No, No, No, No, No: Ferguson, Michael Brown, and the Failure to Indict Darren Wilson

No.

No, no, no, no, no.

When major world events happen, I don’t always comment. I have a tendency to not say anything unless I have something unique to say, something I haven’t seen anyone else say yet.

But sometimes, that doesn’t matter. Sometimes, I just have be one more voice. Even though other people will no doubt have things to say that are more perceptive, more informed, more eloquent, sometimes I have to add my voice to the chorus. This is one of those times.

No. This is not acceptable. It is not acceptable that millions of Americans live in a police state because their skin is black or brown. It is not acceptable that police can shoot unarmed black men who have their hands in the air, and not even fucking get indicted. Forget about getting convicted — Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown, and did not even get fucking indicted.

I do not consent to this decision.

I may say more later. Right now, I need to say this:

No. No, no, no, no, no.

NO.

no

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No, No, No, No, No: Ferguson, Michael Brown, and the Failure to Indict Darren Wilson
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27 thoughts on “No, No, No, No, No: Ferguson, Michael Brown, and the Failure to Indict Darren Wilson

  1. 1

    When the word came, attorney Benjamin Crump fielded the phone call. “The jury was not inclined to indict on any charges,” he said.

    Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s mother, screamed and sobbed.

    How many more mothers and fathers have to watch as our country let’s it’s own police force murder their children?

  2. 4

    From an outsiders perspective, I’m British, your country sometimes acts more like a developing country rather than a developed country. You seem to ‘kill’ first and ask questions later whether it be an Afro American individual or a foreign country. You guys must start talking before drawing your guns and ‘murdering’ everything that moves. It marks the difference between a civilised nation and the rest.

  3. 5

    #4: kompani says:

    You guys must start talking before drawing your guns and ‘murdering’ everything that moves. It marks the difference between a civilised nation and the rest.

    The word that you are looking for is ‘exceptional’. America is ‘exceptional’. Of course, when I use that phrase, I use it in the same sense that Alexis de Tocqueville used it, and that was not in a good sense. Snark aside, today is a sad, shameful day to be an American. Police now have an almost constitutional right to murder anyone as long as that person is not powerful and/or rich and/or well connected.

    Is there not an International body that can put out a travel warning / advisory for its citizens coming to America?

  4. 6

    The rioting in Ferguson was orchestrated by prosecutor Robert McCulloch and the other powers that be in Missouri as skillfully as they orchestrated the grand jury’s decision not to indict. Calling for a state of emergency and bringing out the national guard was a pre-escalation. And who announces anything official at 8pm? They *could* have waited until the next morning at 8am. They know that the outside revolutionaries use the cover of night to riot, but if peaceful protests began during the day it would be easier for the peaceful protesters to maintain peace during the following night. Or at least it would without police in riot gear.

  5. 10

    @kompani, #4

    The United States has never been a civilized country with regards to its treatment of black people on the average (richer black people that are ideologically convenient like Obama can be somewhat tolerated). Everything that happened after 2000 should more than amply demonstrate this.

  6. 11

    lorn: Tell you what–either McCulloch was looking for this–and I mean all of this, from the no–indictment all the way through the riots, or he is the single most inept person to ever pass the bar, and is utterly unfit for any sort of public office, or for that matter, private job with authority.

    1: As has often been noted, a prosecutor can get a Grand Jury to indict a ham sandwich. Yet somehow, McCulloch was unable to convince 9 out of 12 people to say, “Hey, maybe this should be given a day in full court.”

    2: He flat-out lied about several key pieces of testimony, most notably the forensics report–his interpretation has been flat-out refuted by the author of the report (who has also complained that they were never given much of the key evidence, including access to crime scene photos, a lack that was called out as unique in 25 years of service).

    3: Once the decision was in, why was the announcement delayed for several hours, but not until the next day? They could have announced at 4 PM, or at 8 AM. Did McCulloch think that potential rioters needed to be in bed early last night, and so that was the best time for the full announcement?

    And, of course, we have the fact that he refused to recuse himself, despite sitting as the president of a non-profit organization that received direct donations from Wilson’s supporters (and which did not, as far as I’ve been able to determine, reject those donations). Even if he wasn’t bought and paid for, a first year pre-law student would be able to identify the conflict of interest there.

    So, tell us, pray: Is McCulloch deliberately covering for Wilson and antagonizing the community, or are he, and Governor Nixon, who didn’t intervene during any of this, completely and utterly incompetent, and thus unfit for office?

  7. 12

    Good to see that the left has not been left behind in the race to have conspiracy theories.

    lorn @ #9: Go fuck yourself. You’re in comment moderation. Any future comments by you will have to be approved by me before they’re posted. Any further racist bullshit will not be approved, and will result in you being permanently blocked.

    Oh, and by the way: Go fuck yourself.

  8. 13

    I don’t understand why we can’t have EVERY forceful death put up for trial in a court. What’s that grand jury supposed to be anyway? How can it be fair and legal without public trial??

