Ferguson, St. Louis, USA. Another flashpoint in a land predicated on warped idealism. Our forefathers had grand ideals of forging a democratic society free from tyranny.
The undeniable truth that many so-called patriots choose to ignore: our nation was built under the guise of deceiving and conquering the native inhabitants and the infrastructure was crafted, in part, by slave labor. Is it any wonder that these ideals bring home to roost a nation torn by an institutionalized sense of power and entitlement.
An unarmed 18-year old was killed by a police officer. It is clear that Michael Brown was no saint and invited the wrath of Darren Wilson by, according to sworn testimony, first disobeying the officer’s order to get out of the street and then initiating the confrontation that led to his demise. A box of stolen Swisher Sweets was part of the impetus for this; a petty theft that spiraled into a violent escalation between a young man clearly on edge and an officer of the law clearly beyond his ability to control the situation.
Sentient human beings who question law enforcement and our government wondered why a young man with his whole life in front of him had to die in this situation. But police officers, the powers-that-be and other Americans with an inherent fear and distrust of black people will feel that justice was served here.
The narrative used in defense of Wilson: a violent black youth who had just stolen cigarillos, assaulted a corner store owner and then assaulted a police officer was asking for it. It is this callous response that is most saddening in our country, and that seems to be supported by the caretakers of a nation that prop up the “rule of law” over the value of human life.
Rule of law trumps rational thinking in America. Even when that “rule of law” became instituted amid a violent overthrow of Native American land and further established by an economy spurred on by slave labor. As KRS-ONE purported in his 1993 song, “Sound Of Da Police”: “There could never really be justice on stolen land.”
If only the Melting Pot was not always at its boiling point, something could be salvaged from the American Dream. No nation was forged without guilty blood on its hands, but if a greater society comes as a result, then this is the best we can hope for, even when karma would suggest otherwise.
No indictment was handed down by a Ferguson grand jury consisting of nine whites and three blacks. The prosecutor, if he even qualifies as such by definition, Bob McCulloch, has not prosecuted a shooting by police in his 23 years as St. Louis County D.A. (Washington Post).
In 2000, McCulloch oversaw a grand jury decision that did not indict two police officers after they killed two unarmed men (small-time drug dealer Earl Murray and his friend Ronald Beasley) in the parking lot of a Jack In The Box in St. Louis’ north suburbs. As many as a dozen detectives had descended on the pair and Murray apparently panicked and backed into a police SUV, 21 shots were fired (Newsweek).
McCulloch’s father, a policeman, was killed on duty when McCulloch was 12 and McCulloch’s brother, nephew and cousin were all St. Louis cops. McCulloch himself wanted to be a policeman but couldn’t because he lost a leg to cancer: “I couldn’t become a policeman, so being county prosecutor is the next best thing.” (Newsweek).
The refusal to let an unbiased special prosecutor preside over this case stinks to high hell. Those in power will use that power however it suits them.
In this era of ubiquitous cameras, there is no footage of the confrontation between Brown and Wilson. There are graphic images of Brown’s dead body lying in the street (which laid there for four hours). It’s something all mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles and other human beings should see and think about.
Officer Darren Wilson was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos the day after the grand jury decision—because there was no dash cam (a practice that seems to be less common these days), Wilson’s word is all we have to go on in the end. Perhaps we will hear from eyewitnesses in the days to come, but only Wilson knows if Brown reached for his gun. We know there was a skirmish, but from the images released after Wilson’s hospital visit, his injuries appeared minor.
Wilson’s use of words like “demon” and feeling like a “5-year old boy” in the grasp of “Hulk Hogan” seem heavy-handed and rehearsed.
Again, no indictment was handed down by the Ferguson grand jury. The indictment here is of the U.S. Judicial System and all the phony ideals that went into its construction.
A trial outside of the “rule of law” is now ongoing. Common sense and respect for the sanctity of any life. We consider martyrdom for the young man, troubled and violent as he appeared to be on August 9, 2014. Diseased by a raving lunatic culture like us all.
F*** the police, but don’t fuck with them. Omerta is always the best policy.
A trial for Wilson would have appeased some of the masses; seven years for involuntary manslaughter would likely have been the maximum sentence for him, surely that time is worth the young man’s life he took away out of fear.
Maybe we should stop and think about why Mike Brown would steal and rough up a store clerk and then violently confront a police officer. Where did our society fail Mike Brown, why was he so angry and reckless.
Wilson was wired to believe his life was in danger, he says his conscience is clean, that an unleashed (yet unarmed) “demon” would have put him in a body bag if he did not react the way he did. Wilson’s language indicates either a calculated attempt to dehumanize Brown or an institution-wide bias against black males.
Further troubling is Wilson’s claim to his supervisor that “he had to shoot someone.” He had to, there was no other alternative in his mind.
It’s safe to say the “rule of law” has a special set of guidelines when dealing with police officers. The powers-that-be, like McCulloch in this case, have the resources and know-how to rig outcomes in their favor.
There are consequences for robbery and assault, ones that should be handled by due process. But when police officers feel threatened, it is increasingly clear that they are trained to shoot first (or choke in the case of Staten Island’s Eric Garner) and ask questions later.
Wilson’s claim that he “did his job” seems insensitive at best and at worst remorseless. Doing his job that day apparently involved killing an unarmed teenager. His narrative in the Stephanopoulos video is so clearly choreographed—by crafting the story of the “officer as victim” he creates the justification for the use of deadly force. Is it conceivable, yes, could he be lying or embellishing on the truth to help his cause, absolutely.
Short of killing Michael Brown, what could Wilson have done differently? What can police do to ensure that conflicts such as these do not end in deaths under dubious circumstances?
Truth and justice are words that American government officials like to throw around, but they remain elusive when their deliverance would upset the power structure.
The proposed Mike Brown Law—requiring police officers to wear cameras—seems like a reasonable piece of legislation, though cost and efficacy are considerations as well. Cameras would require accountability for police officers who may be less likely to be on a hair-trigger in confrontations like the one in Ferguson and the Tamir Rice case in Cleveland.
Do not take what Darren Wilson, Bob McCulloch, Barack Obama or any government official/police officer says at face value. The U.S. government and its supposed enforcers (the police, much of the military) of the rule of law have proven time and again that their truths are manipulated and, at times, complete falsehoods.
Seek truth, seek justice, seek peace and heed the words once put forth by City Lights bookstore:
Featured image courtesy of Sodahead.com