Arrest Darren Wilson and Restore Order to Ferguson

President Obama has a lot of nerve to open up his mouth and say anything against the violence taking place in Ferguson, Missouri. This violence is the result of the unjustified killing of Michael Brown by a racist White cop. But when Barack Obama had a chance to show African-Americans that Black people don’t have to riot to get justice in these type of cases he let George Zimmerman off the hook after Zimmerman was acquitted by the state for killing Trayvon Martin. Everyone knows, and has always known that local state governments cannot be trusted to investigate and prosecute cases like these. But Obama left the sole responsibility for this in the hands of the state in the Zimmerman case. Then he asked us to respect the law and accept the verdict.

Why are African Americans who are constantly the victims of this kind of racist oppression always the only ones who should feel that the violence by other African-Americans is wrong? Especially when a lot of white people don’t even feel that cops, and wanna-be cops, ever do anything wrong when they shoot people like Brown and Martin. This is true even in cases where it is obvious that there was not even the slightest justification for the killing of people like Mike Brown.

If a Black man had shot a White kid with his hands in the air yelling “I don’t have a gun, don’t shoot me, ” that Black man would probably already be dead, at the hands of the police or in jail and on his way to death row.

Therefore, when Zimmerman was acquitted by the state he should have been immediately arrested, charged and tried by the Feds. But Obama stood by, sent his spin doctors out to make excuses and did nothing. THAT’S WHEN I KNEW THAT A DAY LIKE THE ONE WE ARE NOW HAVING IN FERGUSON WAS SURELY COMING.

It is ironic that Obama has not hesitated to show his willingness to use unrelenting violence against other groups like Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Syria, ISIS and etc. But when Black people are confronted by murder and other forms of terrorism from elements within their own government, he thinks our only recourse should be resorting to protest rallies and peaceful marches–which we’ve already been doing for well over a hundred years now and still hasn’t put an end our being victimized by racial violence!

There is a simple and easy solution to end the violence in Ferguson: Arrest Darren Wilson and charge him with the murder of Michael Brown. But Wilson is still not in jail. Instead officials would rather see the streets of St. Louis torn apart , business being looted and burned, curfews imposed, national guards, highway patrolmen and riot police, even federal attorney general’s, governors and Presidents called in to try and otherwise fix the problem– anything except arresting and prosecuting a racist cop who murdered an innocent Black man!

This shows how committed some people are to preserving the institution of white racism in this country. It also shows you how easy it is for Barack Obama and other Black people to be tricked into being an advocate for the white supremist causes in cases where resistance necessitates violence being involved.

~Keith Brown El, KCMO

August 23, Black Autonomy Federation Radio Show 7 p.m. Central Time, The Body Count: Police Reign of Terror Kills Thousands

Ferguson, Missouri, is on fire with days of protest over the death of
Michael Brown Jr. Tens of thousands of people like Michael Brown have been
killed by law enforcement officers in the United States, and their deaths
have been covered up. What does this large number of deaths mean? Why
doesn’t the government prosecute the police for violation of civil rights
or murder? Why must we compile a body of statistics about citizens killed
by the police? Join us as we talk to the administrator of the website,, which tracks tens of thousands of deaths of people killed
by police shootings and other forms of homicide by law enforcement officers.

This is an Internet radio show. To listen to the show live or to make your
voice heard, call 1-530-881-1400, access code 549032#.

*If you can’t listen to the show live, you can listen to our podcast. In
your search engine, type:

Black Autonomy Federation Pickets Memphis Police Department: Exposes The Body Count of Civilians Murdered by MPD

On Monday morning, the Memphis Black Autonomy Federation held a small but spirited picket in front of the Memphis Police headquarters. We spoke in solidarity with the protesters in Ferguson, Mo., but focused our picket on police terror in Memphis. We passed out copies of MBAF’s “The Body Count,” a report about the 23 people killed by Memphis cops from February, 2012, to October, 2013. Nowhere in America did any police department kill more people than Memphis cops killed during this time period. Most people in the black community in Memphis don’t know this because of a deliberate cover-up by the politicians and the police, aided and abetted by the corporate media, and we spent time talking about this as people passed by. Several people actually stopped and took time then and there to read “The Body Count” because they had no idea that the Memphis Police Department leads the nation in the use of deadly force.

