have. And to climb to a position of power with whiteness and then come out, I can’t describe it, but I don’t have the luxury of doing it. Who I am, what people think about who I am, and how people treat me on a daily basis is always visible. And that’s what’s so disturbing about folks from all walks of life who pick parts of who I am to use for their own amusement or advancement and tuck those things away when they no longer need them.

SF: Are we trying to determine whose historic burden has been worse? Because going the first 20 years or so of your life in a family that might reject you like a foreign organ is not a way to prepare anyone for a happy life.

CJS: No. I don’t play that game.

SF: But aren’t we? When you or Mannie want to describe why being closeted and fearing everything dear to you could be ruined or taken from you if your identity is known is someone a luxury?

CJS: It would be a luxury to be seen as something other than my color and gender at the outset of every interaction.

SF: For most of my life, I wore gigantic hearing aids. People always treated me as though I was mentally impaired until they got to know me. Anyone with any physical deformity, too, knows how it feels to be judged on sight. It’s not just people of color.

CJS: Yes, but do the police follow you, stop you, frisk you? Do they assume you have a weapon and shoot you? Do you see that?

SF: Yes. I do. Just because I felt called to defend very nelly gay guys doesn’t mean I can’t see the difference.

CJS: Fair enough.

SF: During the firestorm that followed my piece, I was goaded by many people to explain what I had done for black women or what all gays had done. And any time I offered any answer, I was then attacked because that wasn’t good enough or people thought, “Oh, so just because you did this you think…” It was incredibly frustrating.

CJS: I’m trying to think of the best way to say this. It’s multi-pronged. There is never enough to do when a cause is still ongoing. And I am honestly sitting here trying to think of instances where gay White men have stood side by side with Black women in solidarity. I’m stumped. And that’s not to say that it never happens, but I’m at a loss for examples.

SF: Actually, several prominent gay groups and people have spoken out about the Michael Brown death. I just sent you a press release showing a statement from 17 major gay groups condemning the Ferguson police. Are you surprised by that?

CJS: I wouldn’t say surprised I am glad to see it. It is unexpected, but I wasn’t taken aback.

SF: The reaction of the gay community to this incident isn’t as novel as you think. Going back 20 years, I’ve seen gay organizations boycott states that passed anti-black or anti-Hispanic laws. There were columns in the gay press about what Trayvon Martin had to do with gay social justice. I want to believe that you’ve seen pro-gay writing in the black media as well that I’d never have known about. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

CJS: Right and because access to that isn’t as open as it should be, it’s easier to say it doesn’t exist. I guess I have to bear responsibility for not having looked. But, still, the euphoric alliance you wrote about does not exist, and I don’t know many people on either side making an effort to forge it.

SF We can’t solve this or even pretend to represent anyone more than ourselves, but I look at these two groups and I see a lot of commonality. And people were hectoring me, “What? What is there in common?” Do you see it?

CJS: Between white gay men and black women? It’s nothing I’ve ever even considered. I suppose it exists, but I’ve not had a chance to build many relationships on that foundation.

SF: Why? Surely the opportunity has presented itself.

CJS: It’s not an organic thing for me, honestly.

SF: That’s where I’m confused, because it is organic for me. And to say that sounds like I’m going, “some of my best friends are…”

CJS: I don’t feel like being a social justice educator in every single interaction, you know? Sometimes I just want to be. I know several gay white guys and I’ve built great relationships, but they weren’t based on shared experiences of oppression.

SF: Well, no. That’s not a basis, but it is something you learn about one another as you go through life.

CJS: Yes, for sure.

SF: So Mannie wrote from her experience. I wrote from mine. I live near Detroit, I’ve always had a very broad range of close friends not only of races but also of different ages. And because I see it that way, because I feel optimistic that people who get to know one another will like and want to help one another, I walked into a buzzsaw with this piece.

CJS: Yes, yes you did. Your piece seemed to come from a place where gay white men are extending the savior hand and helping us black girls come up from the depths as you all have done so swiftly.

SF: I didn’t mean it that way! I just saw two groups with a lot in common who should be encouraged to help one another. It feels like a delicate line.

CJS: It is. Absolutely.

SF: People of good intentions will step on (and in) it.

CJS: In a way, we have to walk on eggshells with each other until a foundation built on trust has been laid. I believe in treading lightly as a general rule because I never know what life experiences have altered someone’s perspective.

SF: But whenever I hear about the importance of having a “dialogue on race,” I wonder – who is supposed to do this? Who qualifies? How does anyone do it without causing controversy or being attacked? What does it even mean? If the only people who can do it are the people who know precisely how not to misspeak or those who are willing to just cede the entire argument to the other people, what good is it?

