I am watching an American city spin apart on Twitter.
Tanks roll through streets in mid-America, and men in camo and body armor point automatic weapons at Americans just like me, only with darker complexions. Reporters who rushed into the chaos instead of away are ordered to stop their meddlesome reporting; they are roughed up, arrested.
I am just a guy. I live too far away to go to Ferguson, and I have too few skills to be of any help even if I got there. I don't really know what kind of skills I could have that would be helpful, short of a magic wand.
My revulsion at the police state imposed by petty little men with titles and a lot of weaponry cannot be readily translated into direct action. Sure, I can do all of those big picture treat-people-the-way-I-would-like-to-be-treated and being-aware-of-my-own-biases things, but those are more than a little abstract in response to what I am seeing transpire from a few hundred miles away. I want to do something now, right now, to bring -- if not peace -- at least an end to the violence. And yes, I want the people rioting to go home or go away, too, but I don't see how that is going to happen while the police force indiscriminately directs military grade weapons on the people they are supposed to be protecting. Jackbooted thugs, indeed.
There is one thing I can do, though: I can point and laugh at the monsters, even as I weep for their victims.
I can note, at least to my own small circle of family and friends, that when organizations existing solely to advance White Supremacy are on your side you are almost certainly doing something wrong, badly wrong.
I certainly can observe that despite proclaiming itself a "Playful City USA" community on its website, I really don't want to play their games.
I most definitely can question the manhood, not to mention the basic humanity, of police who hide not just behind body armor, but also the cloak of anonymity.
I can steal a line from a hero of mine, and observe that when you treat your world like a combination game preserve and whorehouse, you are going to get bad results. Bad results like riots when people get tired of being killed.
I can recall that the vile racists of the 60's didn't change their minds so much as they became too embarrassed to say and do certain things when they thought the world was watching.
Ferguson: we are watching.