We took our protest to the very front door of Memphis police headquarters, which the cops clearly did not like. Among other things, we chanted “Stop Police Murder! Prosecute the Cops!”, and eventually a female black deputy sheriff (the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department is located in the same building as the MPD) came out and harassed us, claiming we were blocking the sidewalk, which we clearly were not doing. In Memphis, it is clear that the police do not like any protest, even the smallest ones that they do not control through a group like the Midtown (so-called Mid-South) Peace and Justice Center. They like it even less if you bring it right to their front door , as we did, and accuse them of murder.

The city government and all their allies are intent on not raising anything about the deaths of people in Memphis by MPD officers. Recently, the local U.S. Congressman, Steve Cohen, sent a letter to Congress calling for an investigation of Ferguson, Mo., but he never mentioned one word about the police murders in Memphis, including the shooting of a 15-year-old kid, Justin Thompson, (killed in September 2012), who was believed to be molested by an MPD officer at the time, Terrance Shaw, who shot and killed this kid. It’s clear that the Memphis police want everyone to forget the murderous police reign of terror between February 2012 and October 2013, that killed another teenager, 19-year-old Christian Freeman. The police refused requests for access to their files by family members, Black Autonomy and others. This clamming up continued with a cover-up by the Shelby County Medical Examiner, who illegally covered-up their files.

But can you really cover up the deaths of 23 people? You can if nobody speaks out or if everybody is afraid. We have made it our duty to expose these crimes and continue to speak out, even though the local media and the government work to silence us through fear, intimidation, and disruption of our work. Working with the Midtown Peace and Justice Center, the Memphis police have created a bogus Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board to funnel complaints back into the local government or even into the police department itself. They have also created a number of bogus organizations which purportedly protest police brutality, but mainly just want to take over existing campaigns by Black Autonomy and help the police “keep the peace.” This police campaign is a counterinsurgency campaign to stifle Black Autonomy, and to hide the facts of those who have been murdered. This white-controlled effort is part of the Progressive Plantation by the Midtown Peace and Justice Center to be the only protest movement in Memphis, and just put up a number of black stooges to fool the masses of people.

Black People must call out the Midtown Peace and Justice Center for all their nefarious activities. They are worse than snitches or spies. They are Peace Police working as sworn unarmed MPD officers to pacify the black community through lies, subversion and treachery, along with the media and local government. We can truthfully say that most cities would have had mass street protests, or would have been in rebellion by now if the cops had killed 23 people in their cities. The fact that Memphis is so quiet, even though it leads the nation in the number of people killed by the police, is also related to the fact that Memphis is the poorest big city in the country, and that nobody in this city hardly knows this or knows what it means.

We must redouble our efforts to get the facts out in Memphis, and around the country about the police murders in this city. We must work to educate our people, and to encourage them to speak up against the police. We must encourage black activists in this city to get over their own fear and laziness, and begin to speak out about police terrorism against the black community in this city. We must let the entire world know about police murders in this city, organize our people in protest, and take the fight to the enemy.

Below is The Body Count.

Memphis Black Autonomy Federation
P.O. Box 16382
Memphis, TN. 38116

Memphis Leads Nation in Deadly Force Used by Police
The Body Count:

Victims of Police Terror in Memphis, Tennessee, In 2012 and 2013

Compiled by the Memphis Black Autonomy Federation, P.O. Box 16382, Memphis, TN 38186-0382,

(901)674-8430, email

Police Victims in 2012

Jeremy McCraven, 20, was shot to death in the back by police on Feb. 10, 2012, while allegedly driving a stolen car.

William Howlett, 41, died on March 10, 2012, after becoming “unresponsive” after police chased and arrested him for allegedly attacking his girlfriend.

Randy Green died in March, 2012. A family friend said that Green, who was blind, was pepper-sprayed to death by Memphis police officers on the campus of the University of Memphis, where Green was trying to use the library.

4. Dewayne Bailey, 38, was shot to death on May 8, 2012, after falling asleep in his car in a store parking lot. Witnesses disputed the claim by police that when they woke Bailey up, he got out of his car and fought with them, then got back in his car and started driving it.