CJS: Opening a dialogue should go something like what took place with us. Neither of us started by attacking each other personally. We have very different epistemologies, but we built something before having this conversation.

SF: Take the election of Obama. No, it didn’t end racism. But it was something substantial that showed millions of white people can look beyond race.

CJS: No one wants white people to look beyond race.

SF: Wait. You don’t?

CJS: I want to be seen for who I am. I want my history to be understood. I want my cultural differences to be acknowledged and appreciated without being encroached upon or perverted.

SF: We’re going to need to wrap up. Do you have questions for me.

CJS: We were actually able to cover my questions. The dialogue delved into your thought process. That’s what I wanted to know more about.

SF: Well, let me be clear. My intent was not to issue marching orders. It was not to pretend to be a savior. It was to describe my own reality, the world I dwell in. Mine is as legitimate as that of Mannie’s. But I felt like I was describing ways of coming together and she was trying to divide groups.

CJS: You’re entitled to have a reaction. I genuinely believe in people’s reactions being shaped by their experiences. Much of the way we respond to things is shaded by what we know to be true based on the lives we lead.

SF: Also, I didn’t enjoy being run through the ringer on Twitter, but I couldn’t deny that many people were telling me something hard to hear. I tried to agree with some and explain my differences with others, and that got distorted and amplified. So after this comes out, I am going to try to keep my trap shut and observe regardless of how hurtful and dehumanizing much of the reaction can be there.

CJS: I’m definitely nervous about the response. I’m grateful for this opportunity, but nervous.

SF: Well, here’s a hint I learned a little bit too late: The “mute” button on Twitter is your friend.

TIME Crime

#Dontshoot Protesters Outraged by Ferguson Teen’s Death Throw Up Their Hands on Instagram

Protesters throw their hands in the air on social media

Four days after Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., students at Howard University gathered for this picture with their faces plaintive and their hands:

Since then, similar images of groups around the nation — from other college students, to teachers to churches — have spread across social media under the hashtag “#Dontshoot.”

TIME Civil Rights

Watch: President Obama Speaks Live on Ferguson

+ READ ARTICLE

President Obama will address the state of emergency in Ferguson, Missouri, after more than a week of unrest in the St. Louis suburb, following the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a police officer.

TIME

Yep, I’m Gay, and I’m a CEO—It Doesn’t Stop Me From Running a Great Business

Robert Hanson
Robert Hanson Peter Vidor—©2009 Peter Vidor

Corporate leaders need to realize that a strong company should make money—and be a force for social change

There’s been a lot of attention in the media recently about the lack of publicly gay business leaders. The implication from certain articles — e.g., “Where Are the Gay Chief Executives?” and “Among Gay C.E.O.s, the Pressure to Conform” — is that companies and their boards remain one of the last bastions of opposition to gay equality, and that gay CEOs fear reprisal from shareholders, therefore remaining extremely discreet or closeted. But I have had a different personal experience and I feel compelled to share it.

For as long as I have been in business and running companies, I’ve been an out gay man. I was recently appointed as the CEO of luxury jewelry brand John Hardy, I’m a director of Constellation Brands (a publicly traded company), and have served as the CEO of publicly traded American Eagle Outfitters and before that, as the Global Brand President of Levi’s.

An executive’s purpose is to create economic opportunity by delivering results, but I also happen to believe that there is a concurrent goal: to make whatever business we are helming a force for positive social change. Economic opportunity and values-based leadership aren’t mutually exclusive.

Performing my best means bringing my authentic self to work, every day. Unlike others, I’ve always had a supportive family and terrific friends and champions. I also have the benefit of my geography (a coastal city), my gender (male) and my ethnicity (white). While I’ve worked very hard, I recognize how fortunate I am.

I often meet other gay people in business…as well as women and people of color who also remain underrepresented in senior roles…who are extraordinarily gifted, yet have not had the same opportunities. Sexual orientation can remain hidden, unlike gender or ethnicity, regardless of the public profile with which one lives. To understand why other executives directly or tacitly hide their sexual orientation, it’s helpful to consider the paths that lead them there. Remaining closeted is not, in most cases, due to a lack of courage, authenticity or integrity. This is their conundrum: They’ve been hired primarily to drive performance and deliver returns; but they are also supposed to serve as champions and role models for a wide swath of people, and do not want their sexual orientation to overwhelm or distract from their impact and tenure. The reason it might? History.

Unfortunately, the public dialog around gay civil rights is still fairly incendiary; mere visibility at a gay event can elicit a strong reaction. One of the articles I mentioned earlier rightly points out that leaders in government, including the military and professional athletics, have moved ahead of leaders in business in terms of being out. Executives need to consider this carefully and grab the opportunity to lead.

