“No probable cause exists to file any charges against Darren Wilson.” Thus the St. Louis County prosecutor, Robert P. McCulloch concludes another chapter of an 18-year old Michael Brown story. Opinions about the strike with Missouri police forces that happened on the evening of the 24th are crystal clear. One camp is best represented by a user Looney Floyd who posted on the ustream.tv page of BassemMasri the following comment: ”Don’t rob convenience stores! Don’t steal cigars! Don’t assault people! and you probably won’t get shot.” Coincidentally, BassemMasri’s live reporting of the events from near the Ferguson police station was disrupted by an incident: his camera got stolen and he did not get it back. The other side by the mother of Michael Brown who yelled “Defend himself from what!” when the prosecutor talked about the officer’s actions. Both camps, however agree on one thing: that protest, if necessary, should have channelled the frustrat ion to make positive change. As expected, a crowd flowed the streets of Ferguson and it went wrong: police force was animated.
Police force is an instrument by which government enforces law to protect the order in the state. One of the functions of law enforcement is to predict and prevent crime. What crime was the government prepared to fight on S. Florissant Road that necessitated to display to reporters’ cameras images from a 1984 screening? The most shocking is precisely this exhibitory aestheticization of violence that was preached by Mussolini futurists. However, while they envisioned a look of the future soldier with the eyes of a painter, the reality took a completely different shape.
Imagine a family that lives in a village and grows apple trees in their backyard. They decide to get a dog that will protect their harvest from robbers. It serves you well: you drink tea with your neighbours, and the robbers stay away from your harvest. However, with time you find your harvest to increase exponentially and you get yourself a wolf. You continue to drink tea with the neighbours but not as frequently. With even more harvest, you eventually get a hyena leaves you without guests at all. What makes this family hold a at home hyena? Did robbers get more dangerous or numerous? But how can this be if all you is to grow apples in your backyard?
Clearly, the situation is that hyena has outgrown the family and keeps it in fear together with the robbers and the neighbours. The hyena shows its jaws to make you know who’s the owner of the apples, and you better stay away from it or six shots fired right now. Bang! The interactive installations of law enforcement methods have proved to be highly artistic but discouragingly overwhelming. One can hardly look without emotions at guardsmen pointing assault rifles at you. Do you who is your hyena going to assault? What kind of crime to be prevented requires snipers on top of wheeled citadels?
The story revealed how much a government of a well-developed country can be ready to spend money on hyperreal military happenings. Law has been put over a man. Dressing in next-gen soldier outfits, Ferguson police acts not as a prophylaxis law enforcement agency, but as a suppressing actor devoid of any humanness. It discriminates against the human body as one big war machine with guns instead of hands, armour instead body, and gas masks instead of heads — a cyborg breathing tear gas. Ferguson police speaks the language of crown dissipation sirens, bullets, and colonel on duty dialect. You are objectified as a criminal.
We have come to merge Ford’s assembly line with our home, school, church, and army. The American dream has become perplexedly communist: to be a “nice smooth operator” — more Gates, than Jobs. Government learns to satisfy our needs without interrogating our work on conveyer. And the more it does so the more it educates itself in mechanised suppression, leaving the most real thing that there is — pain and struggle — in disposal of law enforcement machines.
If we do not want shamefacedly accept the reality of a police state then we have to recognise our oppressed fellows on a bench. We have to emphasise with instrumentally criminalised individuals, or out fate is to grow together with the machine.
Max Otdelnov is a member of the class of 2017.