On Michael Brown and Public Reactions: Part II

Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown. Only three people witnessed the events from start to finish; one is dead, one is a cop, and one is Michael’s friend. So we have two wildly differing accounts of what transpired that afternoon. There are certainties in the story (there was some sort of incident in the car because Michael’s DNA was found in the vehicle), as well as inconsistencies (such as the 35-foot distance between the vehicle and where Michael died, which is actually 140 feet). I don’t know what really happened any more than you do. What I do know is that I’m more inclined to believe that Michael Brown’s murder was unjust and unnecessary.

His death was a tragedy; there’s no way to spin that. Even if he “intimidated” a store owner, even if he stole some cigarillos, even if he was walking in the street and refued to move, even if he attacked a cop, he did not deserve to die. Did he deserve to be arrested and charged? Sure, no one’s going to argue that. But the common sentiment amongst some of the morons is that any one of those things justifies what happened. “If he didn’t want to die, then he shouldn’t have been stealing and smoking weed.” I mean shit, can you even see from up on your high horse? I don’t understand how or why Michael Brown would run 140 feet from the car after having been shot in the hand, and then decide to turn around and charge the armed cop that was chasing him. Logically it makes no sense, but file that with the other questions that will remain unanswered.  What I do know is that there’s a clearly established precedent for protecting officers that have been accused of misconduct or excessive force. Prosecutors are notoriously reluctant to file charges against members of law enforcement; and even if charges are filed, you can expect the courts to rule in favor of the police (even with video evidence).

But here’s what so many people don’t understand: this isn’t about Mike Brown. As sad as it is to say, he’s just another page in the long, long, looooong list of murder victims that will receive scorn instead of justice, solely because they were unlucky enough to be on the wrong end of a cop that felt “threatened.” This isn’t a 2014 issue; this goes back, way back, before a fair amount of us were born. If I told you that an unarmed black man was shot and killed by a cop, and that a grand jury refused to indict the officer, you would (unfortunately) not be surprised. If I told you that it happened in 1965, you’d probably chalk it up to the high tension of the Civil Rights era, especially in Alabama. And if I asked you why the same thing happened almost 50 years later, would you have an answer? Is there anyone that can explain and/or justify why police officers seemingly have a free pass to beat and rape and kill with almost no consequences (except in the most egregious cases)?

But no one wants to have that conversation. It’s easier to rationalize it, to say that a kid who stole some cigarillos was a thug that got what was coming to him. It’s easier to look at Ferguson, ignore the 90% of people protesting peacefully, and focus on the small minority rioting and causing havoc (strangely, these voices are nowhere to be found when people are rioting over sports games). It’s easier to look down on people, throwing out MLK quotes and pretending to be some sort of moral authority while simultaneously ignoring the despicable behavior of your own children (I’m sorry, did I just accuse an entire group of something with no supporting evidence? Shit, my bad…).

The high and mighty types love to criticize and tell people that disobedience and reckless behavior is no way to get a message spread. So what do you suggest? We tried it the peaceful way. We tried it the legal way. We tried everything just so people would pay attention and realize what’s going on, yet the problems are ignored and continue to be repeated. I’m an advocate of peace. I’m not a militant person, and my (completely ridiculous) dream is for everyone to just wake up and realize that we’re in this together. Hate accomplishes nothing, and as long as we’re all sharing the planet, we should learn to get along. However, peace isn’t going to get it done. If you have something to say and it’s not being heard, speak louder. If they still can’t hear you, then get their attention, one way or another. The message is important, the movement is important, and it’s not going to go away.

There’s a somewhat popular t-shirt stating “Not Your Respectable Negro.” I choose to interpret it as such: No more patiently waiting for a seat at the table. No more giving the benefit of the doubt and assuming that the problems will be resolved on their own. You don’t give a fuck about us, and if you think you can ignore us, then you are sorely mistaken. Do you think that this is the end? Do you think that the refusal to indict this murderer will be taken as a defeat? We’re just getting started. Keep shielding your eyes, keep trying to ignore the problems in front of you. Either this movement will grow to the point where you’ll be unable to ignore it, or the police will start targeting white people. And then, you’ll see what the fuck what we’ve been talking about this whole time.

No Justice, No Peace.

**13 months ago, I wrote an article entitled Let’s play a game of madlibs, presented here without comment:

Citizens are up in arms over another case of police brutality, after an unarmed _______[city] resident was shot and killed. Officers claim that the victim was acting erratically and came at them with a _______[weapon], but witnesses dispute the facts provided, stating that the victim was not charging or rushing. The victim’s _______[relative] claims that “_________[Victim’s name] ain’t have no weapon, he ain’t had nothin on him. Cops showed up, started yellin at him, and then just shot him. He didn’t charge, he wasn’t aggressive, and the only thing in his hand was ___________[harmless item].”

After conducting an internal investigation, the __________[city] police department has determined that the use of force was justified and stated that the officers responsible will not be charged for the ___________[illogically high number]th case of an unarmed citizen killed by law enforcement’s use of excessive force.

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