Not even a minute had passed since the grand jury’s decision was handed down when the first eight shots rang out. It’s been almost four months since Officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown while on duty in Ferguson, Missouri, and the grand jury has decided not to move forward with any charges against Wilson. Needless to say, a large portion of the black community in Ferguson didn’t take the news well. Watching the looting and vandalism that followed the announcement made one thing abundantly clear: this isn’t about race.
Take a step back and consider the damage done immediately following the grand jury’s decision. For hours rioters looted whatever businesses had been foolishly trusting enough to not board up their windows, set fire to buildings and fired numerous pistol rounds. None of those actions does a single thing to bridge the supposed gap created by the alleged racism in Ferguson; their actions only create more tension in a town already stressed to the breaking point. This is all taking place in the days leading up to Thanksgiving – and Black Friday. What does it mean for businesses hit hard by looters or burned down by rioters? They’re going be losing money, not making it, during the most crucial sales weekend of the year – and many are minority-owned.
Those playing the race card say more blacks than whites are pulled over for traffic stops and arrested in Ferguson, and if you take that statement at face value, it sounds grim. However, only 29% of the population is white; 71% is black. It doesn’t matter if three-quarters of a population is black, white, or pink with orange polka dots; that three-quarters will have the majority of law enforcement encounters. That’s reality.
Those crying racism because the grand jury was made up of nine whites and three blacks are ignoring something: how a grand jury is selected.
Grand jury selection usually utilizes voter registration and valid driver’s license lists. So why was Officer Darren Wilson’s grand jury 70% white? Because that’s representative of Ferguson’s registered voters (it’s also indicative of their licensed drivers, but that’s another issue).
In Ferguson, the majority of registered voters are white. Statistically, those who register to vote are older, white homeowners who are long-time residents with steady jobs; that’s a nationwide fact, not just Ferguson. A disproportionate number of the city’s black residents have moved there recently, are unemployed, and aren’t homeowners. Black residents aren’t registering to vote. In the last local election, only 6% of black citizens of voting age voted. The fact that only 3 grand jury members were black isn’t a sign of rampant racism as many believe. It’s a sign of how many black registered voters and licensed drivers there are compared to whites. That’s no one’s fault but their own; blaming someone else for your personal failure to register to vote or get (and keep) a valid driver’s license is like blaming McDonald’s because you’re overweight from shoveling inordinate amounts of their food into your mouth.
One more issue to address: when the grand jury was convened. The dozen who made the controversial decision in Ferguson were part of a grand jury convened months prior to the shooting. No, they weren’t gathered together specifically to look into this issue; they were gathered for whatever problems needed settling during a four-month period. When the city realized the Wilson case would persist beyond the end of that period, they extended the grand jury’s time to January 2015. No conspiracy, no drama, just a random selection of citizens taken from a list of those legally able to vote and/or drive.
So how does a grand jury work? The best explanation I’ve heard came from criminal law professor Stan Goldman at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, who I spoke to yesterday. According to Goldman, a grand jury functions similarly to students in a university lecture hall. The prosecutor is representative of a professor; he’s the one telling them what he feels they need to hear. That often means he’s telling them what he wants them to hear. In Ferguson, that didn’t happen, which is what makes Ferguson not only unique but, in Goldman’s words, “imminently fair.”
The Ferguson grand jury was unique for the evidence they were given: everything. Goldman stated approximately 99.9% of grand juries are presented with only some evidence rather than everything, making it incredibly easy to influence the outcome. All a prosecutor need do is present the grand jury with the items he considers damning, and the accused’s fate is sealed. There’s even a phrase prosecutors use when they lose control: runaway grand jury. That didn’t happen in Officer Wilson’s case. In this case, the grand jury was given every scrap of evidence from both sides of the aisle, allowing them to form an informed opinion. They were also given witnesses, which Goldman said is almost unheard of. Known witnesses were Wilson himself and Michael Baden, the doctor hired by the Brown family to perform a private autopsy. There were undoubtedly other witnesses, but right now we don’t know who they were. What’s known is that the grand jury was given the gift of vision: they weren’t blinded or directed according to the prosecution’s wishes, making their decision all the more surprising.
To indict someone, only probable cause must be found. Degrees of guilt don’t matter. Punishment doesn’t even enter the equation; it’s all about deciding whether to charge someone. Goldman said the standards are quite low for deciding whether to indict someone – only a sliver of probable cause is needed – yet the grand jury failed to find any reason whatsoever to believe Officer Wilson acted unlawfully. Interestingly, if just nine of the twelve jurors agreed on a charge, it could’ve been filed; a unanimous vote isn’t necessary. You might think there’d be doubt in someone’s mind, right? Nope.
Analysis of the autopsy report – well, reports – only supports Wilson’s assertion a struggle occurred. The location and trajectory of the wound channels in Brown’s body not only back Wilson’s claims, they tell a story. First, the shot that grazed Brown’s right hand near his thumb: particulate in the wound was consistent with gunshot residue; proximity combined with trajectory (thumb to wrist) says Brown was trying to take the officer’s firearm. Brown’s blood was also found on the gun. Next, the wound to Brown’s right forearm: its trajectory proves Brown’s arms weren’t raised in surrender, as protestors claim, but were down. Another wound track through Brown’s skull near his right eye exited through his jaw, supporting Wilson’s claim Brown was charging him as he fired his final rounds. Twelve rounds were fired; six bullets struck Brown. The story told by the resulting wounds not only supports Wilson’s being attacked but proves Brown was facing the officer and charging him, not running away or attempting surrender.