  9. 14

    Conspiracy theories? I think most of us are suggesting that the actions publicly taken by the prosecutor and governor foreseeable lead to the results that occurred. No secret actions or back alley meetings required.

  10. 15

    From an outsiders perspective, I’m British, your country sometimes acts more like a developing country rather than a developed country. You seem to ‘kill’ first and ask questions later whether it be an Afro American individual or a foreign country. You guys must start talking before drawing your guns and ‘murdering’ everything that moves. It marks the difference between a civilised nation and the rest.

    I’m British too. Remember the shooting of Mark Duggan in Londona few years ago? Not quite so obviously outrageous as the murder of Michael Brown, but certainly highly questionable. Racism is a huge problem still in Britain. Let’s not be all ‘you guys’ about this.

  11. 16

    (* Sigh *)

    I wish I could be outraged.  I truly do.  But, if I’m to be at all honest with myself, all I really feel is a dull, slow, unremitting ache in my head, a pain that just won’t go away, a pain I’ve almost gotten used to as normal since it’s so fucking repetitive and predictable.

    The normative inequity of the pain my people have to put up with outrages me more.

  12. 17

    @TheTalkingStove, yeah I’d like to be all “We Brits are better than y’all”, but then I remember UKIP and I’m depressed. Long way to go before racism is beaten on either side of the ocean.

  13. 18

    I doubt all individuals are racist who have doubts, though some are. I do think many are ill-informed. No one is obligated to inform anybody. At the same time, as a black man, seeing a white individual meet any sign of ignorance with a “go fuck yourself” hurts me; it implies that there is not a solid basis behind my position. As someone looking for change instead of mere outrage, I wish more was said — at the least, a link from a more thorough source before the block. Because of your prominence, many will follow your example. The result may help the sjw movement feel better about itself, but it communicates to others that there is little justification behind claims of injustice, which strengthens your base but also hurts my standing in this country as someone trying to convince people to change things so I can walk the street with less fear.

  14. 20

    This is me; I’m not a troll. I am personally affected by this. As a black man who cares enough to dedicate himself to doctoral studies in black masculinity that led me to a very painful deconversion I am very concerned about this issue because it concerns me, personally, and people I care about very much.

  15. 21

    cubist @ #19: I don’t have any reason to think that Peter Mosley is trolling.

    Peter Mosley @ #18 & #20: I want to let you know that I’ve read your comment, and am thinking about it. I don’t know if I agree with your conclusion — for one thing, I’m getting conflicting feedback from other African-American colleagues and friends — but I’ve heard what you’ve said, and I think your concerns are valid, and I’m thinking about it.

  16. 22

    Thanks for your concern, Peter, but I’m fairly confident that us white folks can handle a bit of profane rudeness on the topic of race from time to time. I’d rather not have anti-racists of any race pandering to faked incapacity by white people to deal with these discussions. We really aren’t that fragile and anyone who insists otherwise is probably selling you a bill of goods.

    /My $0.02

  17. 23

    I’m not saying that white people can’t take it. I know they can. I’m not saying Christina’s being too rude or anything. I just am not sure “Fuck You” by itself is an effective response towards promoting understanding of the problem. Although outrage certainly needs to be communicated where there is outrage, I think it would help to have an article communicating evidence behind positions, as well. I’ve cussed white people out regarding race issues, too; it’s obviously quite effective — I just wish that were joined with evidence of some sort, especially since plenty seems to be there, and I’m not sure if a simple “fuck you” communicates that evidence is not there when it is.

    I might be wrong, and Christina’s legendary when it comes to this kind of issue, so she may know what she’s doing much better than I do. And it’s her blog. But I do care enough about this to comment on it, and she has heard the comment and cares enough to consider it, even if she disagrees. So…ok.

    It’s late; need to get some sleep.

  18. 24

    I suspect McCulloch’s response would be “so”? He got away with it, just like everyone else who was murderously in the wrong in Ferguson (and so far with the Eric Garner strangulation-murder) got away with it.

    About a month ago in response to your article “5 Reasons to stop talking sh*t about the South and Midwest” I wrote:

    Doesn’t the status quo as it exists and as people are trying to change it using current methods already abandon people, though? With fewer words, Kagehi’s statement is that the Democrats are basically going to do nothing. Gerrymandering (combined with voter suppression) also minimizes electoral impact. What you’ve been left with is individually trying to change minds with little to no institutional support. The civil rights movement tried this, with a lot stronger institutions-and fifty years later, after gutting the Civil Rights Act Scalia barely had time to retreat into his chambers and taunt the bust of Thurgood Marshall that he keeps just for taunting before states like Texas turned right around and demonstrated precisely why the Civil Rights Act was absolutely necessary.

    At the end of the day, not only does it seem like they haven’t changed, but their behaviors ultimately affect the entirety of the United States (ie, when Bush stole both elections)-just like after Reconstruction the same poisonously bigoted, violent attitudes towards black people weren’t just tolerated-they were exported and strengthened throughout the entirety of the United States when the national government basically did nothing.