The issues we face can be effectively eliminated through the greater visibility of high-performing publicly gay executives, the open support of boards and shareholders, and a balanced dialog on the subject from the media.

Again, business can be a source of economic opportunity as well as a force for positive social change. But we can only achieve both outcomes when we create a welcoming platform with true equal opportunities for all people. It’s not only right, but also smart for business. The facts show that a diverse workforce representative of our customer base leads to better decisions and performance over time. Those of us fortunate enough to be in the position of CEO, where we help construct the culture of our organizations and of the business world at large, have our own opportunity to lead—and an obligation.

Robert Hanson is Chief Executive Officer of luxury jewelry brand John Hardy. Prior to that, Robert was Chief Executive Officer of American Eagle Outfitters, and has been recognized both for his leadership accomplishments and unique position as an out, gay man leading a public company.

TIME Crime

Watch: Protesters Hit With Tear Gas and Rubber Bullets During Ferguson Unrest

The violent protests entered a fifth day in Ferguson with little sign of slowing down

+ READ ARTICLE

As fresh violence broke out Wednesday in Ferguson, Mo., local resident Mustafa Hussein recorded night vision footage of police shooting tear gas at demonstrators.

The media have had difficulty obtaining footage of the continuing unrest in Ferguson: reporters and camera crews have been kept at bay, and the Federal Aviation Administration issued a no-fly zone over Ferguson, prohibiting private aircrafts, including news helicopters, from flying below 3,000 feet in a 3-mile radius around the town.

In the rare footage above, police can be seen blasting deafening sirens at the protesters gathered in the streets. Shortly after, Ferguson police are shown shooting teargas canisters and rubber bullets at them. The footage shown was shot around 8:45-9:00pm Wednesday evening.

TIME Crime

Missouri Gov. Pulls County Police From Ferguson Amid Criticism of Tactics

Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old Man
Police stand watch as demonstrators protest the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. on Aug. 13, 2014. Scott Olson—Getty Images

Missouri Highway Patrol will be the lead force securing the city

Updated 4:36p.m. E.T.

St. Louis County police will turn over responsibility for security in Ferguson to the state highway patrol, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon announced Thursday, in a law enforcement shift for a town where anger over the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager has sparked violent protests.

In a press conference after days of clashes between police and protestors, Nixon said the Missouri Highway Patrol will be the lead force securing the city. “Today is the day that we renew our commitment to bring peace to the families of Ferguson,” he said. “Operationally the patrol will be the lead agency when it comes to security.”

The plan, he said, would be “to move forward people and to move back a little equipment”

The announcement was first revealed by Missouri Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay, who spoke to Nixon earlier Thursday. Clay’s office confirmed a Bloomberg report that Nixon told Clay he would be pulling the county police force from the town.

Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, an area resident who will lead the police effort, promised a more respectful environment Thursday. “I understand the anger and fear that the citizens of Ferguson are feeling and our officers with respect both of those,” he said.

At the press conference, Nixon said he hoped that police would present a “softer front” on Thursday night. The town has “looked a little bit more like a war zone, and it’s not acceptable,” he said. On Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that local forces had accepted Department of Justice resources to help defuse the situation.

The move comes with the heavily equipped police force coming under growing scrutiny under scrutiny for its tactics, which have included the use of tear gas, stun grenades, and smoke bombs. At least 40 people have been arrested since protests broke out after the shooting death of Michael Brown on Saturday, including two journalists on Wednesday who were temporarily detained.

Brown, 18, was shot dead on Saturday, prompting the racially charged demonstrations in the majority black suburb of St. Louis, where the police force is nearly all white. Authorities say Brown was shot in a struggle for an officer’s gun, but some witnesses have said Brown had his hands in the air. Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson told reporters Wednesday that the officer who shot Brown had been struck in the cheek during the incident and taken to hospital.

President Barack Obama also addressed the situation Thursday afternoon, saying there was “no excuse” for violence against police or protestors. But at least one lawmaker called for him to take forceful action. “President Obama should use authority of his office to declare martial law,” Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis said on MSNBC.

Authorities have so far refused to identify the officer involved in the shooting death of Brown, citing the officer’s safety. But the decision has fueled anger among the demonstrators. On Wednesday, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that details from the investigation would not emerge for weeks.

-Additional reporting by Alex Rogers and Zeke J Miller

TIME politics

Rand Paul: We Must Demilitarize the Police

Police Shooting Missouri
Police in riot gear watch protesters in Ferguson, Mo. on Aug. 13, 2014. Jeff Roberson—AP

Anyone who thinks race does not skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention, Sen. Rand Paul writes for TIME, amid violence in Ferguson, Mo. over the police shooting death of Michael Brown

The shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown is an awful tragedy that continues to send shockwaves through the community of Ferguson, Missouri and across the nation.

