Living in Missouri, I can hardly avoid following the Ferguson events, whether I wish to or not. And I would rather not. Local news is depressing, usually intentionally so, and often times too vapid to make it worth watching. My general take is along the lines of Don Henley here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0xr31XbSOU (though he deserved the abuse in his case).
And the media is the villain here, more than anyone. Officer Wilson, IMHO probably could have reacted with less force. But that isn’t murder. Or even criminal. There’s no excuse for the New York Times living down to its fishwrap of record moniker and doxing his address–and saying his WIFE, who is innocent of ANY crime, lives there as well. They played up the ‘gentle giant’ narrative, which facts show is not true. They dealt the race card, from the bottom of the deck, time and again. They coordinated with those wanting a riot, and now they have one. I’d ask if they were ashamed. But they know not the meaning of the word.
Michael Brown is not a martyr. Not a gentle giant. Moments before the shooting, he was choking a man in a convenience store during a robbery. His crime is on video. He initiated both verbal and physical violence with the police officer. Multiple witnesses of multiple ethnic backgrounds confirm it. His family has a history of criminal and violent behavior as well. He learned that from them. He was not ‘walking down the street’ because he was carefree and innocent. The list of motives for doing so in truth are slim, and none endear him as a particularly sympathetic figure.
I believe in both citizens and officers having cameras and mikes to record all altercations. Because very few people want to be the first person caught in bad behavior on camera. It’s proven to reduce belligerence in altercations. I don’t believe in the police having access to military-grade gear. They’re not trained for it. They don’t need it. If a mob gets to that point, it should be the National Guard doing the dispersing. That said, anyone who reaches for a police officer’s gun, or pushes his cruiser door shut to punch him through it, cannot expect that to end well.
To the extent what happened has anything to do with race, it was people outside the situation that made it that way. To the extent race relations have been set back, it is because professional agitators have convinced the residents of Ferguson to riot. Not protest. One does not ‘protest’ by burning down businesses and destroying property. It is sad. It is terrible. But tragedy and murder are not synonymous.