The Ferguson Riots: Of Course.

A car burns on the street after a grand jury returned no indictment in the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri

From Ethics Alarms, August 17, 2014:

IF the evidence supports the conclusion that Brown charged at Wilson, neither the family of the slain teen, nor the African American community in Ferguson, nor the protesters, the race-hustlers, the black and progressive politicians who benefit by preserving racial tension and distrust,  much of the news media and many, many pundits and political bloggers, will change their rhetoric, accusations or the prevailing Ferguson narrative one bit. They need for the narrative as it stands to be true, and want it to be true. Massive confirmation bias will ensure that the death of Mike Brown will be talked about, protested and regarded as an example of racist police oppression of young black men, and the truth, in the end, will be irrelevant.

I hope my prediction is wrong.

But it was not wrong. Everything that has happened since the announcement that the grand jury returned no indictment against Darren Wilson has been inevitable for months, and more so since no responsible steps were taken by the Obama administration to prevent it all. The desultory, disgusted, support-of-the-rule-of-law-by-rote speech by the President tonight, calling for calm while signaling to all by tone, expression and body language that his personal opinion was in conflict with his words, couldn’t have helped.

So now the race-baiters, dividers, bigots, rioters, looters, and hustlers, as well as the rest who have waited for so long to exploit this tragedy for partisan and ideological objectives, have what they want.

My thoughts on the matter from an ethics point of view were stated here a month ago. The riots, lootings and burnings hadn’t happened yet, but otherwise everything is as it was when I wrote…

At this point, confirmation bias has completely taken over the Ferguson story, meaning that a combination of factors—police incompetence; a toxic racial culture in the city and region;  the racial distrust carefully nurtured by Democrats, the Obama Administration, and an irresponsible news media; anger and cynicism by non-black, non-race-baiters over the disgraceful George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin tragedy;  the slanted reporting of Brown’s shooting from the outset, and especially the full commitment of the civil rights establishment to make this incident the centerpiece of an attack on racial profiling and police violence against blacks regardless of whether the facts of the case justify it—now make any fair resolution of the incident impossible. They also guarantee that whatever occurs, the end result will be police anger, more racial division and distrust, and activists continuing to promote a false or misleading narrative as truth, just as in the Zimmerman-Martin debacle. It is hopeless….

….the activists don’t care, literally don’t care, about [what really happened and why] For them, the issue is simple. A white cop in a racist police department shot an unarmed black teen to death, and that means that it was a racially motivated murder.

The police and their mostly conservative defenders also don’t care about the details. Once again, a dedicated public servant who put his life on the line was forced to use deadly force against a dangerous thug who attacked him, and because the cop is white, is being persecuted and unjustly maligned.

Everyone is poised to see what they want to see, believe what supports their biases and agendas, and shout loudly about injustice regardless of what occurs, fertilizing the ground for the next incident they can exploit, along with cynical politicians.

Good job, everybody.


UPDATE: The grand jury documents are beginning to trickle out. Here is Officer Wilson’s testimony.


30 thoughts on “The Ferguson Riots: Of Course.

  1. And may I add: at this time in our nation’s history, to see African-Americans looting and burning businesses in their own community depresses the hell out of me, and any analyst, social scientist, civil rights leader, elected official or pundit who tries to justify or rationalize this conduct deserves condemnation, ridicule and contempt.

  2. It’s our own little Bastille moment (in the sense that we’ve allowed the symbolism to completely overwhelm the facts of this specific case).

    Also, speaking as a long-time St. Louis resident, way for everyone to live down to my expectations. If the response of my relatively young white co-workers are any indication, this is just going to make a number of people less sympathetic to calls for reform.

  3. So you are defending Darren Wilson and the racist cops here, correct? And you’re angry at the Blacks for rioting and looting..?

    Personally, in my belief system, we are all the infinite being, experiencing itself subjectively thru the eyes of all humans. If you believe this, then that takes prejudice out of the picture and inserts the celebration of Novelty and Chance within the flowering of the human race.

