On Michael Brown and Public Reactions

In lieu of commenting on the countless uninformed social media posts I’ve seen, I’m just going to reply to them all at once. First off, get informed. Don’t read an article on CNN, or watch some segment on the news. If you’re going to talk about Ferguson or make assumptions on Ferguson, get informed. Get on twitter, follow the reporters and residents and politicians that are down there every night, posting pictures and videos and constant updates about everything that’s going on.

Secondly, regarding the looters and rioting. Contrary to popular belief, the protesters are not rioting. When there have been riots, they have been initiated by others, and in almost all instances the protesters have attempted to self-police and have been blocking entry to the stores and businesses that were broken into. Don’t for a second thing that this entire crowd just up and decided to break shit and burn shit as a protest. The people that actually give a fuck about this issue are against looting; against attacking cops; and against chaos. The people looting saw a golden opportunity to steal some shit while the cops were occupied. If you’re trying to claim that these crowds are one and the same, go get fucking educated. Or find some videos from Wednesday night when the people were protesting peacefully, sans looting, and the cops decided to fire tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd…not at all an excessive show of force. There’s a reason that the St Louis County PD was relieved by Highway Patrol the following day.

Third point, why is everyone pissed? Seven days ago a teenager was killed by a policeman. It took six days for the name to be released, and thus far that’s the only information that was provided. They’re pissed because there’s a rush to supply information about the kid, answering unasked questions like “did he have a criminal record?” and “was he in a gang?” and “is there anything he did to potentially deserve this?” Why else go out of your way to mention that this dead teenager was a suspect in a robbery when the officer in question didn’t know about it and stopped him for a completely unrelated reason? Oh, he stole some cigarillos? Yea that totally justifies his execution. Even though we don’t know the full details, it’s troubling that the version we’re hearing from police has a huge gap…it goes from a struggle in the car and a shot fired inside the vehicle to “A few moments later, Chief Belmar said, the officer allegedly fired multiple shots outside the vehicle that killed the suspect, about 35 feet from the cruiser.” Seven days later, and we’ve been given more irrelevant information about Michael Brown and still don’t have the officer’s account of what happened between the struggle in the vehicle and the actual shooting…it almost feels like the trigger-man is being sheltered, as if the full account might paint him in a negative light somehow.

Fourth point, those of you against protests in general. There isn’t much to say on this, that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. But realize that this crime goes beyond race; this is about cops vs. civilians, and it’s not an isolated issue. When the people that are supposed to protect you are killing you instead, that’s a problem. When it’s happening with increasing regularity, that’s a problem. The whole criminal justice system is fucked, top to bottom, but that’s a much longer discussion for another day and another time. Though I highly suggest you do some research to learn more about law enforcement in this country, as well as excessive force and questionable shootings by police officers.

Fifth point…the crime might not be about race, but the reactions are. There’s a reason the media kept running the picture of Michael Brown throwing up a gang sign (unless it was a peace sign…but we can’t expect any sort of responsible reporting). There’s a reason that people have seized on the fact that he had just stolen a pack of cigarillos. There’s a reason that idiots are claiming that these protests are just an excuse for everyone to loot. What that reason is (if it’s not racism, whether blatant or subtle), I don’t know. But none of those things can be used to justify the shooting. Posing for a picture doesn’t excuse getting shot 8-10 times. Neither does petty theft. Neither does any looting (and I feel bad that I have to spell this out for some of y’all, but that happened AFTER THE FUCKING SHOOTING).

So why do people cling to it? Why are there folks frustrated with all of this, who can’t understand why anyone would bother getting this angry? Imagine that someone kills your child, or your friend…people witnessed it, everyone knows who did it, yet six days later, all they’re doing is talking about your kid. “Well when he was 15 he was charged for tagging a wall, and in the 6th grade he pushed a kid to the ground and stole his lunch money.” There’s absolutely no reason to get into any of that because it’s not relevant to the central fucking issue. A kid was killed. The man that pulled the trigger is being protected. Whether you think Michael Brown was a saint or a thug, at the end of the day he didn’t deserve what happened to him. Maybe if you give the people (including his parents) the answers that they’re seeking, instead of trying to shield the cop while you dish out any negative info you can find on Michael Brown, they won’t be so aggravated.

And once again, get informed.

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