I am disappointed by the liberal reaction to the Ferguson grand jury.
As soon as the announcement was made that there would be no indictment, Twitter detonated with liberal outrage that justice was not being done. The problem is that liberals seem to be categorically conflating two separate issues.
Here’s one truth:
- Police in 2014 generally have far too much (increasingly militarized) power these days. They too often harass and target minority youth for no reason whatsoever. And there’s very little transparency into their actions when they do so.
This is a real problem. A serious problem. And it must be addressed.
The call-to-action raised by the Brown family to have police wear cameras at all times as a means to gain transparency into police behavior is a universally good idea, and I am a strong supporter of it.
Here’s what seems to be another truth:
- Michael Brown forcibly stole from a nearby convenient store, got asked by a cop to get out of the street, and then walked up to the police car and punched the cop in the face and tried to grab his gun.
When that happened the affair tangibly ejected itself from the realm of harassment and police power and entered the realm of overwhelming stupidity.
There is nobody alive today, whether you’re white, rich, famous—whatever—who can safely walk up to a police car and punch a cop in the face and grab for his gun. You can be a judge. You can be Hilary Clinton. You can be Taylor Swift in a school girl outfit.
The plain truth of the situation is that if you punch a cop in the face and grab for his gun, you’re probably going to die.
What liberal America has somehow done is mix the police power and racism issue with the events of that day. While they were waiting for the grand jury to do their thing, they started thinking about police power in general. They started thinking about police abuse in general. They started thinking about racism in general.
So instead of waiting for a verdict on whether or not Michael Brown punched a cop in the face and tried to grab his gun, they were instead waiting for an answer to the question:
Is racism bad? Are the police too powerful? Should police wear cameras?
And because they knew those answers to be an obvious YES, the failure to indict seemed like a travesty of justice.
Let me simplify this for everyone:
- Everything that’s being said about the police being too powerful, too often racist, and far too opaque in the execution of their powers is absolutely true.
- Punching cops in the face is universally stupid, and anyone deciding to do so—regardless of age, color, or class—has a really good chance of dying within 60 seconds.
These are two separate issues, and we shouldn’t be confusing them.
- I’ve not seen any compelling evidence that the officer was lying about what happened. This discussion of the evidence, on NPR no less, seems to be consistent with the story throughout, and there seems to be very little rational disagreement with the main events of the case.
- There remain plenty of questions of what happened before and after Brown punched the cop in the face. Was he being harassed? Did the cop say something offensive? I’ve not heard anything like that, but it’s possible. There’s also the issue of whether he should have pursued, or whether he should have kept firing once he did. But these are extremely peripheral to the simple question of whether or not he was sitting in his police car getting boxed by someone outweighing him by 80 lbs. And that seems to be the single question for the grand jury.