5. Christian Freeman, 19, was shot to death on June 12, 2012, downtown on Beale Street. Police alleged that Freeman threatened them with a knife. Family members said Freeman had mental health problems and that police knew this because they had arrested him in April for disorderly conduct.

6. Hernandez Dowdy, 36, was shot to death on June 27, 2012. Police say Dowdy, who was Black, was a carjacking suspect whom they chased and that they killed him because they mistakenly thought he had a gun. The owner of the car, a white woman, had filed a false report.

7. Lorenzo Davis, 28, died on July 3, 2012, after police chased and arrested him for allegedly selling drugs. He collapsed after he was in custody. Doctors told his mother that he had severe head injuries, internal bleeding and a broken leg.

Delois Epps, 54, died on Aug. 26, 2012, in a car crash caused by a Memphis police officer. Witnesses said the officer was speeding at the time of the crash and did not use the flashing lights and the siren on his car as required by police regulations.

Makayla Ross, 13, died in a car crash with her mother, Delois Epps, on Aug. 26, 2012. (See above.) Officer Alex Beard, who caused the crash, was later fired, and in May 2013 was charged with two counts of vehicular homicide.

Justin Thompson, 15, was shot to death on Sept. 24, 2012, by off-duty police officer Terrance Shaw, who claimed Thompson tried to rob him. Shaw, who admitted that he knew Thompson prior to killing him, resigned when questioned about his relationship with the boy.

Charles Livingston, 32, was shot to death on Dec. 27, 2012. Police claimed they killed Livingston while he was fleeing from a McDonald’s restaurant, which he allegedly robbed, and that he pointed a gun at them while he was escaping. For over 30 years the MPD has been under a U.S. Supreme Court decision forbidding them from shooting “fleeing felons” like Livingston in the back

Police Victims in 2013

12. Donald Moore, 67, was shot to death on Jan. 11, 2013. Police claim that when they came to Moore’s home to serve him with a warrant for animal cruelty, he pointed a gun at them. However, when the cops came busting into the house, they broke down the door in the middle of the night and never announced they were police officers. Then Moore was fatally shot when he went for his firearm on a night stand.

13. Steven Askew, 24, was shot to death on Jan. 17, 2013, after falling asleep in his car waiting for his girlfriend to come home from work. Two police officers, who were called to the area on another matter, claimed that when they approached Askew’s car, he pointed a gun at them and they killed him. Askew was licensed to carry a gun. A video of the incident disputes the police version of events.

Horace Whiting, 63, was shot to death on March 10, 2013. Police claim Whiting had a shotgun when they confronted him in front of his house and that he fired at them when they told him to put the gun down. A neighbor of Whiting said Whiting never pointed the gun at anyone, and that he was on his own porch.

15. George Golden, 42, died on April 5, 2013, from injuries he sustained on March 27 after he was shot, kicked and beaten by two police officers in the parking lot of a Walmart store, where police claim Golden was shoplifting. A cell phone video taken by a bystander shows that one cop beat and kicked Golden while he was lying on the ground after being shot by another cop. Police made no reference to the fatal shooting in their final incident report, covering up the cause of death.

16. Daniel Brock, 47, was shot to death on April 10, 2013. Police claim that when they stopped Brock for an alleged incident of “road rage,” they shot him because they thought he had a gun as he was approaching them. Brock’s son said his father had a mental illness and was taking medication for it.

17. Amjustine Hunter, 28, was shot to death in his car on April 23, 2013, at a gas station. At least one witness disputed the police story that after they stopped Hunter for “suspicious” activity, police shot him when he tried to run them over with his car.

18. John Walker died on May 18, 2013, when an off-duty police officer hit the motorcycle Walker was riding while working as a traffic escort for a funeral.

19. Police claim an unidentified man shot himself to death on May 24, 2013, after he allegedly shot at police officers at an apartment complex. To date, no public report has been found verifying the story of the police.

20. Byron Kelley, 32, was shot to death on June 4, 2013, in Olive Branch, Miss., by Memphis police and DEA agents.

21. Johnny Taylor, 33, was shot to death on July 1, 2013. Police said they killed Taylor after he fired at them outside his home.

Marvin Amerson allegedly committed suicide on July 23, 2013, according to the MPD, after a standoff with officers following a bank robbery.

