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'Stop Killing Us!' Cops Have a Shoot-First Problem, And Not Just in Ferguson

What's happening in Ferguson could happen anywhere minorities, whether African American or Native American, fear a militarized police force

Some Native people can relate to what is going on in Ferguson, Missouri. Cities across America like Rapid City, South Dakota; Gallup, New Mexico; and Minneapolis, Minnesota; just to name a few, are like tea kettles on a hot stove, ready to blow steam. I by no means condone violence. But when you disrespect, mistreat and oppress people long enough, things are going to blow up. The proliferation of militaristic police forces has reached the cities and suburbs of America.

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Men and women who have served in conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan have come home, joined our police forces and now mirror those tactics against the very people whom they fought for. When you consider their training, and that they are constantly on patrol, practice shooting diligently, and practice their strongarm tactics on prisoners in the jail system, it's no wonder they internalize that methodology of dealing with aggressors. And the public is the worse for it. When you watch the evening news, it becomes harder to differentiate between the police and our military forces at war in foreign countries.

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We need to return to the days when police walked a beat, were respected, and returned that respect to the members of their communities. Oh, I know we have some bad people out there, but that is not whom I am referring to; I am referring to people who are just in the wrong place, at the wrong time or situation. Police today are too quick to shoot. There are too many "justifiable" killings, and too many people dying because it "looked" like they were reaching for a weapon, instead of their cell phone. We need to regroup as a society, before we become the "killing fields" of America.

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I am not anti-police. I regret that we have the largest number of police officers being killed in the line of duty, along with the largest number of innocent people dying. Something is wrong, police are afraid of losing their lives, so they shoot first and apologize later. Senseless situations like that of Michael Brown happen much too often lately, and there seems to be no end or solution in sight.