    In terms of the very racist elements that have gravitated to this event, I believe this is a divide and conquer tool for the powers that be to roll out a more intensive police state country wide, which has been their plan all along. I agree that I am saddened by the reactions, but I cannot relate, being a white male. I will not pretend to know what it is like to be in the shoes of any black male – to quote Chris Rock, paraphrasing: ‘No one in here who is white would EVER change places with a black man’.

    So Jack, I think it is impossible for either of us to judge this event, just like it would be impossible to judge what it would be like to have to deal with an unwanted pregnancy – it’s not my experience nor decision.

    The one conclusion I can draw, judging from officer Wilson’s “injuries” that are making their appearance all over the twittersphere, and judging by all the KKK white supremacist support for this officer, and by the videos I have seen of him in action, there was a significant amount of hatred and “littleman” power hungry bulling, which sadly is all too common among police forces today – and is on the rise. There are plenty of good cops, but you can’t say that the training modern police forces receive teach Community Service, Compassion and Altruism.

    • “Personally, in my belief system, we are all the infinite being, experiencing itself subjectively thru the eyes of all humans. If you believe this, then that takes prejudice out of the picture and inserts the celebration of Novelty and Chance within the flowering of the human race. “

      Doesn’t that belief system literally invalidate EVERYTHING you said following on?

      Wouldn’t the “planned police state” just be the “infinite being” “experiencing itself subjectively”… wouldn’t racist people also gain that same immunity of being part of the “infinite being” “experiencing itself subjectively”. Your articles of faith seem to be the foundation of waiving a whole lot of personal responsibility. But let me guess… it’s only people who agree with you are examples of the “infinite being” “experiencing itself subjectively” and those who don’t are somehow not in harmony with this “infinite being” and somehow the “infinite being” is currently a sick schizophrenic dude…

      “and judging by all the KKK white supremacist support for this officer, “

      Illogical. If bad people support a good cause, it doesn’t make the cause not-good…

  4. What I believe is also predictable is that the next time an incident like this occurs (and yes, there will be one), there is now a strong chance that the person who shot to defend themselves will be indicted – and quite possibly convicted – because the members of the grand jury or petit jury will not want to be responsible for a riot in their community.

    The events in Ferguson are not about justice – it’s about ensuring that the likes of Sharpton and the New Black Panthers get their way the next time this sort of case happens.

    • Yeah when I hear many of the people screaming “justice” I think they really mean “revenge”.

      One disturbing comment I hear (typically from Leftists) is “he should be indicted at least to appease the protesters, then he can be acquitted later”.

      1) no. That isn’t how justice works. That’s politics. And you don’t play politics in the justice system.

      2) “appease the protesters”. Thanks for admitting your real opinion of them.

      3) “be acquitted later”. No. Get the indictment and the furies will then scream for conviction. Now are you going to “appease” them?

  5. ,blockquote>….the activists don’t care, literally don’t care, about [what really happened and why] For them, the issue is simple. A white cop in a racist police department shot an unarmed black teen to death, and that means that there will be riots if he’s not indicted.

    As there should be.

    The moral is – if you don’t want riots, regardless of whether the shooting was justified (if I were on the Grand Jury, then on the scraps of evidence I’ve seen, I’d indict to let it go to trial – just as if I were on the jury of the trial, I’d acquit barring more evidence) – anyway, the moral is – don’t run a racist police department.

    Such civil disturbance is the natural countermeasure to tyranny.

    I consider such civil disturbance to be a really, really, REALLY bad thing. I think anyone rational does. That means we have a responsibility to make sure that Law Enforcement is not so manifestly, systemically unjust that regardless of the facts in an individual case, riots are inevitable.

    What should be is that there’s a justice system that, even though imperfect, is not so horrible that rational people become irrational and desperate. While there will always be some who are “professional rioters”, without a groundswell of popular sentiment behind them, they’re a small bunch of crims easily dealt with.

    • And if there are riots they must be swiftly and harshly dealt with. There is no right to cause a civil disturbance and destroy property. Period. Pass the stinger grenades.

    • What? Based on what, exactly? What “shreds of evidence”? Dubious eye-witness testimony given to the media to stir unrest and the parents because it’s what they wanted to hear? That their son was a blameless innocent?

