Okay, so these kinds of topics I generally tend to stray from because of the heated emotions that can get stirred up as a result…but this is MY blog and as an American citizen, I feel that it’s my duty to uphold one of the (seemingly) few rights that I (and WE, as collective citizens) still retain possession of–albeit, for the moment–which is my right of Freedom Of Speech. As such, I’m choosing to exercise that right.
Tonight, many of us–myself included–were glued to our television sets, watching with bated breath as the Grand Jury verdict in the Michael Brown/Officer Darrin Wilson case out of Ferguson, Missouri was officially read. I–like countless others across the nation, I’m sure–am absolutely outraged and dumbfounded by the true bill verdict that was ready. Truly. For many reasons.
For starters, the tone of the man reading the verdict just irked me. His blatant criticism and blaming of the media was nothing but a transparent shield meant to cast blame and shift the focus from those responsible for this crime. That bothered me because let’s face it, the media isn’t the one to blame here. The media didn’t spark this outrage and backlash–it simply did its job…which is to cover the news. Which is exactly what they did. They upheld their journalistic principles and kept the nation informed of what was happening in the small community that’s been ravaged and torn apart at the hands of law enforcement and the failing legal system in this country. Before this tragedy, most people hadn’t ever heard of the Missouri town called Ferguson. I know I hadn’t. Now the world knows…which is as it should be. Honestly, I’m glad this case went viral because it highlights the cracks in the system and puts a face and name to a problem that we like to ignore and pretend doesn’t exist: racism. America likes to boast that racism is a non-issue nowadays, when in reality, it’s just as prevalent as ever. We simply just don’t hear all the stories–just the select ones that have managed to grasp national attention. We can deny it all we want, but racism and prejudice still exists. And it’s not just in Ferguson, either. It’s everywhere.
Already, my news feed is blowing up with all these bigoted statuses and tweets from these professed supporters of Officer Wilson. Honestly, I just don’t get those people. I really don’t. I mean, are they blind? Or are they just plain ignorant? Maybe it’s a little of both, I don’t know. I know I shouldn’t be surprised at how gullible and oblivious people are, but I am…a little bit. I mean, come on people! What this officer did was WRONG. He shot an unarmed man multiple times and killed him. That’s a crime. That’s murder. Regardless of whatever happened that day, a man died. That happened. Race aside, someone died. Granted, we might never know what exactly all happened that fateful day. We weren’t there, obviously. What we do know is that Brown somehow got into an altercation with the officer inside that patrol car and just minutes later, Brown was lying dead in the street, yards from the patrol car, with several bullets in him. I’m not saying that nothing happened. Clearly there was a struggle inside that patrol car that day. But that doesn’t explain or dismiss the fact that Brown died yards from that parked vehicle. That, if nothing else, speaks volumes. It says that at some point after the struggle, Brown ran from the officer and the officer exited his vehicle and pursued him, shooting. Which begs the question as to why–if the officer was so concerned for his life–why in hell would he have left the vehicle to pursue Brown? Not to mention, why would he continue shooting if Brown was obviously running away? He was no longer in any physical danger and his life was no longer being threatened. The threat was gone. So WHY the hell did he do it?
At the very least, he should have been indicted for manslaughter. The crime may not have been premeditated, but it still resulted in the death of another human being. Besides, what the hell do you call shooting someone six times? Oh yeah, it’s called excessive force and overkill. Brown was fleeing. If he wanted to incapacitate him, he could have shot him in the leg or something. Once. He didn’t have to shoot him in the back half a dozen times. The fact that the grand jury came back with nothing–not even an indictment for manslaughter–is essentially saying that the officer did nothing wrong…that nothing unjust happened there that day. And that’s just not true. Or right. He was wrong. He chose to get out of his patrol car. He chose to pursue the suspect. He chose to pull that trigger, not once but six times. Twice in the head!
People can say what they want, but if that had been anyone else who pulled the trigger that day, he/she would be looking at life behind bars. I know they would. But because this was a member of law enforcement, he got off. And to me, that’s the biggest injustice of all of this. This officer got away with what he did for no other reason than because he wears a badge. That’s not right. At all. And people wonder why so many people distrust the police and have lost all faith in the legal system these days. It’s because cops like Wilson use their badge to shield themselves and skate around the very laws they were sworn to uphold. Don’t get me wrong–there are some good police out there. There are. And yes, I do realize that law enforcement put their lives on the line every day by doing what they do–but that doesn’t give them the authority to play executioner. They shouldn’t be held above the law. They should be just as accountable for their actions as the average citizen would be, if not more so.
But that didn’t happen tonight. There was no justice in Ferguson tonight. And because of it, there are–inevitably–going to be more riots. Ferguson isn’t going to find peace today, or tomorrow, or even the day after that. They may never find it because of the injustice that was committed tonight. If people thought it was bad before…they’re in for a surprise. This just set this country back. Justice wasn’t served tonight. Not at all. That officer got away with murder. And a war was just raged, and America is fighting against herself. Whatever happens from here on out–I hope it stays in the conscience of those 12 twelve individuals on that grand jury panel. I hope it stays on the conscience of Officer Wilson…because it should. This is something Brown’s family will have to live with for the rest of their lives. It’s only fair that their son’s murderer have to live with the guilt of having taken that life. He’s got blood on his hands. And that’s never going away.
So this is for Ferguson…and for Michael Brown, the victim of a screwed up system that protects its own, regardless of guilt, and tramples on the rights of the rest. May peace be with us all. I have a feeling we’re going to need it. 😦