The evidence is out there, and persuasive to a reasonable person (as well as the grand jury), that Brown was shot in self-defense. That in no way means he “deserved” to die – only that he made a very, very bad decision in choosing to attack an armed person. Given that he attacked a cop, he knew from the beginning that he was starting a fight with someone carrying at least one weapon.
“Unarmed” doesn’t mean a thing when you’re talking about a large 18-year-old male. Every military in the world recruits 18-year-old males for a damn good reason. The fists (and feet) of an able-bodied 18-year-old male are deadly weapons in their own right. And being beaten to death is a particularly ugly way to die. I would never blame anyone for shooting an “unarmed” able-bodied 18-year-old male who was attacking them (unless that person provoked the fight specifically to try to abuse the laws about self-defense to commit murder, of course).
That still doesn’t mean he “deserved” to die. “If only” are the saddest words in the English language; there are so many things that could have gone differently that would not have resulted in the death of even a not very upstanding member of the community.
However, each individual is responsible for making his own choices – and Brown chose the life path that ended so unexpectedly in the street, and it was in his power, completely, from start to finish, to avoid what happened. He didn’t.
But you know who I really blame for the damage done to our society by this sad incident? The media. Out of so many cases of legitimate police brutality, why Ferguson? Out of so many young black men killed by gun violence in the past year, why Ferguson? When the earlier rioting proved to have been mostly the work of outside agitators, why did the media continue to fan the flames and direct attention to Ferguson?
Because they’re corrupt, venal leeches, of course. The “white man shoots unarmed black teen” narrative was too sweet to give up, especially after those heady days of power during the Trayvon Martin fiasco. All the media had to do was keep attention on the case, keep fanning those embers, and they’d be guaranteed a good show for the rubbernecking audience. The media wanted the riots and the violence and the property destruction and the race-baiting.
Oh yes. It works because people love to watch a trainwreck from the safety of their own homes. Twitter was alive with commentary, but the one bright side was that some, at least, were watching live streams from ordinary people. (That citizen journalist’s phone was, predictably, stolen by a looter.) No single camera can capture all of what goes on, but better to be watching a live, unedited stream from an ordinary person than something the media is using to further their own agenda.
I hate how the agitators are all such raging hypocrites, pretending to care about the downtrodden. Never mind the fact that the violence that broke out last night destroyed places of business, robbing Ferguson residents of their jobs three days before Thanksgiving. Those who are excusing the violence because they want to “stick it to the man” don’t see the members of the community that they’re hurting. For example:
Still, Ferguson resident Malik Rhasaan, a community organizer with Hands Up United, said the carnage was nothing compared with the sight of Brown’s body lying in the street for several hours following his death. “They have insurance. They can rebuild,” said Rhasaan, 42. “The life of Mike Brown can’t be rebuilt. Our patience cannot be rebuilt.
The hourly employees at torched businesses aren’t going to be getting paychecks in December, because a violent mob decided that their outrage at the law functioning properly was more important than Ferguson residents’ jobs. Sure, the property owners have insurance. They can rebuild. That doesn’t mean that they’re going to rebuild in Ferguson. You know what these riots have done for Ferguson? Increased the insurance premiums by quite a bit, I’m sure. How many businesses that weren’t looted and burned are going to quietly close over the next year, because their profitability couldn’t keep up with increased insurance premiums? How many minimum-wage employees in Ferguson just lost their jobs because these agitators decided to give rhetorical cover to rioting and looting?
What does a Walgreens or a Little Ceasar’s have to do with police misconduct? What do retail stores have to do with the justice system? What do the owners of those properties have to do with what happened to Brown? NOTHING. I don’t approve of riots and property damage, but I would have at least a little bit of respect if the rioting had targeted, say, the Ferguson police department. I mean, a crowd gathered there, so it’s not like they didn’t know where it was. How about burning City Hall, just down the road and around the corner? I mean, that would actually be a genuine political statement, and I don’t really have a problem with putting government employees out of work, unlike retail minions who need all the pay they can get. Even if I still wouldn’t approve of the property damage, mind you.
No, there’s no virtue in the rioting in Ferguson, no bigger picture, no noble anger or righteous outrage. These aren’t civil rights protesters or freedom fighters or even political revolutionaries. They’re just thugs grabbing an excuse to engage in violence and robbery, ignoring the pleas of the Brown family, ignoring the welfare of the people of Ferguson, and using a tragedy as an excuse to spread misery and pain.