Aaron Dumas, 32, was killed on Oct. 15, 2013, when tactical officers of the Memphis police department threw tear gas chemicals into the house where they had chased Dumas, causing the house to catch on fire and burning him alive. Several neighbors had their homes damaged by the flames.

Terror in Ferguson










Saturday August 9th, a racist Ferguson police officer profiled and fatally shot a black teenager, Michael Brown, as he walked to his grandmother’s residence with a friend. He was 18 years old. Multiple witnesses told KMOV that Brown was unarmed and had his hands up in the air when he was cut down. “The officer shot again and once my friend felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air,” said witness Dorian Johnson. “He started to get down and the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots.” The family and the community are calling his death an execution.

About 200 residents from the city of Ferguson came together to protest the terror, Amongst them, Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, “I know they killed my son,” “This was wrong and it was cold-hearted”. She added that her son “doesn’t kill, steal or rob. He doesn’t do any of that.” Also present, Brown’s step father, Louis Head, “Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son!!!” .Desuirea Harris, Brown’s grandmother “He didn’t live around here” “He came to visit me and they did that to him for no reason.” St. Louis County Prosecutor’s office confirmed that Brown had no prior misdemeanors or felonies against him. He was a 2014 graduate of Normandy High School and was scheduled to begin classes at Vatterott College.

Wednesday August 13th, St. Louis and Ferguson police dressed in camouflage and equipped with armored tanks and military rifles — fired tear gas, rubber coated bullets, and flash grenades at thousands of Black residents. Many were injured in the war-like environment as police displayed a blatant disregard for civil rights, unlawfully arresting dozens of people including members of the press.


Anti-State STL has established a new bail and legal fund to support the people who have been arrested during these anti-police demonstrations. Over 50 have been arrested.
Please Donate

Walls of tear gas, thick, barricading access from one side of town to another. Police marched down streets ordering protesters to leave as they fired tear gas, hitting vehicles as people inside tried to escape. While also firing tear gas into homes and backyards. Rubber bullets and a high-pitched sirens were used in an attempt to neutralize protesters. “The guardian observed one individual with the “hands up, don’t shoot” refrain that has come to define the protesters shot several times with rubber bullets by officers, before he fell to the ground. When he did, several officers pounced on him, according to the Guardian”

It’s clear that this fascist institution is trying to suppress this resistance, while still protecting their own. Officials stayed silent until today, releasing the identity of the murderous cop that killed Michael Brown in cold-blood. Officer Darren Wilson.

To make matters more upsetting, this cop is being supported by the KKK. Yesterday, August 14th, The South Carolina-based New Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan says its Missouri chapter is raising a reward fund for the officer who shot the African-American teen. Stating that “We are setting up a reward/fund for the police officer who shot this thug,” the Klan group said in an email. “He is a hero! We need more white cops who are anti-Zog and willing to put Jewish controlled black thugs in their place”.

– – – – – – – –

How many more must die?
Once again, an unarmed black teenager has been killed at the hands of racist police. Ferguson is now facing excruciating militarization and oppression, stemming from one incident of everyday police terror.  This everyday terror defines the visible war on our communities, the fear that someone will be murdered at any moment. The same police terror took the lives of eleven people in 2012, and twelve people in 2013, Memphis Tennessee. All were unarmed, disabled, or fleeing. Additionally, we witnessed the massive string of 26 killings in Albuquerque since 2010, six unarmed murders in Denver since 2009, and countless others. Where does it end? In Ferguson and many other militarized zones all over the world, continued state violence demonstrates that we only have each other. The state only offers more violence, more oppression, more repression. Institutional racism is the law that this extreme modern policing is enforcing, and always has. Our fight against racist police terror is happening on our streets everyday, and only we can end this war waged against us.

For a World Without Police, In Solidarity With Ferguson.

“We the people need to build a long term plan for our own protection and defense against the state sponsored terrorism and fascism against us, and more importantly, we need to build a plan and the world we want to live

in. We need to be about the business of building community, love, health, prosperity and justice that we can sustain for our won welfare.

Like the Zapatistas in Chiapis, Mexico. While fighting a war they have chosen life over death, while knowing they must die to live. They are building schools, clinics and all the things they need to take care of themselves. Community-centeredness, bottom-up work.

