The recent police shooting of an unarmed 18 year-old African-American in Ferguson, Mo. has the press thundering about the crypto-fascist, and as-ever racist, outlook policemen supposedly wear as the universal chip on the shoulder.
I don't know all the facts of that case, and neither does anyone else, including those in the press, and in libertarian circles, who are calling for the police to be "demilitarized" (which is their word for "disarmed," although they're not about to admit it).
It could be that the teenager, who was huge, attacked the cop without provocation, in which case the cop's response is almost certainly not a crime or any other kind of misconduct. It could also be that the cop was not in significant danger, knew it, and shot the teenager out of spite or because he was feeling a heavy badge, in which case this episode is murder, and the cop is deserving of stern and unflinching punishment. Anyone who at this point claims to know it's one or the other is just blowin' smoke.
The case has raised many of the same shopworn issues about the relationship between the police and black teenage boys that we saw in the Trayvon Martin case (even though the shooter there was a would-be, and not an actual, policeman).
It seems to me that there are easy ways to avoid this sort of thing in the future, none of which involves the appearance of Al Sharpton or the eight millionth lecture from Eric Holder. They involve entirely normal manners on both sides.