      OK: If you say so, Ferguson has a racist police department. Then protest that, not the non-indictment of a cop who was firing, apparently, at an impaired, charging behemoth who had already tried to take his gun. There’s no tyranny here—a prosecutor in a Democratic administration, party affiliation significant because that party is in thrall to the race-victim establishment, and is hardly itching to avoid smearing whites if it can get away with it, looked at all the evidence and decided, “Damn. There just isn’t a case here!” and unlike the craven and corrupt prosecutors in Florida, refused to hold an unwinnable show trial just to make Al Sharpton and the Congressional Black Caucus happy. No wonder so many Democrats are corrupt and show no integrity: when they are courageous and fair, they get clobbered.

      You’re intelligent and fair: explain to me how prosecuting what the evidence apparently shows to be a cop in a horrible situation making reasonable choices to protect himself is a justifiable way to oppose a racist police department, if that’s what Ferguson is. Wilson’s life has to be destroyed—make that more destroyed—to punish the organization he works for? Because he wasn’t black, in which case nobody would be calling for his head? How is that justice? How is that not just placating a mob by throwing an innocent man’s life away?

      “That means we have a responsibility to make sure that Law Enforcement is not so manifestly, systemically unjust that regardless of the facts in an individual case, riots are inevitable.” Once again—what??? (I resort to this rhetorical technique because “I disagree” doesn’t express the degree to which I am astonished) “regardless of the facts in an individual case”—what sense does this make? None, as far as I can see. Not one of the rioters has a clue what really happened to Mike Brown, so it is justifiable in your eyes for them to protest that Mike Brown’s shooter wasn’t indicted for murder? What? WHAT? How do you reach such a non sequitur?

      If Brown was justly shot, then the racism—again, assuming you are correct—of the department isn’t at issue in any way. How do you reach the conclusion that the mob “should” riot (Nobody should riot, period…burning the business of an innocent citizen because you are furious at the results of a process you know nothing about: how do you endorse that? How is this not like Israel razing houses of the families of terrorists, absent the rather key factor that the connection between the alleged wrongdoer and the ones being punished is even more attenuated?) even if the grand jury did the right thing…and there is literally no reason to assume it did not. Reportedly a witness who had not heard Wilson’s version of events matched it exactly: that the huge kid mocked Wilson, then charged him with his head down not stopping even after three shots had been fired, while several of the witnesses that claimed otherwise changed their stories under cross. You know what that means, don’t you? Guaranteed acquittal on the merits. It means Mike Brown is dead entirely because of his own actions.

      I really don’t understand your conclusion at all.

  6. What really bothers me is that the cause is hinging on a more iffy case. In places like Ferguson, there would be cases where the details of the crime match the rhetoric. They are determined to win this battle, instead of the war against prejudice.

    No question, the law enforcement needs major reform immediately, and it would have been better if the changes were already happening before the grand jury. But trying to stack or railroad the justice system by threat of violence and riots like this will produce pushbacks, like when the mob is howling for your group regarding another crime or people get so cynical they ignore all the speeches. There is NO excuse for rioting, those are the homes and businesses of your neighbors, you will have to pay to replace the losses and equipment and increased insurance. There could be so many other ways to protest, like an entire congregation applying for a law enforcement job or the holding hands counter protests against that baptist hate group. This Us vs them rioting will just make all the problematic behaviors more entrenched.

    Unfortunately the President’s speech sounds better than it was, if someone had already been somewhat neutral.

    • That’s what gets me. There are better cases for the hucksters to attach themselves to. What about the 12 year old boy that was killed while playing with a BB gun? What about the fellow shot in a Wal Mart, while trying to buy an airsoft rifle the store was selling? There are real cases of police brutality that don’t involve thugs attacking their killer. For fucks sake Sharpton, you should be smarter than this. You could do so much good.

  7. The overall conclusion I have drawn from these events is that blacks (in Ferguson and maybe beyond) will only accept justice and policing from black police departments, black juries and black judges. Their history and experience may give them good reasons to have distrust of white power structures. So I ask is that the way we are going and is it ethical? And if this is the way we are going, aren’t Asian, white and Hispanic communities going to eventually demand justice comes from within their own group?

      • I’d call it more tribalism, where every group tries to stay with its own kind and distrusts all the other groups. Unfortunately the last six years all we have heard is divisiveness and tribalism, we shouldn’t be surprised that this kind of thinking is cropping up.