We must save ourselves–somehow. We are resourceful; we can do it”   -Ida B. Wells Coalition KC Chapter



St Louis Police Scanner Updates


Furguson Scanner Updates:


ST. LOUIS COUNTY – An 18-year-old shot and killed near a Ferguson apartment complex Saturday afternoon had no criminal record, according to the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s office.

According to police, Brown pushed an officer into his car. Then, both struggled and at some point, Brown reached for the officer’s weapon before a shot inside of the car followed by a number of other shots. Brown was not armed.

St. Louis County Prosecutor’s office confirmed that Brown had no prior misdemeanors or felonies against him.

Police Killings, Oppression including through Food, and Our Common Future

Local to Global Advocates for Justice: Reflections on this weekend’s St. Louis Riot, Oppression including Oppression through Food, the Illusion of Democracy and Our Common Future.

Local to Global Advocates for Justice: Reflections on this weekend’s St. Louis Riot, Oppression inclities face in the US and around the world: from mass incarceration, police killings, and lack of police protection to oppression through deadly food products, substandard housing, no and substandard education and substandard or no health care, that increase human frustration …View on Preview by Yahoo

Reflections on this weekend’s St. Louis Riot, Oppression including Oppression through Food, the Illusion of Democracy and Our Common Future

Rioting in St. Louis after police shoot ten times and kill unarmed Black youth Mike Brown. Our love goes to his family, friends and his community. The killing, yet another, is just the tip of the iceberg of the oppression poor and especially poor indigenous, Black, Latino and some groups of Asian communities face in the US and around the world: from mass incarceration, police killings, and lack of police protection to oppression through deadly food products, substandard housing, no and substandard education and substandard or no health care, that increase human frustration to intolerable levels. Trapped in economic and/or racial segregation, people and communities, including many middle class communities, furthermore have no no opportunity to influence society or voice their concerns because we exist in only an illusion of democracy.

The oppression our beloved communities face includes: (not complete) police killings, mass incarceration, housing oppression including the mortgage foreclosure crises, victimization by crime and lack of security, (in fact as we see people are victimized by those who are supposed to protect them–the police themselves) ; no jobs or slave jobs, no or mis-education, no and poor health care, targeted with unhealthy, deadly food products, victimized by drugs, sex offenders, and other human behavior hostile to humanity, environmental and toxic poisonings, climate injustice and all forms of oppression known to humanity. They are targeted by all our systems and oligarchies for exploitation from the physical to the psychological.

Our beloved poor (and many middle-class) communities are in essence living in open -air prisons. Our political systems appear to be completely controlled by a well-militarized oligarchy with the apparent power now to know our every move and thought (Snowden). These systems and oligarchies (Or is their only one?) appear to be creating, food and health, and environmental and human degradation in order to exploit humanity,our earth and universe in order to enrich and empower themselves.

To make matters worse, all this is being done in the name of a Black man–Barack Hussein Obama–(from “Hope” to hopelessness) to rub salt into a festering wound of the illusion of democracy, covering up fascism, as my Mexican colleague, Miguel Guzman, explains to me.

This is Palestine, this is Mathare and Kibera; this is Soweto, this is Vietnam, this is Monterey. This is Detroit. Same tactics and same people and same reason and same outcome: oppression of the people so that a few, the oligarchy, maintain power and they and their children and descendants enjoy the fruits of this Earth and Universe and our human potential.

Yet their actions appear to be leading us all, themselves and their families included, to an ultimate destination of destruction of all. (See Gustave Speth’s work on what the future holds if we do not change our ways.) Furthermore, the transcendent Thich Naht Hahn points out to us that they, the rich, members of the oligarchy, are not happy themselves; the rich commit suicide.

More thoughts to come, comments appreciated.

Maria Whittaker, Program Director
Local to Global Advocates for Justice

Local to Global Advocates for Justice
Sat, June 28, 2014 4 PM CT Eric Holt-Gimenez, ED Food First,, 90.1 FM KC Food Fight! Radio Program Please Share Widely! Food Fight! All Lives Matter!
View on Preview by Yahoo

KC Food Justice

“May my words increase love, understanding and compassion. May they be as beautiful as our children”.