But wait, there’s more.
Michael Brown had marijuana in his blood and urine, pointing to recent use and showing state of mind. The young man portrayed in the early days as an angelic example of innocence being struck down by a racist cop is now known to have had a record. Oh, and he’d robbed a convenience store right before attacking Wilson. He and a friend entered Ferguson Market the morning of the shooting with the sole purpose of getting cigarillos, and they did. Brown grabbed a fistful then simply walked out. When the clerk went after him, Brown assaulted him.
After leaving the store they walked down the middle of the street, Brown with the cigarillos in each hand. When Wilson came upon them, he requested they move to the sidewalk and was met with vulgarity, which he later said surprised him. It wasn’t the reaction he’d expected, so he took a second look; that’s when he realized they fit the description of the thieves at Ferguson Market from earlier that day. Brown wasn’t an upstanding young man; quite the opposite. He wasn’t just a thug in the making, he was a thug, and the community’s attempts to paint him as something else are pitiful and wrong.
“Burn this bitch down.” Brown’s father to the waiting mob, November 25, 2014
I’m writing this the evening of November 25, 2014. Ten minutes ago, a massive flood of rioters was shown storming a small convenience store, filling their pockets with liquor and cigarettes then wandering back out into the night, smiling and laughing. The store they’re robbing just happens to be Ferguson Market – yes, the one Brown robbed prior to assaulting Wilson. Somehow I doubt the looters see the irony of their destructive actions.
1500 National Guard members were ordered to Ferguson on the second night to maintain order, more than tripling the original number, and further measures were taken to exert control. It’s too little, too late, though; 25 businesses in Ferguson were burned down November 24th, countless stores were looted, and the majority of rioters simply headed home with their stolen goods and swaggering street cred. If the Guard had been present in those numbers when the decision was handed down, perhaps such widespread devastation wouldn’t have occurred; on the other hand, it shouldn’t be necessary to close streets and barricade buildings.
“My job isn’t to sit and wait.” Officer Wilson on why he “engaged” Brown
According to Loyola criminal law professor Stan Goldman, Wilson’s job’s now reasonably secure – if he wants it. The grand jury’s not indicting him provides the legal foundation for him to work and also fight back if the city tries to get rid of him. Regarding the grand jury, Goldman believes their being given such vast information – which, again, flies in the face of procedure – is “the ultimate fairness.” In fact, he said he’d “love it if all grand juries were handled this way.” When it comes to their actual decision, however, he is understandably unable to render his own opinion without having reviewed the evidence.
In the 24 hours since the grand jury’s decision, I’ve been asked my opinion dozens of times. No worries, I, myself, am happy to offer up my unvarnished viewpoint:
“It’s not the job of our military to watch over a bunch of adults having tantrums.”
As I write this, the National Guard is facing off with the mob in Ferguson. It’s not the job of our military to watch over a bunch of adults having tantrums. It’s also not the job of our military to stand by and watch those adults go on what’s apparently their version of Black Friday shopping – using a ten-finger discount. Based on available evidence – specifically analysis of wound tracks, which gave a clear picture of the sequence of events – it’s my belief Officer Darren Wilson was absolutely justified. That said, if the grand jury had chosen to indict Wilson, you wouldn’t have found me taking to the streets to tip over police cars and burn down my local Starbucks (after loading up on my favorite Christmas Blend coffee beans, of course). It isn’t just Ferguson behaving in an inappropriate manner, it’s protestors all over the country; they should be ashamed of themselves.
- Our military is not meant for babysitting, and Ferguson has become the nation’s most asinine babysitting gig.
- Not everything is a race-based issue, and far too many are quick to play the race card. Have they ever considered perhaps they’re the ones focusing on color, rather than the other way around? Admit it, if Wilson had been black and Brown was white, this would be a non-issue.
- Rioters are standing on the back of a dead man as an excuse to set fires and steal electronics; if that’s not shameful, I don’t know what is.
- To the New York Times, who published Officer Wilson’s home address: that is horrifically irresponsible, massively unprofessional, completely unethical, and undeniably atrocious.
- Evidence and witness statements point to this having been a justified shooting. Truth is truth, whether you want to admit it or not.
Officer Wilson, it’s my sincere hope you’re able to rebuild your life and move forward. Sadly, that task probably needs to happen away from Ferguson. Get a fresh start; I’d welcome you in my hometown, and on our police force.
It’s time to quote the year’s favorite Pixar movie: let it go.
Let it go.
Author’s note: Something different; a conclusion penned by a friend of mine I’ll call Charlie Delta, a Marine, a proud American, and an awesome guy, who just happens to be black – here’s his word on the situation in Ferguson:
“500-plus demonstrators, some displaying posters that read “Black life matters”: prove it. There’s an ancient adage that quips, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Does the village bear responsibility for lowering that same child into the ground? In the sanctity of our imaginations, where would those 500 protesters be during the electoral process? At the ballots? Where would they be upon the release of a new shoe? Where are they during long summers that leave many from their respective community deceased from self-inflicted street violence? Would we even hear such a clamor? No. Not a chance in hell. Feel free to drop statistics.
Dare we call it strange that in the face of irrefutable and tested evidence, there would even be an issue?
Think on this and let it govern future actions:
Have I considered the facts and allowed due process to take fruition or am I simply conclusion-jumping and speculating? Do I even know the details of the matter at hand? Am I really being persecuted against or have I been conditioned by culture to claim racism at every given opportunity? Who do I blame for my condition and social status? Just a few things worth considering. Quite frankly, self-respecting Americans with common sense are sick of the BS.”
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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