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Michael Brown, May 20, 1996-August 9, 2014


Daddydavek

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The tragedy that occurred in Ferguson could have happened anywhere in the suburbs of any large American city.

 

An unarmed eighteen year old male was shot by a policeman. Mike Brown was black. The officer Darren Wilson was white.

 

The whole confrontation lasted only about a minute and half.

 

Mike Brown was confronted by officer Wilson who was driving in his police SUV down Cannfield as Mike was walking down the middle of the side street in Ferguson. The officer ordered him to move to the sidewalk.

 

Mike Brown evidently thought he was being harassed by the cop and ignored him and kept on walking.

 

Wilson meantime heard a description over his police radio of a shoplifting in a nearby store and the suspect was described and the description matched Mike Brown who was wearing distinctive colored socks and clothes.

 

The officer put his SUV in reverse and backed up quickly and turned his vehicle to block Mike Brown and words were exchanged, a scuffle ensued, shots rang out and in a minute and a half, Michael Brown was dead.

 

The Wiki article provides much more background and is not sensationalized like the news media reports. Here is the link::

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Michael_Brown

 

That Mike Brown died was a tragedy. The fact that officer Wilson killed him is indisputable. That Wilson was not indicted by the Grand Jury is also a fact. I give the Grand Jury the benefit of the doubt and believe they fulfilled their duty under the law and followed their consciences as well.

 

Eyewitness accounts are often notoriously unreliable and because of this everyone is clamoring for police to wear body cams. Even if such a camera had been worn by the officer, it might have become dislodged and destroyed in the initial scuffle and may not have even been turned on in time to capture what happened. Still it is a resource that is worth pursuing.

 

What is lost in the whole picture of the ensuing demonstrations and subsequent confrontations with shots fired and buildings looted and burned is that this could happen anywhere in the USA.

 

From my own personal point of view, there is more disaffection, sense of futility and anger in America than at any time since the riots in the 1960's when Watts and many other flashpoints erupted.

 

The income disparity has worsened between the rich and the poor and the middle class has contracted so much as to almost have disappeared, especially among minorities. And while people who are comfortable have ignored that fact, the rest have not.

 

The promise of the election of the first African American President has been stymied in the minds of most people working for $20 an hour and often much less.

 

So while some people bemoan that an unarmed black kid was shot and others think the thug got what he deserved, I wonder whether the country will realize that this is a wake-up call and that things could get much worse if we as a country don't begin to do something to make the country a land of opportunity for all.

 

If that doesn't happen, I foresee more violence and rioting ahead....

 

Some people are reluctant to say we are in the beginning of a new class war, but I fear for my country that I served in war.

 

Michael Brown RIP

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Excellent blog Daddy. This has been widely reported, and maybe seeing from a distance helps, but it seems pretty obvious that for democracy to be viable the majority have to feel they have a stake. A sense that "we're all in this together".

 

But on the racial issue, I don't see how the citizens of Ferguson, and probably many other parts of the US, can feel that when two thirds, or thereabouts, are "black" [i assume this means "African American"?] yet they are governed and policed by an overwhelmingly "white" [i assume this means Northern European ethnic?] minority group of citizens - they simply cannot be considered to be representative of the people they govern and police. It is not representative democracy.

 

You put it very well - the US has to address this, and urgently.
 

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Being from the south, there's lots of opinions. Myself, I can only offer prayers and support for both parties and for the citizens that are enduring all of this aftermath. It's a tragedy that will continue to be addressed over and over. That being said, I have to support the judicial system, but I also have sympathy for the loved ones of the victims.

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Zombie, I didn't get into racism because that is a subtext that permeates everything and cynicism abounds about it and because of it.  The truth is that bias does exist and for lots of different reason, some which will never change.  

 

JoAnn there are lots of opinions here too.  I have lots of conflicting opinions as well.  As a parent I can't imagine having to deal with the loss of a child in such a manner as happened to Michael Brown.  His parents cannot be in a good place.  

As someone who has served on jury duty, I too support the judicial system. 

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the Rule of Law must prevail. But that doesn't preclude laws and judicial processes being part of ongoing public discussion and being continually reformed. In fact, law reform, and judicial process reform, have been essential elements in Britain's story :) For example, England too once had the Grand Jury system, in fact the US's system evolved from this. But it was abandoned in favour of prosecution being decided for serious cases like this by what is now called the Crown Prosecution Service on a "is there a case to answer?" basis, with the testing of evidence and testimony being the exclusive function of trial by jury.

 

As for the "r" word I prefer the "d" word because, whatever the reasons, if elected representatives and policing do not adequately reflect that society then they are in a state of failure. And if that remains unaddressed the future does not augur well :(

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I basically grew up less than 10 minutes away, and I really don't think the area was surprised that this happened. There are like 15 cities that meet right in that area, each with a different class, government, and background. It is strange to be able to sit on one side of the line and crime is non-existant, and walk a single city block and there is a recordable murder rate. I cannot speculate on the event itself, as it would be just that, speculation. I do feel heartbroken to see my old stomping grounds being burned to the ground, however. It is an upsetting situation for all parties involved and the U.S. itself.

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