Shame of the Nation: The Fight to Keep Children Locked Up for Life

From the Huffingtonpost:

If 11-year-old Jordan Brown had yet had the opportunity in school to learn about the United Nations, it probably wouldn’t have surprised him to also learn that the U.S. is one of only two nations on the globe that have refused to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In 2010 this Pennsylvania child found himself facing the possibility of being tried in adult court, as well as a life sentence without any chance for parole, for the shooting death of his stepmother.

Had Cortez R. Davis also managed to make it to high-school social studies, he too would have been unsurprised to learn about the U.S.’s unwillingness to sign this document. When this Michigan child was barely 16 years old, and even though he hadn’t killed anyone, he had to stand trial as an adult and is today serving a juvenile life sentence without the possibility of parole (JLWOP).

And yet, in 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Miller v. Alabama that mandatory sentences such as Davis’ are utterly unconstitutional. They violate the Eighth Amendment and its protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

As the court explained it, children’s brains are not yet fully developed, and therefore they do not necessarily have the capacity to consider the consequences of their actions. What is more, it opined, children have “greater prospects for reform” than adults, and states therefore should not be allowed to automatically lock them up and throw away the key.

Although the Miller decision excited many, from the instant that jurists handed it down, and in no small part because their ruling did not say anything about mandatory JLWOP sentences that had already been rendered, state prosecutors across the nation have waged a most bitter fight against human rights groups, child-advocacy organizations, and individual appellants like Davis to ensure that the nearly 2,500 children whom they had previously locked up for life would in fact die behind bars.

Just a few weeks ago the state of Michigan succeeded in its battle to keep this state’s juvenile lifers in prison forever. Not only will prosecutors in Michigan now be allowed to keep the children they sentenced to JLWOP locked up, but so will district attorneys in other states such as Louisiana, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania, thanks to their similar legal victories.

That Miller won’t be made retroactive in Michigan and Pennsylvania is particularly noteworthy since, by 2012, these two states had imprisoned even more kids to JLWOP than had any other — 358 and 475 children, respectively. The Supreme Court has declined to get involved in these state-level battles over retroactivity and re-sentencing.

Ending up here, however, with thousands of kids imprisoned for life, was by no means inevitable, or even predictable, when we look back in our nation’s history.

In fact, for much of the last two centuries, very few would have accepted the idea that the legal system should treat children exactly like adults, or that a child who breaks the law, even egregiously so, is unredeemable. The truth is that more than 150 years ago reformers across the nation had already begun pointing out that young people simply did not have the same capacity as adults for understanding the long-term consequences of their short-term actions, or for making rational, clear-headed decisions when under pressure. Children, they argued, needed to be “saved” rather than abandoned to the adult system.

And so, by the 1860s, major cities across the nation had begun setting up facilities for juveniles who had run afoul of the law that were entirely separate from adult institutions precisely because they felt that children needed a different sort of intervention. In 1899 officials in Cook County, Illinois, opened the nation’s first juveniles-only court system, which, as the next century unfolded, would, for good and ill, become a powerful model for other American cities and counties that also believed that children were different.

To be sure, the view that children should not be punished to the same degree as adults was always contested, and it was also seriously flawed in practice. Indeed, because juvenile-justice reformers had their own very deep class and race prejudices, throughout American history the mantle of inherent innocence never covered all children equally. Unlike white kids, for instance, black and brown children were too rarely given the benefit of the doubt in the juvenile system and were too regularly treated both brutally and similarly to adults despite the myriad justice reforms that had swept the nation by World War II.

And, of course, as author Nell Bernstein has shown so hauntingly, deciding that institutionalization was still the best way to address childhood wrongdoing then — even if it was separated from adults — was itself deeply problematic. Indeed, it would mean that over the next 100 years far too many kids would be removed from their families at a most vulnerable time in their development, only to suffer much pain and trauma in juvenile facilities that were also inhumane.

Still, by the middle of the 20th century, most Americans had come to accept that, as a rule of law, children were not adults and therefore deserved some sort of special consideration in the legal and justice systems. The law and the citizenry both understood that children were redeemable.

In fact, it wasn’t until the latter third of the 20th century that a legitimate desire to clarify exactly what rights juveniles in fact had in the system, and how that system should operate, led to a series of legal decisions that unwittingly made the juvenile system much more formal and, in the process, much more like the adult criminal-justice system.

