Friday, August 29, 2014

Another Black (and White) Eye

Lately, over the past ten years or so, in what are supposed to be "dog days" -- the world on vacation and sweating out (sitting out) the last weeks of summer (or August, in any case) -- full of unwatched news cycles ... traditionally, nobody paying attention ...

Since 2005 or so, our lazy hazy crazy last dayz of summer have unleashed Hurricane Katrina ... the NSA depths ... a tortured Robin Williams' soul (today, just weeks later, we pray for Joan Rivers) ...

And a fear-mongered, race-baited, hate-fueled carnival, belched from the bowels of flyover country ... setting things back again, erasing gains made.  Although happily, with the possible exception of Jon Stewart, most people in the U.S. have come to understand that RACE did not necessarily need to be played this time in Ferguson, Missouri.

Michael Brown was black and the cop is white.  So?

November 2014 grand jury decision:  We live in Turkey Times.

How twistedly "comforting"!  Convenient to too many.  A superb excuse!  For increasingly mobile, handily organized and bit-champing losers to get up and do something ... to whiff opportunity and  attack like wolves, a small town and pack of public protectors, scarcely equipped to handle such limelight ...

In fact, as the inciteful, typically ridiculous media coverage wore on (and on) this month, racial flames quickly wound up on the back burner, as video of Michael Brown robbing a convenience store surfaced ... the gunned down Michael Brown iconically wearing the exact same clothing -- right down to his flip-flops or whatever they were -- as he lay motionless, lifeless, in the street.

Was it "hunting season" to white cops in Ferguson?  Was (Is) Darren Wilson a vicious, predatory racist?  Or a police officer confronted by a large and menacing individual who was, by accounts, "walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic" ... and therefore, the police officer -- doing the job of any police officer, of any color, anywhere -- reached out to the large and menacing individual and said, "Stop doing that.  Stop walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic.  You're going to get hurt, or cause an accident and hurt others.  WHAT ARE YOU DOING?  Get out of the street!"

Now in such a situation, if the large and menacing individual pipes up either literally or figuratively and says, "NO", the situation becomes inherently escalated; tensions, automatically mounted.

If the large and menacing individual then advances toward the police officer, especially if instructed to stand still (or walk the other way and stop being a nuisance) ... Escalated.  If the large and menacing individual is sneering or snarling, or maybe swearing ... defiant in any way ... likewise, escalated.

At a certain point, whether or not the large and menacing individual is literally "armed and dangerous", he effectively becomes so.  If he's throwing punches, BOOM!

Guess what?  Escalated, to Danger from Nuisance:  intrinsically a threat to public safety ... as well as to himself, if there seems to be complete disregard for consequences, including his own welfare.

Michael Brown was caught on video roughing up a store owner; and then he decided to wander in traffic.  WHY?

If I did either of those things, I would expect a visit from police.  Because Michael Brown was not brandishing a weapon, it's somehow OKAY that he strong-armed a store owner, stole a few things and then wandered around, menacing drivers and police officers?  Because it was "his" neighborhood??  Because he wasn't "armed", he therefore couldn't be dangerous, to himself and others ... and such black and white thinking is really okay?

Michael Brown should have just been left alone, in other words, to enjoy his Saturday, and ignored by cops when he ignored and advanced toward them?


Should Michael Brown have been shot six times in the face of perceived threat (danger), given the fact that he himself was not armed?  A single bullet, a warning shot in the air, might have sufficed.

Should Michael Brown have been killed?  And then left to die in the street, uncovered for hours, like so much carrion?  Certainly not.

Were mistakes made by cops in the handling of this?  And those mistakes amplified, magnified, emotionalized, dramatized by a race-baiting media and incendiary public?

Yes and yes.  Yes.

And did Michael Brown happen to be black, and his killer, a small town police officer, white?

Sadly YES.
Photo by Jglo: "Armed, Dangerous"
Armed & Dangerous
So sadly, here we go again ...