Greetings from Seattle

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"You Can't Handle the Truth"

The title is a famous line from a movie, and in this case it might just apply to real life. 

The "case" is the one out of Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown was shot by Officer Wilson.  

This commentary is both too early and too late - too late because it is already old news, and just about everyone has weighed in on it, but too early because the "truth" is still lost in the muddle of he said, she said, I saw, well, I saw. 

I have spent more time than I wanted to just trying to figure out what happened, but so far I have been able to draw only a few temporary conclusions. 

The original headline, "Police shoot unarmed teen", is in itself inflammatory.   Add black teen, white officer.  Now it's time to take sides.  Who needs the facts?

What are the facts?  The "teen" is an eighteen year old "kid" in a man's body, somewhere around 6'4" and 200-300 pounds.  He has been caught on video tape strong arming a convenience store operator and walking off with "shoplifted" or "stolen" cigars.

The police officer is a young six year veteran of the Ferguson Police Force with a clean record.

The encounter started as a jay walking incident as Brown and a friend were walking down the  middle of the street and Officer Wilson stopped them and told them to move to the sidewalk. 

What happened next and subsequently is not clear.  Witness accounts vary, and word choice reflects which "side" the teller has chosen to be on.

The Internet takes over here with all kinds of biased reports and awful commentary. People watching the video tape see completely different things. Eye witness accounts of the shooting vary and "Shooting him in the back" has been disproven by three autopsies. That Brown was shot six times indicates fear on the part of the officer. 

Meanwhile rioting in the streets continues as peaceful demonstrators attract lawless troublemakers who attack police, and the police in response turn full military armament against the crowds. "Journalists" eat it all up.

What a mess.  Of course it reflects a much deeper problem than this one shooting.  Trouble has been brewing for a long time as people find themselves trapped in poverty and lack of opportunity.  This shooting was a last straw.  Now the folks there say they will continue to demonstrate until the police officer is charged and arrested, for  murder.  

What if he's not?  What if he was justified?  What if it was just unintentional bungling?

The "truth" will probably make no one happy.  

What do I think?  As of now, it looks like a young thug collided with a lone officer, both felt threatened, the "kid" resisted, the officer bungled the encounter, and the one with the gun won. 

Of course there are no winners.  

15 comments:

Far Side of Fifty said...

No winners. Police Officer's shouldn't work alone anymore...too many he said she saids. I know in some areas Police Officers will wear cameras all the time, I heard something about it on the news.
An eighteen year old should have been at work that time of day...and he wouldn't be dead.
I wonder when exactly the bulletin went out over the radio that the store had been robbed? Perhaps it came over the radio as the 18 year old was reaching for the police officer inside the car?
I think whoever riots should just be shot...perhaps with buckshot but wouldn't the lawyers have a grand time then.
Our system is all out of whack...and Eric Holder should stay in Washington DC.
My heart goes out to the young Police Officer and his family.

Olga Hebert said...

This event is tragic enough, but the vein of anger and discontent that it has revealed in the body of our society is distressing beyond belief. I have no idea what to say or to think, but my heart hurts for all of us.

Jake said...

As usual, when you hear phrases like "documented facts" you're getting heaping piles of steaming bullshit

Tabor said...

Similar to the problem in Israel/Palestine there are lots of guilty and innocent parties and it is complicated.

Linda Kay said...

We may never know the outcome of this situation. It looks like it's going to the grand jury, but they don't even have all the information together yet, do they? You are right, that there is no winner, but the racial overtones are really being carried too far, in my opinion.

outlawgardener said...

No winners indeed. So sad.

Henny Penny said...

Well said! I do hope all police officers start wearing those small cameras on their uniforms. We saw something about this on the news tonight.

No wonder my days have been dull this week. I have somehow missed your last four posts. Jill is beautiful standing at the top of that mountain. I enjoyed catching up. I look forward to your posts.

Red said...

Well said. The root of the problems are deep and complicated. It's a sad situation all around.

Linda Myers said...

I wonder what I can do to help out, in my own small circle of influence.

Lin Floyd said...

I think you got it right and it reflects a bigger society problem that hasn't been solved-poverty and lack of opportunity for so many trapped in their circumstances...

Kay said...

This is an excellent post, Linda. You are not too early or too late. You are just right, waiting until more facts were in instead of jumping in with your eyes closed. I feel sorry for the tragedy of the situation and what brought this on. I agree that they should have two officers in patrol cars.

Peg said...

This is such a sad situation. One family has lost their son and another has lost their sense of safety and gone into hiding. I hate being watched by cameras everywhere I go, but they are not biased one way or another when it comes to the facts of what happened. Video with audio of the events that led up to the shooting would be a huge help. I live in the St. Louis area and we've been bombarded with news coverage of this shooting and the resulting 'protests'. I dread the day the grand jury hands down its indictment of the police officer or its refusal to indict. Either way, some people will use that as another excuse to 'protest'. We're entitled to free speech, but we're not entitled to loot, burn and shoot into crowds or into buildings. I fear more violence, whether here or somewhere else, where people will again use their right to protest as an excuse to harm innocent people and property.

Rambling Woods said...

I think,you are right

Arkansas Patti said...

This truly is complicated and only those involved know the truth.
I do hope go pro cameras become standard police equipment.

Marty Damon said...

My first trip to your blog and I'm glad I found it.
This is the clearest summary of the events that I've seen thus far.