If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off. But, I wouldn’t have expected to be shot.

The outrage in Ferguson is understandable—though there is never an excuse for rioting or looting. There is a legitimate role for the police to keep the peace, but there should be a difference between a police response and a military response.

The images and scenes we continue to see in Ferguson resemble war more than traditional police action.

Glenn Reynolds, in Popular Mechanics, recognized the increasing militarization of the police five years ago. In 2009 he wrote:

Soldiers and police are supposed to be different. … Police look inward. They’re supposed to protect their fellow citizens from criminals, and to maintain order with a minimum of force.

It’s the difference between Audie Murphy and Andy Griffith. But nowadays, police are looking, and acting, more like soldiers than cops, with bad consequences. And those who suffer the consequences are usually innocent civilians.

The Cato Institute’s Walter Olson observed this week how the rising militarization of law enforcement is currently playing out in Ferguson:

Why armored vehicles in a Midwestern inner suburb? Why would cops wear camouflage gear against a terrain patterned by convenience stores and beauty parlors? Why are the authorities in Ferguson, Mo. so given to quasi-martial crowd control methods (such as bans on walking on the street) and, per the reporting of Riverfront Times, the firing of tear gas at people in their own yards? (“‘This my property!’ he shouted, prompting police to fire a tear gas canister directly at his face.”) Why would someone identifying himself as an 82nd Airborne Army veteran, observing the Ferguson police scene, comment that “We rolled lighter than that in an actual warzone”?

Olson added, “the dominant visual aspect of the story, however, has been the sight of overpowering police forces confronting unarmed protesters who are seen waving signs or just their hands.”

How did this happen?

Most police officers are good cops and good people. It is an unquestionably difficult job, especially in the current circumstances.

There is a systemic problem with today’s law enforcement.

Not surprisingly, big government has been at the heart of the problem. Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies—where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement.

This is usually done in the name of fighting the war on drugs or terrorism. The Heritage Foundation’s Evan Bernick wrote in 2013 that, “the Department of Homeland Security has handed out anti-terrorism grants to cities and towns across the country, enabling them to buy armored vehicles, guns, armor, aircraft, and other equipment.”

Bernick continued, “federal agencies of all stripes, as well as local police departments in towns with populations less than 14,000, come equipped with SWAT teams and heavy artillery.”

Bernick noted the cartoonish imbalance between the equipment some police departments possess and the constituents they serve, “today, Bossier Parish, Louisiana, has a .50 caliber gun mounted on an armored vehicle. The Pentagon gives away millions of pieces of military equipment to police departments across the country—tanks included.”

When you couple this militarization of law enforcement with an erosion of civil liberties and due process that allows the police to become judge and jury—national security letters, no-knock searches, broad general warrants, pre-conviction forfeiture—we begin to have a very serious problem on our hands.

Given these developments, it is almost impossible for many Americans not to feel like their government is targeting them. Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them.

This is part of the anguish we are seeing in the tragic events outside of St. Louis, Missouri. It is what the citizens of Ferguson feel when there is an unfortunate and heartbreaking shooting like the incident with Michael Brown.

Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention. Our prisons are full of black and brown men and women who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes in their youth.

The militarization of our law enforcement is due to an unprecedented expansion of government power in this realm. It is one thing for federal officials to work in conjunction with local authorities to reduce or solve crime. It is quite another for them to subsidize it.

Americans must never sacrifice their liberty for an illusive and dangerous, or false, security. This has been a cause I have championed for years, and one that is at a near-crisis point in our country.

Let us continue to pray for Michael Brown’s family, the people of Ferguson, police, and citizens alike.

Paul is the junior U.S. Senator for Kentucky.

TIME Crime

Watch the Night Social Media Lit Up as Violence Flared in Ferguson

On Wednesday night, anger flared again in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, between protesters and the police over the police killing of an unarmed young black man, marking the fourth consecutive night of fighting in the suburban neighborhood.

Some 350 demonstrators were met by police in armored vehicles and officers wearing body armor, carrying assault rifles. When the crowd ignored orders to disperse, officers fired tear gas, smoke bombs and rubber bullets, the AP reported.

As smoke engulfed the area, the clashes were heavily reported on social media by local residents, reporters and even a local politician, Antonio French. Both French and two journalists were reportedly arrested by police during the unrest.

What do we want? Justice,” the protesters chanted.

Police fired smoked bombs to disperse the crowd.

In this video, Ferguson police is seen using armored vehicles to control the crowds.

Protesters are seen here standing in a straight line, engulfed in white smoke.

 

 

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 45,859 other followers