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Ramarley Graham, 18, shot dead in the Bronx, at the hands of an occupying army.

The rules of engagement for the  New York City Police Department have changed.

I'm not quite sure when, but it was, I think, shortly after David Dinkins was replaced as Mayor by Rudy G.

It used to be that every cop carried what was called a "throwdown".  An untraceable gun, the purpose of which was to be thrown down (hence, the name) if the cop discovered that he or she had shot and killed an unarmed civilian.

When the practice of carrying a throwdown lapsed, it was not a sign that the police had discontinued the excessive use of deadly force.

It was a sign that internal affairs would now accept any old story about a "furtive gesture" or "glint of light" or "reaching for a pocket" which the shooting cop would reference as giving rise to fear of immanent mortal peril in the cop, justifying, post facto  the use of otherwise unlawful deadly force.

Operating under those militarized rules of engagement, and conceiving of themselves as soldiers in the front line of a militarized war on people of color drugs two cops on a street narcotics detail chased home from a bodega a young New Yorker, Ramerley Graham.

He was in the bathroom of his grandmother's apartment when the cops demanded, and were granted, entry by the grandmother.

Rushing into the bathroom, they shot him dead while he tried to flush a small bag of weed down the toilet.  Not even enough to draw more than a ticket under New York law, but reason to snuff out his life.

The cops have concocted their usual story, (all they need these days) about how they "thought he was carrying a gun".

We have turned the army into a bunch of death squad enabled special forces international police, and we have turned the police into a death squad enabled, occupying army.

The militarization reaches far beyond Manhattan, where post 9/11 fantasies once had traffic cops wearing full tactical armor while writing parking tickets, in case Bin Laden and his hordes came rushing down Broadway. That anyone could seriously propose that Keene, New Hampshire, is a magnet for Islamo-Terroristo-Hashishin attack signals that we have, as a nation, gone as mad as the Son of Sam, and we will be getting marching orders from our bulldog any minute now. Alas, to the increasingly militarized, drone-equipped, tached out armies of the homeland brigade, the declaration of a free-fire zone in large swaths of America is a feature, not a bug, of the war on drugs.

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