Through A Glass Ceiling Darkly: My Thoughts On Ferguson

fergusonThis has nothing to do with film, I know. But when something this impactful is happening and you have any sort of platform, even one as insignificant as mine, it should be addressed. Long story short: the lack of indictment for Darren Wilson is only overshadowed by the death of Michael Brown as the worst thing to come out of this whole shitstorm. It doesn’t matter whether Brown had committed a crime, or whether he instigated the confrontation or provoked Wilson. Brown was an unarmed man who was shot 6 times, with his body ending up 150 feet away from the cop whose life he was supposedly threatening. There is absolutely no excuse for this, especially considering- for example- that James Eagan Holmes, the (white) psychopath behind the 2012 Aurora shootings, was apprehended alive by police despite carrying several firearms. No matter what Brown may have done to Wilson, I doubt Wilson was in more danger than the Aurora cops. Some additional thoughts:

  • There is absolutely no reason why police should not be required to all have body cameras mounted on them. They should be constantly monitored and reviewed to ensure that they are performing their duties properly, as anyone doing a job should be. And any dismissal of this better not be coming from the nutjobs that think there was something corrupt about the Benghazi situation by the by because what makes beat cops less capable of error than the State Department?
  • There is absolutely no reason why an indictment shouldn’t have been handed down. An indictment is not the same as declaring someone guilty, and the fact that only 1 in about 15,000 grand jury panels do not hand down indictments suggests that there is something off about nothing being done here. Situations like this, more than almost any other, demand some sort of judicial review to determine if the cop acted appropriately.
  • There is absolutely no reason why Ferguson police should have spent the last four months running around in tactical (not riot, TACTICAL, ie their We’re-Gonna-Headshot-Some-Tangos clothes) gear and automatic weapons and armored personnel carriers, clearly presuming that any large gathering of black people is going to result in violence.
  • There is absolutely no reason to bemoan the destruction of property over the loss of Michael Brown’s life, because no one seems to give a shit when sports fans make a mess over their team WINNING a championship. And while we’re at it, there is a good chance that at least as many people will die during Black Friday stampedes than have died in the last four months during the Ferguson unrest.

So yeah, the Michael Brown/Ferguson situation is fucking terrible, and it highlights a lot of terrible things about the race and police situation in America that the average person might not realize or want to face. And I’m certainly not criticizing police as a whole: many cops do their jobs well, without violent mistakes, and most of them have the right reasons for doing what they do in the line of duty. But there are clearly some huge flaws in our justice system that Ferguson is a textbook example of, and that we need to fix sooner rather than never. In the meantime, we should all sit down over this Thanksgiving holiday and watch Do The Right Thing which is (sadly) still as resonant today as it was in the year of my birth.


3 Comments on “Through A Glass Ceiling Darkly: My Thoughts On Ferguson”

  1. shiran says:

    To your second point, there is absolutely something off about the way grand jury process worked here, because as far as I understand it McCulloch:
    a) allowed “all evidence” (i.e. evidence for the defense) when generally grand jury trials are only meant to present the prosecution’s case, as they are just an evaluation of the state’s case.
    b) did not recommend specific charges to the grand jury when generally the prosecutor’s job is to point to the grand jury potential charges (y’know, since it’s meant to be his job to get an indictment)
    c) did not provide any legitimate cross-examination of Darren Wilson’s testimony, even when his testimony contradicted both his earlier police statements and hospital reports of his injuries.

    Prosecutors are on record in the court transcripts telling the jury several times just how atypical this case is, when we know NOTHING about this is unprecedented in a trial. Every case has conflicting evidence. Pretty sure the world’s most popular podcast right now is about just that.

    So pretty much all signs point to a prosecutor who clearly did not give a fuck about even considering this case going to trial, resenting having to present a case for the killing of an unarmed person by a very armed police officer, and purposely threw his case. Despicable.

    • brendanfh says:

      Another thing that drives me nuts now is the people who feel bad for Darren Wilson and say his life is over… because it’s not like there was anyone else in this situation that had his future taken away from him. Nope, just the cop who’s still alive and not being tried for anything.

      • shiran says:

        Just a cop who’s still alive, with a job, who received 400k in donation money (!), who has gotten married since this summer. HIs life is just completely over.

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