Ferguson

Mike Brown and Ferguson have been on my mind almost constantly for the past couple of days. We can never know the reality of what happened when Wilson engaged Brown and his friend, but it is still impossible to believe how things have played out.

Many people are downplaying Wilson’s actions and talking about Brown’s “personal responsibility” in his own death. His actions–robbery before, possibly lunging at Wilson and going for his gun–are enough to excuse the officer for fatally shooting an 18-year-old black teen..

But I cannot get the stench of a fundamentally biased legal system and police state out of my nostrils. Wilson talked in his testimony of how terrified he was by Brown, indicating that his shots were in self-defense.

Wilson is a police officer and white, so obviously he has been given enough credibility for many, including a prosecutor and a grand jury, to suspend their disbelief so much that he walks away.

Yet Wilson is 6’4″, and on that day he was armed and suited up on the protective gear of his trade. He also chose to shoot after Brown was a more than safe distance away, and apparently standing with his hands up.

The grand jury’s decision basically says that there is insufficient evidence to even explore the possibility of Wilson’s guilt, even on something like manslaughter charges. It thus shows just how much freedom police forces have too carry out capital punishment, and how acceptable it is for police forces to *create* a war zone by casting an entire community of people as the enemy and militarizing in order to control them.

When you believe you are at war and arm yourself for war, there will be war. When you pre-judge individuals to be dangerous criminals, do not be surprised if many lose any trust that you will treat them fairly and respond out of fear and spite. When you discount the lives of people because of the color of their skin and where they live, expect that resistance will grow…even if the legal system and many others will tell you what you have done is perfectly okay. It is never okay, and it will never be forgotten.

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Justin Van Kleeck

I am a vegan (since 1999), a curious skeptic, a bookworm, a nature lover, and your garden-variety neurotic. My wrestling with chaos manifests as writing and, with my wife, tending our friends the plants and spending quality time with our rescued furry kids. I am fun at parties (because I am never there) and so unique that I am easy to forget. So take that, modernity.

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