Brazil is the world's murder capital. Its grisly toll cannot be put down to a so-called culture of violence. To the contrary: These preventable deaths are a result of policy failures. Brazil's violent crime wave can be reversed.
While I was always opposed to New York City's stop-and-frisk policy, and in general, to the NYPD's racist regime, I had never been so directly affected by it.
I'm not suggesting that crime isn't a problem in the United States. It is a problem, particularly with regard to violent crimes involving firearms, but it is a problem that has diminished over recent decades.
Black and brown people are not so much strangers in a strange land, you see. Far worse, we are strangers in our own homeland.
"I think if we had a gun we would have been shot immediately." This is as good a place to start as any, at the logical limits of violent self-defense. The speaker is Andres Gutierrez of Nonviolent Peaceforce, a nonprofit organization that has engaged in peacekeeping work in troubled regions of the world for the last decade.
Barbers and hairdressers, like Dionne Flowers of St. Louis, are an integral part of the society. The inconceivable, unknown detail in this story is that Dionne had more training for her license as a hairdresser, than the officers who pulled the trigger on Kajieme Powel had for their licenses.
It is unfortunate that the media overplays "looting and rioting" much more than it covers the thousands who peacefully protest everyday for justice.
Whatever Murrieta was before July 2014, it no longer is. What City Manager Rick Dudley characterized as "a black eye" is actually an indelible stain.
The call to pay close attention to race at this moment is a hot button issue with long simmering resentments now bubbling up to the surface and at a boil. The new awareness that sometime, while we were sleeping, police departments suited up like a military force, has awakened people to a perception of threat.
What if Brown was pretending to charge after taunting verbally, in an arrogant act of defiance, with the intent of pulling back? What if Brown was running, but quickly turned back to surrender, and Wilson mistook that for charging, what then?
When it comes to weighing the importance of civil liberties against fear of a terrorist attack (or everyday criminal activity), the Beltway is trapped in 2005.
Institutional racism is about a system the makes and has made it possible for "bad apple" after "bad apple" after "bad apple" to be recruited, trained and deployed -- again, and again, and again. Yes, individuals must be held accountable for their actions, but so do the systems that empower them.
One of the deeper, darker questions concealed in the maelstrom of rage and grief of Ferguson is this one: What if Officer Darren Wilson had not been armed when he told the two teenagers to get out of the street?
I am an American of Indian (sub-continental) descent, and I have been racially profiled. I can understand why this happens, but it can be frustrating at times, and occasionally humorous.
The military mission is to confront and kill a defined enemy. The peace officer has no enemies. His or her mission is to protect the community and everyone within it. No matter what crime they may have committed, all are entitled to the protections of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and due process.
I think about my teenage years: Broke. Confused. Horny. Doing stupid shit. Which brings us to Ferguson. Which brings us to Mike Brown. Which brings us to a militarized police force that enforces laws on a community that it doesn't know.