Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ferguson thoughts...

While I try to make this blog an informative one (especially on the subject of the doings of the Arizona legislature), its genesis was as a place to vent.

One of the reasons that I haven't written about the non-indictment of Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri is that there are so many thoughts trying to get out that I haven't been able to organize them.

However, the time that has passed hasn't done anything to help those thoughts simmer down, so it is time to return this blog to its roots - as a vent.

Here goes -

1.  Have no doubt: the prosecutor in the case, Bob McCulloch, tanked the case.

There's an aphorism about prosecutors being able to indict a ham sandwich.  I don't know if it is 100% accurate, but if that ham sandwich was stolen, almost all he would have needed to indict Wilson would have been to show that Wilson was in the same time zone as the sandwich when it went missing.

Nearly all grand juries do exactly what the prosecutors leading them want done.

Of course, given that McCulloch is the president of an organization that raised money for Wilson's defense, that appears to be exactly what happened in this case.

2. There have been people, perhaps people of good intent, who have looked to rationalize the police response to this situation by saying something along the lines of "well, the police deal with people at their worst so that it isn't a surprise" that Wilson thought that Brown was a demon, before Wilson shot and killed Brown. Those same people use the same "logic" to rationalize police predisposition to violence toward members of minority communities.

Believe it or not, that can be worked with - if it is acceptable to pass judgement on an entire community based on the bad behavior of a few individual members of that community, then it *is*.

As Darren Wilson is a bigoted murderer; so are all members of the "blue wall".

Don't like it?  (And you shouldn't)

Too bad.  That's how stereotypes work.

For the record: I believe that in our society, there is no one more worthy of respect than a good cop.

As for my definition of  "good"?  Well, the Darren Wilsons of that world and the "go along to get along" types who have aided and abetted him need not apply...

3.  As horrific as it is, police violence toward minorities (and non-LEO folks who aren't 1%-ers) isn't the most pressing issue.

Sad to say, but there are always going to be bad apples in any group.

In other words, even in a group that is mostly decent human beings and honorable public servants, there is always going to be an element that is bigoted, vicious, and/or corrupt.

The biggest problem is the pervasive "code of silence" that suffuses the LEO subculture.  Until that is addressed, until their loyalty is given to the civil society pays their salaries and grant them their authority before it is given to the blue wall, then the Darren Wilsons of the world will continue to be the face of the American law enforcement community.

And as long as Wilson and his ilk *are* the face of American law enforcement, the LEO community will have more authority than credibility.  That's not just a problem for the LEO community; it undermines trust in society overall.

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