The Ferguson protests are being undermined

Our choices and behaviors have a big impact on how our life turns out. Michael Brown chose to rob a store using his intiimidating size and followed that up with a fight against a Police Officer. I find it very difficult to have much sympathy for the consequences given his choices. Let’s be realistic, Michael Brown is not exactly the Rosa Parks of his generation.

The current peaceful protesters in Ferguson are being undermined by the thuggery we have seen the past couple of nights. You are not going to convince anyone of the justice of your cause with actions such as this.

At the same time, there is a greater underlying truth that is being undermined. The Police in the US are applying unfair and racist policies against minorities and the Police culture in the US has become vastly over militarized. The Police are simply too damned fast to shoot and kill people and even in this case, were that many rounds really needed?

Unfortunately, if you really want to change minds, this just ain’t the way to go.

But who are “you”, though? The firm majority of protesters aren’t violent and wanted peaceful protests. The ones that are violent probably aren’t going to listen to you and don’t care about changing minds.

I agree that there are some, probably 25% or less, of people involved on the community side of the equation, that make at least some apology for the looting, even if they don’t outright support it (something like “they shouldn’t be so violent but you have to understand how angry they are!”)

While I agree that that line of argument (somewhat condoning violence) is nonproductive, it’s rare enough that it would be like asking Utah or Kansas why they’re so liberal. They’re not, and most protesters don’t want violence.

and that is my point. I believe that the peaceful protesters have an absolutely valid point that is being utterly drowned out by a few looters and the more violently minded.

As for who I am, I am pretty representative of the demagraphic that a protest needs to actually change things.

If the evidence the grand jury heard is so convincing, then why not take it to trial, so it gets laid out for the community and entire nation to see for themselves?

Yes, trials are expensive, but not so much as the clean up from the mess. Why shouldn’t that community hear all of the evidence? It’s beyond stupid to think anything less would be sufficient.

I’d like to see some of the younger community leaders like Phillip Agnew of Dream Defenders focus some attention on this.

It is just a hands few doing this crap, and if folks like Phillip spoke to the peaceful protesters before hand and said something to the effect of “If you see this going on, band together and STOP these guys!”

I think part of the problem is the peaceful protesters turn a blind eye out of guilt. Because if they were to say something, they would look like sympathizers to the other side.

Maybe change the atmosphere a little bit and make the peaceful protesters understand it’s OK to stand up to the rabbel-rousers.

Because if the grand jury did not find enough for an indictment it would not be legal to have a trial. Because 12 people heard from the prosecutor and came to this decision. Why would a different set of 12 people who have to judge to a much higher standard and hear all of the defense make things different? The community can hear all the evidence. It has all been released. Most will not bother to look.

The problem with this and so many more issues is that the destruction that a few can create so overwhelms the good and drowns the message.

As for why not a trial, it is simple. That would be called a miscarriage of justice. Suppose it was you that was this officer. Do you want to be taken to trial, forced to get an attorney and defend your entire life for the ‘good’ of the community?

The fact is that this officer may not have acted in an entirely correct way, but at the same time, Mr Brown contributed to his own demise mightily.

You are basically saying that the young man deserved to die.

I am of the opinion that nobody, no matter how badly they are behaving, deserves to be shot dead in the streets.

As for the looters, you have to understand that they are angry, justifiably angry, and that they have little to no investment in wider society. They don’t believe they can do well in school, find a good job, and settle down as productive members of society. That might be because that belief is a convenient way to get free stuff, or because they’re young and stupid, or they might be right. I don’t know; I’ve never been a young black man in the St. Louis suburbs. But I do think the looting is indicative of a larger problem than individual criminals.

I’m not trying to absolve them of responsibility or apologize for the looting. It’s disgusting behavior. I just think that theirs is also subconsciously a form of protest: they’re saying “I don’t give a fuck about your society and your rules.” People don’t get to that point because they’re inherently bad. They get there in part because society says “you’re never going to be a part of us.” They’re a symptom of a larger problem.

Right, the function of a criminal trial is not to satisfy public outcry to “expose the truth”. Unless we are willing to amend the rules of criminal procedure and define that any time anyone dies in any armed or violent confrontation, then that is per se strict-liability cause for an open-court adversarial proceeding. Do we have the votes for that?

To be honest, I feel this is lazy. If people were really interested in changing their minds, a few unruly people wouldn’t exist as an obstacle. Absolutely none of this is new, and none of it is unique. It’s yet another chapter in a long, uncomfortable book of American history. Some people just choose to pay attention when it’s a hot topic in the media cycle, but are otherwise flat-out disinterested, because it’s someone else’s problem.

I don’t say this to specifically focus on you, but I’ve heard/read this logic time and time again, where a person gets to enjoy being the skeptic, while generalizing or sweeping away the challenges of a group of people. If it wasn’t a few unruly people, it would be something else, as its historically been. I’ve found those who really do care, expend a bit more effort, than simply watching the bad parts of a situation, then writing the entire thing off. Ultimately, you’re going to find what you’re looking for, and this includes the media.

They broke protocol and released transcripts. Why? A special case, requiring special handling perhaps?

This community deserves/needs to see all the evidence, for themselves, if you want to quell the outrage. Instead conjecture rules the day and a community burns.

Every major news outlet has a link to all the evidence. It is there for anyone to see. In fact probably more evidence than a trial jury would see because there was no defense attempting to get evidence suppressed. There are four hours of Darren Wilson testimony including being grilled by the jurors themselves. It is all out there. Three autopsies. Over 60 witnesses. Reports on evidence by experts. All available for the public. What else are you looking for?

I don’t think he’s quite saying that. I think he’s saying that responsibility for the young man’s death belongs primarily, or at least to a large degree, to the young man himself.

Please tell me specifically what that point is. Seriously. Please.

I can think of a dozen different ACTUAL scenarios where a perpetrator deserved to be shot dead in the streets. By law enforcement, or anyone who happened to be carrying a gun, for that matter.

No amount of evidence will quell the outrage.

The community is burning because assholes torched it, not because evidence wasn’t made public.

The torchers couldn’t give a rat’s ass about evidence. They certainly didn’t wait to review it before lighting up and shooting off.

We don’t take people to trial to satisfy a public’s right to to a criminal trial. There is no right to a criminal trial unless enough evidence suggest an individual should be prosecuted in the first place. We have already taken the prosecution decision a step beyond an individual’s decision to not prosecute; an entire grand jury made the decision. And the evidence they evaluated was made public.

The torchers don’t give a shit about any of that. If more sober members of the community care, what they should do is collective and carefully review the evidence, come up with a refuting statement, and seek further action based on that.

As is, this rush to judgment just makes the protesters look like a lynch mob with very few brains and way too many inclinations to lash out without giving a crap about any facts.

The valid point that I think that the protesters have is that the militarization of the police has led to incidents unfairly applied to minorities. I recall the Rodney King incident and I can’t possibly see how anyone could see that as anything except a raw travesty of justice. There are too many people being shot by the cops and I think that that is either an issue of the police culture or training, but it is being applied at a shocking degree to the black community. I can also understand that they feel the cops are essentially free to do as they please with no valid shot at justice. How true that is is speculation.

At the same time, I do believe that Michael Brown is largely responsible for his own death. Did he deserve it? Can’t say, didn’t know the young man. Is it so shocking that strong arm robbery and violence against the police might get you shot? Not at all.

Law abiding people don’t commit such acts and thus, Mr Brown is no poster child for anything except thuggery.