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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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Nazis? (1+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    dallasdunlap
    Hidden by:
    TheOtherMaven

    I heard they made the Jews wear pieces of flair.

    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.
    That is merely your opinion, and is not the necessarily the legal standard.
    •  It's merely my opinion too, pal. (0+ / 0-)

      And if there should ever be a situation where you're the unarmed person, and I'm the other guy, you can take comfort in the knowledge that I won't shoot you, because that's my opinion.

      Evidently, I need not take the same comfort with you.

      “If you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring." -- John Oliver

      by jim304 on Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 01:03:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Something perplexes me (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    belinda ridgewood, kaliope, mmcnary

    I've been a hunter, shooter, and gun owner for a long time.  I also did a career in the military and managed to score a few "expert" sessions at a military range with both the pistol and the M-16.  I'm fairly familiar with firearms.

    Brown's autopsy chart shows two groupings of bullet hits:  one runs vertically up the arm and two are in the head.  This looks odd to the shooter in me.  First of all, not one shot hit the torso of a 6' 2", 295 pound man--and center-mass in the torso is the aiming point the military taught me.  All of them hit the arm.  If the arm was down, the cop's gun must have its sights out-of-whack by at least a foot.

    The second grouping is two successive shots in the head--and this with a gun that can't hit the victim's rather huge torso.  That is a little weird.

    Now imagine that wounded right arm raised to head height.  All of a sudden you end up with a pattern of shots that are centered on the head but several of them hit the upraised arm.  That is what I'd expect to see if the cop were intentionally trying for a head shot.

    The problem with a head shot vs. a torso shot is that the head is much harder to hit.  Why would a cop who is scared for his life try for low probability head shots when the torso presents a much larger lethal target?

    Any other gun owners out there see this as a little odd?

    If atheism is a religion, then "off" is a TV channel.

    by DaveinBremerton on Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 10:11:19 PM PDT

    •  Head shot is a more certain kill (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DaveinBremerton

      especially if the "target" is standing/still/kneeling and begging for mercy.

      In a war zone that would be a WAR CRIME.

      If it's
      Not your body,
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      And it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 10:43:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  DaveinBremerton - It works (0+ / 0-)

      if the target's body is folded toward the shooter, as in moving forward for a tackle or instinctively ducking, arm and hand extended in front  of his face, when face to face with the gun.
          How much aiming was going on is questionable.
          I haven't seen the St. Louis official autopsy but the one conducted by Dr. Baden doesn't tell us much except that Brown was not shot in the back as some have alleged.

          While many on this site would like this to be a deliberate, cold blooded execution, it most probably was a case of an overexcited police officer trying to arrest a much bigger individual.
         The officer would have been afraid and, since he had just scuffled with the man, have had a tendency to believe that Brown was aggressive and dangerous.
         Brown's actions would been interpreted one way by witnesses viewing from the side, and would have looked quite different to the officer facing Brown.
         While there are many cases of police using excessive force or shooting people recklessly, it isn't clear that the Brown shooting fits that pattern.
         If anything good comes from the Ferguson disturbances, it will be that departments review their use of force procedures. Already, departments are starting to equip their officers with body cameras.
         But citizens need to realize that you do not have the right to physically resist a police officer or to run away from one. That was what got Michael Brown killed.

      •  The problem with the "arm extended"scenario... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Unit Zero

        Is that the rounds would have entered the arm longitudinally--big, long rips instead of neat holes.

        As for whether or not he was shot from behind, depending on how the arm was oriented when the slug hit, some of those certainly could have come from behind.  The arm rotates considerably.

        If atheism is a religion, then "off" is a TV channel.

        by DaveinBremerton on Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 08:39:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DaveinBremerton

      That's what makes all the apologists trying to override the facts (and the logical deductions from the facts) so dangerous.

      As a writer and editor, I'm fussy about facts. I read last night here a note that in the now-famous security video it looks as though Brown is paying for his purchase. I had watched it several times when it first appeared, and I had the same reaction—Where is this shoplifting going on?

      Now, granted, his friend who witnessed the shooting stated Brown had taken something from the store, so that's still unresolved. I'll want to find other sources for the information the store never reported a theft, because that's how I roll. However, suffice to say at this point I found that sudden "crime" more than a little suspicious.

      Dymitia I support irresponsible reading

      by Dymitia on Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 09:26:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for your first diary/comment, Dymitia. (3+ / 0-)

    Yes, there's a big cloud of extraneous stuff being kicked up around the essential question of why a police officer shot a fellow human being who had not shot at him, and we can't allow the cloud to obscure the question.

    Welcome to Daily Kos. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Community Guidelines, the Knowledge Base, and the Site Resource Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.
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    Shop Kos Katalogue ❧ Help Okiciyap at Cheyenne River reservation.

    by belinda ridgewood on Mon Aug 18, 2014 at 10:25:58 PM PDT

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