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It is easy to see why the citizens of Ferguson are so scared of the police. What is stranger is that the police are so scared of the citizens.
The military gear and the military tactics on daily display in Ferguson are the outward signs of inward terror. Police who feel secure about their safety don’t strap on body armor. You only stare down the barrel of a rifle at someone you think might kill you without warning. The police see the protests as an existential threat: something that will destroy their world unless it is overwhelmed by any means necessary.
The obvious absurdity of the fear doesn’t make it any less real. The reality of the fear doesn’t make it any less absurd.
This is what cowardice looks like, physical and moral.