Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ferguson Again: Why Things Are Burning

And, no, I can't let this day pass without sharing more excerpts from articles I've found well worth reading, about the Ferguson story. Because it's simply too important to ignore, no matter how much  my harping on it may irritate some readers of this blog:

Charles D. Ellison on how St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch played us all:

The timing betrayed any sense of institutional innocence, from the duration of deliberation to the leaks to the elaborate state-of-emergency planning. Missouri police and military assets deployed with a no-shots show of force, eager to contain hands-up disruptions before they boiled over. . . . It was Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s nervous dispatch of National Guard assets that seemed to give it away. The late-Monday-night, prime-time, pre-Thanksgiving timing of the announcement was professionally mapped for a workday public settling in for football and wings. 

Vince Warren on how the prosecutors have framed the evidence (and how the lack of a trial in open court precludes our careful examination of all the evidence):

[W]hat I saw, which people need to know, is that this wasn’t just the grand jurors listening to the testimony idly. The prosecutors are framing the evidence. And as you heard in that press conference yesterday, there was more talk about what Mike Brown did than there was about what Darren Wilson did. It was almost as if in that grand jury process looking to charge Darren Wilson, that they were really charging Mike Brown.

Ezra Klein on ditto — how, in the absence of a trial, all we have is Darren Wilson's story, which is shot full of holes for many folks:

Unbelievable things happen every day. The fact that his story raises more questions than it answers doesn't mean it isn't true. 
But the point of a trial would have been to try to answer these questions. We would have either found out if everything we thought we knew about Brown was wrong, or if Wilson's story was flawed in important ways. But now we're not going to get that chance. We're just left with Wilson's unbelievable story.

Charles Pierce on the strangest witness in the pile of evidence-dump — witness no. 40, who just happens to have kept popping up miraculously in the right place at the right time: 

I would love to know how this magical account came to be used as evidence in a very high profile case, and I'm even more interested in the chain of custody for the journal itself because, wow.

Will Bunch on how McCulloch indicted himself:

The release of the supporting grand jury documents raises so many more questions than they answer. Lisa Bloom, a legal analyst for MSNBC, asked some hard-hitting ones online today. Why did prosecutors not cross-examine Wilson over some of the inconsistencies in the story he told to grand jurors? Why was the officer not grilled about the hospital report which found that after the shooting that he was "well-appearing, well-nourished, in no apparent distress." 

And on how McCulloch's real game is to protect a system, his system, that grinds up and spits out the little people, and not to protect Darren Wilson: 

 Look, I don't think the fate of Darren Wilson as a human being really means anything to the ruling class. At the end of the day, people like Bob McCulloch aren't protecting Wilson so much as the system that he stood for -- a system that has spent untold millions on creating police forces that resemble armies, that perpetuates an America of gated suburbs walled off from towns like Ferguson with their failing schools and failing labor markets, a nation where it's corporate patrons of politicians who get to write the rules.

The Nation on why Ferguson burns:

As Chase Madar points out at, state and federal law gives wide latitude to police officers to use deadly force in self-defense, or merely in carrying out an arrest, if such force is "objectively reasonable." In practice, that standard means police accounts are almost always taken as truth, even if eyewitness testimony or forensic evidence points to a different reality. And as recent cases remind us, when the suspect has dark skin, what counts as an "objectively reasonable" use of force by police may be prompted by a toy gun, a loose cigarette, the symptoms of mental illness, or a person simply walking into the darkened stairwell of his own building.

And Anthea Butler on what happens when white America's racist God meets Miss Celie:

As an historian of American Religion and African American Religion, I’m often reminded that for those in power, the bodies of the people they fear and subjugate are always deemed dangerous, evil, or demonic. Darren Wilson’s statement that Michael Brown looked 'like a demon' is one more layer of that history. The god of white supremacy in America demands that anything that does not conform to a white body must be evil; it must be denigrated or destroyed.

We have work to do, we Americans. If we expect our democracy to survive, that is.

No comments: