Decision in Ferguson

I am not surprised by the decision of  the grand jury in Ferguson not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown. The possibility always existed that the grand jury would not find sufficient evidence that Officer Wilson had actually committed a crime and as more facts about this case emerged, I believed that it was less and less likely that Wilson would be indicted. Sadly, I am also not surprised that there is rioting in Ferguson as a result of this decision. I think the media has acted irresponsibly in this case, encouraging unrest and not reporting facts that tended to refute their initial narrative of an innocent young man gunned down in the street by a racist cop. Had they done their job properly, perhaps people in Ferguson, and elsewhere, would have better realized that an indictment was not very likely.

I do not know if the grand jury made the correct decision. Since I have not examined the sort of evidence and testimony they have, it would be presumptuous for me to second guess them. I think this holds true for nearly everyone who is commenting on this case. I think that many people who have commented on this case do not understand properly just what the grand jury has done. The purpose of a grand jury is to examine evidence and determine if criminal charges should be brought against an individual. In most cases, grand juries vote to bring criminal charges. Not delivering any indictments is fairly rare. This is because in most cases prosecutors do not bring a case before a grand jury unless they believe there is at least enough evidence to begin criminal proceedings. The fact that this grand jury declined to bring charges against Officer Wilson might indicate a very weak case indeed. There also seems to be a strange reluctance to bring charges against police officers, which might apply in this case. Whatever the reason, a trial, while satisfying the professional agitators, would have been a waste of time and money for everyone.

Now, since the purpose of a grand jury is to determine whether a crime has been committed, all this particular grand jury has decided is that there does not exist sufficient evidence that Officer Darren Wilson has committed a crime. It may well be that Officer Wilson acted inappropriately in shooting Michael Brown. The relations between the police and the community of Ferguson may be troubled. Race relations in America may not be what they should be. None of that was relevant to the proceedings of the grand jury. Their only concern was whether Officer Wilson had committed any crimes. They decided that he had not.

There seems to be an idea with some people that Officer Wilson should have been indicted because the police in Ferguson had behaved badly or African Americans have been oppressed in the past and in the present. The idea seems to be to offer up somebody, anybody as a scapegoat to atone for the sins of the community or perhaps for the great cause of Social Justice. This sentiment is not founded in the concept of justice under the rule of law. This is the mentality of the lynch mob. This is the sort of thinking we need to avoid.

As for the rioting, I wish the people involved would consider that they are not helping matters. They are working to destroy their community and blighting the lives of the majority of residents who would just as soon live in peace. The rioters are criminals taking advantage of a bad situation to better themselves. Something similar could be said for the parasites preparing to descend on the hapless community.


I hadn’t intended on writing anything on the happenings in Ferguson, Missouri. I obviously wasn’t there and the details of the shooting of Michael Brown seem to change with each reporting. Since I do not know what actually occurred, I have thought it best not to comment. I wish a lot of other people had shown a similar restraint. Instead, it seems that every pundit and politician in the country has had to put forth their opinion based on inadequate and often conflicting accounts. I can say that the original media narrative, that a racist police officer gunned down an innocent African-American youth for no particular reason is almost certainly not in accord with the facts. Officer Darren Wilson seems to have been attacked and to have suffered injuries. Michael Brown was not a little kid but a three hundred pound teenager. If he had assaulted Officer Wilson or even acted in a threatening manner, Wilson would have had good reason to be afraid for his life. That doesn’t mean that he acted appropriately. I simply do not know.

What concerns me about the way this is unfolding is that the media is not really interested in emphasizing the little details that might conflict with their original narrative. I am afraid that any sort of serious inquiry over the shooting may well find reason to exonerate Officer Wilson. Since the good people of Ferguson, Missouri and elsewhere may very likely be unaware of the details that prompted Wilson’s exoneration, and being ginned on by the likes of Al Sharpton, will conclude that a racist murderer has gotten away with his crimes. Then there will be rioting.

Something rather similar happened with Rodney King. The whole country saw the video of the Los Angeles policemen beating Mr. King, always described as a motorist as though he had been out for an innocent drive. What the country did not see was the high-speed chase in which King endangered other drivers and pedestrians while his blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit. They did not see King resist arrest nor were they told that tasering King had no effect on him. The beatings, while excessive, were understandable since they were trying to subdue what appeared to be a dangerous man. Because most people in this country were not made aware of these important details, the acquittal of the officers in the video came as a shock and provoked rioting. The media acted irresponsibly then, and I fear they are acting irresponsibly now. If there are more riots in Ferguson, they will have blood on their hands.

Would it be too much to ask that everyone calm down and keep their mouths shut unless they happen to have first hand knowledge of events?

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