However, nothing served to blur the lines between the justice systems of children and adults more than when America embraced a national and newly punitive war on crime in the wake of the civil-rights ’60s. As all of America’s criminal laws and sentences were completely overhauled and made far harsher, by the 1980s kids, even kids as young as 11 years old, found themselves facing penalties tougher than ever had been rendered before in the history of this nation. As importantly, they found themselves tried, in record numbers, as adults within the adult criminal-justice system no matter how young they were. And, in keeping with earlier history, the children who most often faced this harsh reception in the system were kids of color.

By the 1990s too many state prosecutors had decided that their job was not to help America’s children who had broken the law become better adults — particularly its black and brown kids, whom they had decided were super-predators — but to punish them most severely.

This dramatic post-1960s shift in law, policy, and ideology had vast consequences for American children. By 2012 the United States had earned the dubious distinction of having more kids serving a life sentence without any chance of parole than any other country in the world. In most of these cases, kids had received these sentences because they were mandatory; in other words, state legislatures had decided that no mitigating circumstances should prevent a child from a life sentence. Often that crime was murder, but by no means was this the only offense that could land a child in prison forever.

And then, in 2012, we got Miller v. Alabama, which suggested that draconian JLWOP sentences would be, from then on, an unfortunate relic of a most backward past.

But yet here we are today, in 2014, with our nation’s kids still at the mercy of politicians who pride themselves on being tough on crime, because, in short, nothing in the Miller decision said prosecutors couldn’t sentence kids to JLWOP. It just said they couldn’t do it automatically.

So what about everything that scholars and scientists know from their data about kids and how they develop? What about the myriad facts about children and decision making that the Supreme Court noted in the Miller decision? And what about all that we know simply from having raised our own kids, which makes it abundantly clear that they are in no way adults? Of course, this is why our nation does not allow children to stay out all night, to live on their own, to vote, to drink alcohol, to buy property, to get married, or to sign contracts.

And we actually know a lot more than all of this. We also know that children, in time, simply age out of the majority of the stupid, dangerous, and even criminal behaviors that they may engage in. Whereas we all were easily swayed by our peers to do dumb and illegal things in our youth, as grownups we are much less easily led astray.

What is more, we know that so many of our nation’s kids who land behind bars were themselves, and first, crime victims. Indeed, had we as a nation really been worried about public safety and really been concerned about protecting those who need protection, there simply wouldn’t be this many children so neglected, so abused, and so traumatized that they, almost inevitably, ended up in the juvenile- or adult-justice system.

Take, for example, Evan Miller, the Alabama boy whose case was at the heart of Miller v. Alabama. Evan was only 14 when he received his JLWOP sentence, but by that year he had already suffered so much brutality in his own life that he had “tried to kill himself six times, the first time when he was 5 years old.”

Just as the nation’s embrace of draconian tough-on-crime policies ended up blurring the lines between our nation’s juvenile-justice system and its adult-criminal-justice system in alarming ways, so has it made unnaturally rigid the line ostensibly separating victims and offenders. And yet, here again, the data is clear: The overwhelming majority of the children who are now sitting in prison with life sentences were first themselves victims of unspeakable violence.

What in fact does it say about us as a society if we decide that only some victims of crime are worthy of being heard, or that only some acts of violence are worthy of being called a crime? What does it say about us that we now think it “just” for the state to lock a child who has done something wrong — even something terribly wrong — in a 5-by-8-foot cell from the time they are 11 or 14 or even 16 until they the day they die? Of course, if we were caught punishing our own children in this way — if we locked them up in a small room of our house for years on end — we would be seen as abusive. All understand that such treatment terrifies children and scars them permanently. We would be viewed as inhumane.

So the Supreme Court must again weigh in on our nation’s justice system. The problems it should consider are myriad, ranging from specific prison practices such as holding human beings in solitary confinement for years on end to the very racial and class disproportionality of the penal system itself. However, the justices can start by following the logic of the arguments they have already made in Miller v. Alabama. If JLWOP sentences are unconstitutional because children are not yet formed and can still be redeemed, then every one of these existing sentences should be overturned. Immediately.