As more and more evidence seems to support the initial reports that Michael Brown was shot down in cold blood, the effort to make the victim the villain are gathering momentum.
"He was a thief!"
"What was he supposed to do when a big hulking thug attacked him?"
And so on.
Then there are the law enforcement professionals who, angry at being lumped in with their unprofessional colleagues, inadvertently obfuscate the true question by offering examples of how dangerous their job is.
All of which just allows the things that need to be fixed continue.
What is being reported from Ferguson, MO, isn't "half the story," as several posts on social media have begun to state. What is being reported is the story.
While there are those who will use the malfeasance (and yes, the more evidence that arises the clearer that becomes) of the local police department as an excuse to claim people are blaming all police officers, that's ridiculous; and sensible people should know better. And generalizing, whether it be about the victims or the police, is just the kind of pointless exercise that prevents anything being done to put a stop to this kind of abuse of authority.
If you are a police officer, I understand your frustration when you are lumped in with racists and hoodlums hiding behind the uniform you respect. However, the answer is not to blame the victim. The answer is to work with other concerned citizens to get the rotten apples out of the barrel, because they are not only giving your entire community a bad name they are also making your job more dangerous by exacerbating whatever resentment and anger is already fermenting among the people they are mistreating.
While there is, indeed, a general issue that our police departments have become increasingly militarized, and that this poses a danger to all of us, that's a side issue of which the events in Ferguson are but data for analysis in exploring that issue.
There is only one issue where Ferguson is concerned: that a police officer shot and killed an unarmed man. Period. That the man in question may have shoplifted something prior to the encounter and shoved past the store clerk when leaving is irrelevant. That the man in question may have had a prior juvenile-offender record is irrelevant. That the man was big and strong is irrelevant.
The only thing that is relevant is that no one, not even the police, has the right to kill an unarmed person. Because next time, you may be that unarmed person.
Like it or not, this is our fault. All of us. Not the individual us but the collective us. We accepted that drugs were bad, and that we needed to declare war on them. When our elected officials passed a law that allowed surplus military equipment to be handed over to local police departments, whether or not those departments were properly trained to use them, we decided it was great they could get such excellent hardware without our having to pay a cent for it.
Then we allowed ourselves to be persuaded after 9/11 that we were in imminent danger, and that we needed a PATRIOT Act full of laws that undercut the rights our ancestors died for, aided by a media that lowercased most of the word patriot so we wouldn't notice how cynically the acronym had been chosen to manipulate us. Even worse, nobody batted an eye when a new cabinet-level department allegedly created to defend us from all the terrorists hiding under our rocks and in our bushes was labeled as Homeland Security.
You know who loved the word homeland? Nazis. You know who loves to throw the word security around? People who want to keep you afraid so you won't ask too many of the wrong questions.
Time to start asking those "wrong questions." Time to stop whining that the corporations have taken over and we're doomed. Time to stop pretending we are powerless to do anything to stop the greedy and the power-hungry and the dishonest and stop them. Start in November.