    The point I’m ultimately trying to get at is that I don’t see how you’re ever going to get the kind of changes you, or I, might want while there is also a vast bastion of reaction in the form of state governments and those who support them who will continually drive things the other way. The possible outcome of this is that instead of somebody, somewhere, actually getting what we want, eventually nobody (unless they’re well off enough to afford to live in a tolerant place) is going to get what we want.

    After everything that’s happened in the last month, can’t you see why I might think the way I do? I’m not referring to you specifically (nor the readers of this blog), but “America” as a political entity is vicious, stupid, bigoted, and ultimately fossilized. In my entire lifetime as a black man here I have never seen this country get better and I have always, always been told to seek one palliative after another whether it’s been to just shrug and accept it or “take responsibility” or vote in election after election in which no issue (or for that matter candidate) I care about will ever be allowed to come near a ballot or be part of yet another totally ignored protest movement.

    Why on earth would I want this to continue?

    I know what one counterargument might be; police brutality occurs everywhere. Yes, that’s true. However, with a lot of hard work, it might be possible to democratically overwhelm the reactionaries in states where they haven’t totally solidified their grasp over electoral machinery-and then leave when the right time comes when the reactionaries cry foul over the very possibility that someone might actually not be as terrible as them politically.

    Otherwise, I don’t see how things are ever going to get better.

  19. 25

    Ms. Christina –

    Barring persons who disagree with you is not a healthy process (re: lorn @# 9), even if your perception is that they are reactionary racist. In effect, you’re creating a world that is run by a minority. Not a healthy one. I have no tolerance for extreme right or left perceptions. I am sure you’re behind a system that allows freedom of speech without telling someone who has a different opinion to go “fuck themselves”. That is not a dialogue that will solve problems, however egregious they may be. The only solution always resides somewhere in the middle. Absolutes will never provide a path of that leads to outcomes that most can accept.

    I have no doubt that racism and stereotypes lead to unjustified actions on the part of law enforcement, but I also know that you’d be the first to seek the support of law enforcement should you find yourself in a situation that you felt threatened. In the end, I’ve come the conclusion that you are reactionary and myopic in your world view, and have little if any tolerance for the viewpoint of others. A sad state of affairs.

  20. 26

    The only solution always resides somewhere in the middle.

    Always? How many moons does your planet have? There is no middle between the theory of evolution and creationism. There is no middle between real medicine and homeopathy. As Daniel Okrent famously observed, the pursuit of “balance” can create imbalance because sometimes some things are true.

  21. 27

    Barring persons who disagree with you is not a healthy process (re: lorn @# 9), even if your perception is that they are reactionary racist. In effect, you’re creating a world that is run by a minority. Not a healthy one. I have no tolerance for extreme right or left perceptions. I am sure you’re behind a system that allows freedom of speech without telling someone who has a different opinion to go “fuck themselves”. That is not a dialogue that will solve problems, however egregious they may be.

    Tom Daughton I am way past done with the idea that skepticism, critical thinking, and free speech mean that we have the right to have a debate, on demand, at the time and place we want, with anyone we want, in any space we want, on any topic we want — and that people who have had that debate eight hundred thousand times already are somehow morally obligated to have it again, calmly and politely and with infinite patience, on a day that they are grieving and enraged and in despair. Fuck that noise, right now.

    There are some debates I am willing to have. The question of whether police should be able to shoot unarmed black men with their hands in the air, and not even get fucking indicted, is not one of them.

    The only solution always resides somewhere in the middle.

    I am also way past done with the idea that, in a difference between extremes, the truth or the best solution must always like in the middle. Did the truth or the best solution lie somewhere in the middle on the issue of slavery, or women’s right to vote, or whether husbands have the right to beat and rape their wives? (For an excellent breakdown of this idea, I recommend The Golden Mean on the Daylight Atheism blog.)

    I have no doubt that racism and stereotypes lead to unjustified actions on the part of law enforcement, but I also know that you’d be the first to seek the support of law enforcement should you find yourself in a situation that you felt threatened.

    I probably would. Many of my black friends would not. I have black friends who say that what they’ve learned from painful experience, long ago, is “Never call the police, ever.” White people’s experiences of police in the U.S. is wildly different from black people’s experiences. I strongly suggest that you start listening to what black people are saying about this before you continue to shoot off your mouth about something you know very little about.

    In the end, I’ve come the conclusion that you are reactionary and myopic in your world view, and have little if any tolerance for the viewpoint of others.

    Then why are you commenting in my blog?

    I tolerate, and indeed encourage, a great deal of dissension and debate in my online spaces, including my blog. Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows this. But I draw lines. There are some horrible opinions I see no reason to tolerate. And if I want this to be a reasonably safe space for marginalized people to discuss social justice without constantly being exposed to micro-aggressions and stubbornly willful ignorance, and without constantly having our conversations derailed with another re-hashing of Social Justice 101 (or indeed Remedial Social Justice), I need to be willing to kick people out. Deal with it. This is my living room, and I am not morally obligated to let in anyone who wants to shit in it. If you don’t like it, there are literally millions of other blogs and online spaces.

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