Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Legacy Of Michael Brown

We will probably never know with absolute certainty why Michael Brown was shot.  The autopsy results released are somewhat inconclusive.  Brown was probably not shot at close range, but he also wasn't shot in the back.  If he wasn't shot at close range, then the story that he was shot reaching into the police car is wrong.  The final "kill" shot to the head could have happened as he rushed the officer or was falling from the other bullet wounds.

Six shots - none at close range - does seem excessive no matter what.  Especially for jaywalking.

But Michael Brown was not an angel.  The efforts by the Ferguson police department to point this out by releasing the tape of him perhaps shoplifting cigars and shoving a clerk - if true - suggests that Michael Brown was not Gandhi.

The reason why Ferguson re-erupted after the surveillance video is African Americans are pissed about the idea that there are legitimate reasons to shoot 18 year old black jaywalkers.  The references to Brown's taste in hip-hop or his size make him out to be a threat to society that had to be put down.  And blacks are legitimately enraged by this.  It sits at the very heart of modern racism.

The segregated lunch counter is gone, but in the place of the black man who feared the lynch mob, we now have the idea of the black man run amok.  He has morphed from Uncle Tom to Stokely Carmichael in the minds of white Americans.

When looting broke out in Ferguson, many of the protesters made a human chain to block the stores from further looting.  They understand that much of modern racism is based on the fear of baggy pants wearing black men.  Looting only muddies the moral clarity of their protests.

We are a remarkably fearful nation - a nation of bedwetters.

We are afraid of ISIS and Al Qaeda.  We are afraid of young black men like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.  We are afraid of black helicopters and the NSA.  We are afraid of kidnappers and child molesters.

And so we arm ourselves and our police forces to the teeth to combat these threats that really don't exist.

Decisions based on fear are almost always bad ones.

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