Watch out Ferguson, here it comes
We’ll hear the Grand Jury’s decision on the Ferguson, Missouri shooting any day now. Police departments in the area have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to prepare for possible riots after the decision is announced, and the Missouri National Guard has been mobilized. We (allegedly) don’t know what the Grand Jury is going to say, but the future seems pretty clear to me.
Officer Darren Wilson isn’t going to be indicted.
The leaked Grand Jury testimony we’ve heard thus far seems calculated to soften the blow: numerous black witnesses corroborated Officer Wilson’s account. Evidence proves Michael Brown was shot in the hand during a struggle inside the police car after he assaulted Wilson. Brown wasn’t shot in the back as originally claimed. Brown didn’t have his hands up. Basically, the public is being prepared to hear “no charges against Officer Wilson”.
If I’m right we’re going to see riots, probably in several cities. Police officers will become targets, whether or not they’ve ever done anything “wrong”. The riots, damage and retaliation murders could equal or even rival 1992’s LA Riots, which killed 53 people (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_Los_Angeles_riots).
We’ll also see random assaults on whites, probably nationwide. Some whites, like Ellis Haines who was killed by a mob of black youths during the LA Riots, will be murdered just for being white (http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~oliver/soc220/Lectures220/AfricanAmericans/LA%20Riot%201992%20Deaths.htm). Others will be attacked and survive, just like Reginald Denny in South Central LA. He was beaten, hit in the head with a brick and shot at from close range. Other minorities will be attacked for not being black, like Fidel Lopez. He was beaten with a car stereo, robbed, spray-painted black, and one rioter tried to slice his ear off.
Fortunately, many black voices are urging calm and peaceful protests. Unfortunately, others aren’t.
On November 13th, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published this “Q&A for people tired of Ferguson protests” (http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/q-a-for-people-tired-of-ferguson-protests/article_1cb26dec-d2b6-5ddd-aba9-b6110c0a71f5.html?mobile_touch=true). This article had answers from the “Don’t Shoot Coalition”, a group of “over 50 social justice organizations”. The group didn’t make any overt appeals for violence. But they did make some comments that certainly seem to justify taking action against the innocent.
In response to the question “What good does it do to disrupt businesses and people’s lives, when these people are not part of the problem?”, the DSC said this:
“Your question does not reflect the whole picture. This involves all of us. It’s wrong to simply draw arbitrary boundaries around issues like fair policing, and decide that most folks are not involved. Many people — especially white folks — feel they can ignore the problem. People who benefit from or are not impacted by this unfair system have a duty to speak up and not be complicit. Ferguson has shifted the boundary line. It is not enough to say, ‘I’m not racist’ just because you have suppressed your conscious biases. The protests are designed to make people feel uncomfortable and spur us all to end society’s structural biases.”
That sounds semi-reasonable. All the DSC wants to do is “spur us all to end society’s structural biases”, right?
Not exactly. I have serious concerns about a few points they make.
1) “Many people — especially white folks — feel they can ignore the problem. People who benefit from or are not impacted by this unfair system have a duty to speak up and not be complicit.”
So if I’m intentionally neutral on the Michael Brown case, I’m part of the problem? Let’s say Joe Citizen from Alabama adopts this position: Joe doesn’t trust cops and thinks Wilson probably shouldn’t have shot Brown. But Joe also thinks Brown was acting like a thug and doesn’t deserve sympathy or elevation to hero status. So Joe is waiting for the Grand Jury to announce its decision and present evidence before he decides whether or not the shooting was justified.
In my eyes, this makes Joe a reasonable guy. I’d disagree with Joe on a couple of his opinions, but I understand his point. Since Joe was obviously not involved in the incident, I’d say he bears no blame either way, and obviously has no responsibility to change society or demand justice for Brown (especially since we don’t even know if the killing of Brown was a crime).
The DSC doesn’t see it that way. According to them, Joe MUST speak up against what the DSC sees as an unfair system. If Joe doesn’t, then in the DSC’s eyes Joe is part of the problem. Especially if he’s white.
2) “It is not enough to say, ‘I’m not racist’ just because you have suppressed your conscious biases.”
This is fantastic. First, who is the DSC to decide what is “enough”? They don’t give orders to anyone, nobody is required to take whatever action the DSC deems necessary. This is America. People can respond to this situation as they see fit. If someone wants to peacefully protest or publicly speak, great. If someone wants to stay out of it, fine. If someone wants to say “I’m not racist”, no problem. That’s enough if they decide it’s enough.
And the “suppressed your conscious biases” comment makes a very strong statement. The DSC apparently assumes we’re horribly biased, and at best we’ve only gotten the conscious biases under control. This is a pretty good stretch, unless they’ve psychoanalyzed everyone in America.
3) “The protests are designed to make people feel uncomfortable and spur us all to end society’s structural biases.”
Well, they’ll accomplish one goal. They will make people feel uncomfortable, especially since at least some of them are planning on targeting white people (http://www.ijreview.com/2014/11/203806-ferguson-protesters-discuss-exactly-targeting-grand-jury-announcement/). As far as ending all of society’s structural biases, as soon as they get done with that they can work on getting the sun to rise in the west. Sorry, but humans are a biased bunch, and nobody’s changing that. The DSC is biased as hell, and they prove it with this next statement.
4) “Sure, judgments made through newspaper accounts and word of mouth are often flawed but, filtered through the black community’s lived experiences, they are still more trustworthy than the current legal process.”
So let’s get this straight: the DSC knows media accounts and shared stories are often wrong. But that doesn’t matter. Incorrect media reports and nonsensical “crooked cops shot this poor innocent gentle giant for no reason” rumors carry more weight than the results of an investigation. People who claim they’re against bias, then turn around and say “I don’t care about evidence, all I care about is how I feel” are the most biased of all.
So if Wilson isn’t indicted, we’re going to see riots and attacks. If Wilson is indicted, we’ll still see riots and attacks if he’s charged with anything less than murder. Brown’s supporters have decided Wilson is guilty, they don’t care that the media reports were wrong, they don’t care that witnesses supporting Brown were lying. They just know Wilson is guilty and that’s the end of it.
And they’ll be protesting all over the country, and even in Canada (what the hell does Canada have to do with this?). As usual, professional protestors will do all they can to provoke police, and every nutjob with some stupid agenda will join in. We’ll see communists, who want the state and police to have more power, protesting alongside people who demand that the state and police have less power. We’ll see “Occupy” protestors screaming about big corporations figuratively robbing the little guy, while simultaneously supporting a 6’4”, 300 pound bully who literally robbed a little guy.
Some demonstrations will be peaceful and well-organized, some will go insane. Check this link, it shows where and when many of the protests will be.
To my law enforcement brothers in and around Ferguson, and all over the country, stay safe. Things are going to get bad for us. To innocent people of any color in and around Ferguson, two things: don’t take unnecessary risks, and don’t let anyone victimize you. Don’t let protestors force you to take a side, don’t let them dictate what you “have to” think. If you have means to resist, don’t let anyone physically attack you, your family, home, business or property.
Some of the protestors will have legitimate grievances and will present them in a reasonable way. Some will use the protests as an excuse to be the thugs and looters they already were. Some will show their passion against racism and injustice by attacking innocent people of other races.
If Brown’s death showed how racist America supposedly is, wait til you see what protestors do when Wilson is cleared of wrongdoing.
Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com, Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at email@example.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).
Filed under: Writing | 14 Comments
Tags: darren wilson, ferguson, michael brown, veteran writers