It's weird. Because before the whole place went ka-boom, Ferguson, Missouri was designated a "Playful City USA" winner by the KaBOOM! corporate non-profit charity. They won because rather than spend a lot of money for fancy community recreation, the town fathers had cleverly banned Sunday afternoon traffic on selected streets, allowing Ferguson's poor people to get up off their couches of dependency and go out to frolic amongst the potholes. For this cynical effort, the town was rewarded with an unspecified grant funded by such conservative corporations as Home Depot, Disney, Doctor Pepper and giant health insurance predator, Humana.
Go play in the streets, kids, but only on corporate-designated days. Talk about sending mixed messages to the residents of Anytown, Dystopian States of Amurka! Do you suspect that Ferguson's KaBOOM! grant might have been used to fund police overtime for traffic control on the play-streets, given that no actual play equipment seems to have been purchased?
(I tried to find out more by going on the official Ferguson website, but it appears to have either crashed, or been hacked.)
And meanwhile, how apt is it that the multinational producer of the popular InSinkErator garbage disposal is also headquartered right there in 22% poverty level Ferguson, Missouri?
The people of Ferguson, Missouri were getting damned tired of it long before the shooting of Michael Brown. His death was simply the last straw in a long series of straws. People finally had just about enough of being treated like trash, mere leftovers to be shoved down the societal drain and mashed into pulp when they weren't being told that the streets were all the playground they were ever going to get.
Now, of course, they're being tear-gassed right back off the streets. They have nowhere to go. It's like they're living in an open-air prison, a little Gaza-on-the-Mississippi. The optics are certainly eerily similar.
So, after nine days of "unrest," will the Powers That Be rescind Ferguson's Playful City designation, now that the National Guard has arrived to declare that the fun is over?
As if to make their point, the police have designated the local low-wage Target store as Command Control Central, the better to target all those citizens, newly designated as the willfully unemployed "those people," anarchists, outside agitators and terrorists. Did I mention that Target is also a corporate sponsor of KaBOOM?
When they're not human fodder for InSinkErators, people can't even use the sinks in Ferguson to wash the police mace out of their eyes. From a CNN clip, which aired last week, of Don Lemon interviewing an unidentified woman who'd reported a previous run-in with the alleged shooter of Michael Brown:
Woman: I was maced and I had come up to QuickTrip because they said I could use their sink. So I was trying to clean out my eyes with some water and one of the employees told me to go get some milk, because that would help. So as I was pouring milk in my eyes, the officers had come in and told me to get out.
Lemon: When was this?
Woman: This was like a month ago. I came outside and I was trying to pour milk in my eyes and Wilson told me if I poured milk in my eyes, I was going to be arrested. And I was trying to tell him that my eyes were burning because I was maced, but he told me to 'Shut the F up.' So, another man told me to get in my car and turn the air and put my face in front of the vents, so that's what I did.
Lemon: So were you arrested? What happened?
Woman: No, I wasn't arrested. When I got in my car and turned the air on and put my face in front of the vent. Wilson made me get out of the car and sit on the concrete and he took all my information and ran my name. And I was still trying to pour the milk in my eyes because I couldn't see, and he's telling me to 'shut the F up' and 'sit the f down' and I was looking at his name tag and I was telling myself that I would never forget who he was and what he did to me. And I prayed on it and I asked God to get revenge on him and I'm sorry this is the way it happened, but what's done in the dark always come to the light, and I saw the news this morning—
Lemon: But you're OK? Everything is OK?
Woman: I'm OK now. And I saw the news this morning when they released his name. I knew I knew exactly who he was and I know who he is right now.
***Meanwhile, in a belated attempt to quell the unrest even better, Obama has evolved from heartbreak to concern to forensic pathologist-in-chief, a kind of President Quincy, MD. He is sending his henchman Eric Holder to oversee a third autopsy, and who knows, maybe even give a pep talk to a Homeland Security Fusion Center while he's at it.
Too bad the post-mortem is on just one body instead of on the entire body politic.
The politicians of America would prefer that the truth of democracy's demise, along with the leftovers of disposable humanity, just go down the giant InSinkErator into oblivion while the plutocrats gorge themselves at their endless feast.