Monday, December 1, 2014

Justice for Ferguson is Not Revenge or Vengeance

Justice is not revenge. Justice is not vengeance. Justice is not looting. Justice is not arson. Justice is not rioting. Justice is not Ferguson after the Grand Jury decision. Justice is not looting, vandalizing, or destroying 60 businesses in the Ferguson area. Justice is not shutting down the 44, 110 or 580. Justice is not shutting down BART. Justice is not shutting down shopping centers, yelling “If we don’t get no justice, they don’t get no profits.” Yet, that is what a few are using Ferguson as an excuse to do – all because of a false narrative. The narrative was laid out by Dorian Johnson, Michael Brown’s companion, that a white police officer shot Michael Brown in the back while his hands were raised, thus giving rise to the chant “Hand’s up; Don’t shoot.” The story fits the historic narrative of police harassing, beating, and even killing African Americans, especially young males. Michael Brown became a symbol. Not this time though. Dorian has an outstanding warrant and Michael a rap sheet. The two were partners in crime earlier that day in robbing a convenience store of cigarillos, caught on video. The death of Michael Wilson is a tragedy. Michael Brown should not have been killed. Darren Wilson should not have had to shoot him. Michael Brown should not have openly carried the stolen cigarillos in public. Nor should he have attacked Officer Wilson in his car and grabbed for the Officer’s gun. We cannot know what Michael Brown was thinking, but we know his actions. Eyewitnesses and autopsy reports tell the tale. The Grand Jury of 9 whites and 3 African Americans took 97 days, listening to 70 hours of testimony and 60 witnesses before reaching their decision to not indict Officer Wilson. Dorian Johnson lied. The narrative is false. The agitators, building on the legacy of African American distrust of the police, are not letting the facts get in the way of a good narrative. Justice is not claiming that Ferguson is to this generation what Selma was to an earlier generation – but that’s just the Reverend Al Sharpton. Justice is bringing to the bar of justice those who committed criminal acts in Ferguson. Let us note though that the number of perpetrators in almost every post – Grand Jury incident is low, usually less than 200. The vast majority, 99.9999%, are not rioting, looting, or torching. They are respecting the rule of law. Justice is the product of the rule of law, a process by which the American legal system resolves a dispute following the rules of law in an orderly and peaceful manner before an impartial judge and judge. The American public understands that Michael Brown is not a proper symbol of the Civil Rights Movement. The Reverend Al Sharpton said that Ferguson is to this generation what Selma was to an earlier generation. That’s Al Sharpton being Al Sharpton. It is not America. And it’s not Selma. The tragedy of Ferguson is two fold. The first is the death of Michael Brown. The second is reigniting the issue of race in America while setting back the progress we’ve made in recent decades. Legitimate grievances, of which there are many, will be consumed by the incendiary fires of Ferguson.

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