      • Jack, you are correct that the idea is idiotic and should be discounted as “separate but equal”. It is apartheid and un-American. However, Walrus is also correct. Civil rights advocates, community organizers, rioter-sympathetizers and the grievance industry are calling for exactly that. Their complaints have been endorsed in criminal proceedings where the jury panel is attacked on appeal because it didn’t represent the ‘community’, notwithstanding that a jury pool consists of the people who actually show up for jury duty. They want to crucify Wilson because, regardless of his actions and intent, he represents the white power structure continually oppressing minorities. Therefore, even if he didn’t intend to kill Brown and did not have racial intentions at the time, he simply is an example of the racist system.

        “Justice” for Michael Brown or Trayvon Martin isn’t a full trial on the merits and a decision by a jury. “Justice” is vengeance – Wilson should be drawn and quartered in the town square, leaving his racist carcass there to be eaten by vulture, buzzards and insects for all to see, thereby sending a powerful message. It is mob rule mentality. The media promote the narrative and give con artists like Al Sharpton a bully pulpit to complain about racism. Wilson’s life is essentially over. Hell, CNN’s Erin Burnett wants to known all about Wilson’s new wife and why she was dumb enough to marry the guy. The disappointed in President Obama’s demeanor and facial expressions during his call for peace and reason were obvious. My wife commented that he didn’t mean a word of what he said. She also noted that the people who needed to hear his message were the very ones in the split screen plundering the convenience stores, burning the police cars, and throwing things at the police. So, they were not in front of their TVs drinking in the pearls of wisdom from the White House, the County prosecutor and the ministers calling for restraint.


      • It may be idiotic and destructive but that is the way we seem to be moving. The media coverage of the story I heard this morning was all about the number of whites versus blacks on the grand jury, in the city council and on the police department. Just think about the incentives this reflexive condemnation creates. If you are a young white cop are you going to join a force in a majority black area, knowing an incident could turn the life of your family upside down? The media has basically said one of the problems in Ferguson is too many whites on the city council, so if you are white are you more or less likely to run for office? The content of these whites character was never considered, just the fact that they were white made them part of the problem. So are we moving towards what you called apartheid or away from it?

        It is happening right near where I live in Minneapolis. The Superintendent of Schools has announced that she will personally review every suspension of a “person of color”, because a much higher proportion of blacks are suspended than whites and other groups. The veiled accusation here, is that these suspensions are a product of racism and an accusation of racism could do grave damage to a teachers career. So if you are a young white teacher are you going to risk potentially devastating charges of racism to teach in a majority black school or are you going somewhere else?

        It may be unpleasant but I don’t see how you can argue that we are moving toward greater unity and integration. And if black communities move in this direction will groups like La Raza be far behind?

  8. Inevitable decision; inevitable reaction. It’s all so sad. My Facebook feed is full of liberal-white and black friends who seemed truly shocked at the decision. I can’t imagine what they thought would happen.

  9. Since the race hustlers are quietly itching for a fight the next thing they need to do is find an instance where a cop (preferably black) shoots and kills a white punk in a slam dunk case of excessive force, pretend to agitate “in the boy’s favor” and when a jury indicts, start screaming foul. Then in the next white on black incident where it isn’t slam dunk start agitating again.

    • I don’t know if they’re that intelligent. They hit me like attack dogs, they have a taste for a certain demographic and they just bite at shit. It doesn’t matter what they bite at so long as it smells right.

      • Plus, they have no idea what they are doing. They have no “end vision”, just agitation for agitations sake. Can you imagine the mess of the world if somehow a great upheaval occurred that handed them society on a silver platter and said “Ok, fix it the way you think the world ought to be”.

        I suspect it would look a lot like the French revolution(s)…

  10. An interesting observation…last night, as soon as the announcement was made, over 100 looters descended on the local GROCERY STORE. Looters from out of town will come for electronics, clothes, jewelry, etc., as Fox News is reporting right now, but GROCERIES? That’s home-grown, and given how quickly the looters responded, as a group, I’m guessing it was well-coordinated and planned. “Justice=free canned beans”.

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