Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson Burns to Prove... Something.

It's amazing (actually it's not) that it's nearly impossible to find unbiased coverage of the grand jury decision in Ferguson. All of the coverage is of the REACTION to the decision, with very little dispassionately reporting the details of the actual decision. THIS is why I dropped out of Journalism... it's not about news, it's about schadenfreude and entertainment.

However, at this point, the story is the reaction. To get you up to date, here's this from NBC: Ferguson: Businesses Ablaze, Bullets Fly in Overnight Mayhem Over Grand Jury

This isn't Ferguson, it's Kiev. I'd show you a pic of Ferguson if I had one
that's covered under a Creative Commons license.
Regarding that reaction, I can spin editorials as well. Here's a Right-wing rendering of what the Liberal commentators won't say:
We have learned that the Black community of Ferguson and its environs feel that they can send a message about one of their own being treated as a thug by demonstrating en masse that they are thugs. To this end they whip out the guns and torches and burn down the buildings where they buy their bread and clothing and other supplies. Tomorrow, they will cry to the government over the lack of bread and clothing and other supplies, thereby demonstrating that thugs are stupid and short-sighted. The Leftist Executive will wail about what a tragedy it is that the innocent people of Ferguson have no bread and clothing and other supplies, while he and other Liberals plan on compassionate relief efforts that will cement these citizens' dependence on government salvation from... er... government oppression.
Meanwhile, the smarter business owners of Ferguson -- those who kept their insurance policies maxed out and up to date in anticipation of this most predictable event -- will take said insurance money and run as fast as possible to some other, more stable area to re-establish their businesses. These will NOT be in Black neighborhoods, and you can be certain that the Liberals will point out that it is despicable Racism and not the blatant brutality of the "victims" themselves that is to blame.
The Boston Globe published this story yesterday: Ahead of Ferguson decision, an education in nonviolence. Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou traveled from Boston to his hometown of Ferguson to conduct nonviolent civil disobedience training. Obviously, the lesson didn't take with nearly enough people.

For the record, you cannot make a valid argument against an unjust system by being unjust. Gandhi's lesson in non-violent protest makes it clear that you must be obviously right, and allow your oppressors to be obviously wrong in order for such protest to work. Then those who have no interest in the matter other than their desire to see justice prevail will come to your side.

In the present case, a police officer who responded to a call with what the grand jury determined to be prudence, just as many other cops of all races have done in many other jurisdictions in cases that have not been protested. The officer may have been wrong. The prosecutor may have been wrong in not pushing for a particular outcome. The grand jury may have been wrong in their conclusions. All of that may have been wrong, but the end result is that the judicial process was followed. If the outcome is wrong it is not the fault of your grocer or your local cell phone salesman. And one case of injustice against one person... even if that's what it was... does not justify thousands of cases of injustice and violence perpetrated as a result. To do so is counter-productive in the extreme. The cop reacted as if the citizens of Ferguson were inherently dangerous. Today, the citizens of Ferguson proved the officer absolutely right. They didn't have to. It never works. They did it anyway, despite logic and sound reason and education. That's sad.

In a Denver Post article, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock had this to say: "Whatever the grand jury decides in the Ferguson case, my hope is that this community, and our larger American community, will keep in mind that our response sets an example for our children." 

Well, yes. Exactly. One cannot take the moral high ground while acting like a petulant spoiled infant, throwing his bowl when lunch was not to his liking. When my children did this they got nothing to replace it. They quickly learned to eat what they were given and bear disappointment with calm. Imagine what terrible people my children might have grown up to be if I didn't teach them that... if their every disappointment was allowed to be met with a tantrum and violence? I don't have to imagine. I saw it on the morning news.

Obviously this doesn't apply to all the people of Ferguson, Missouri... just those with the torches and pitchforks. It's clear that these protests, or ones like them, would have happened whatever the jury decided. This isn't about Michael Brown, and hasn't been. It's about a political opportunity. And sadly, any positive political change is undermined by the hamfisted way in which this was carried out. They did it as badly as it could possibly be done. They don't have a Gandhi. They don't have a Martin Luther King. And they don't want to hear any of that non-violent message either. The 'leaders' they have don't know what they're doing. There are victims, but they're not Michael Brown, and they're not just in Ferguson, and it's not the authorities who just did the victimizing.

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