Less than a day had passed since the incident that started all the current mess in Ferguson, Missouri when I received my first question about what my opinion on it was. To be perfectly honest, I had the flu at the time and I hadn’t been paying attention to the news at all, though I had seen a lot of incendiary discussion of the situation on my tumblr dashboard, but I learned a long time ago to not get my news from tumblr.
So my response was very non-committal.
The only thing I was prepared to comment on was the riots, because I have always and will always find riots (there is a difference between a peaceful protest and a riot) to be one of the worst responses to a tragedy. I thought so when people looted or rioted in the wake of any natural disaster (Katrina) or domestic incident (London Riots) and I will continue to think so, so there is no possibility that I will be saying something that will come back to bite me later.
When it came to the actual incident of the shooting and death of Mike Brown, one day is not nearly enough time for investigators to discover the facts about a situation, perform an autopsy, or interview all the witnesses. It’s definitely not enough time for them to release any of those facts to the public either.
So instead the media scrounges up any “eye witness” they can find to talk, regardless of whether they are likely to be honest about what they saw or not, and then the rest of the city, county, state, and country can be trusted to completely believe anything the media says about the situation and begin jumping to conclusions and making accusations immediately. I mean, come on baby, we live in the age of getting your news from 140 character tweets and hackers who release the addresses of cops so that they have to go into hiding. Innocent until proven guilty? What a quaint outdated idea.
There’s no need to wait for facts when we have accusations of racism being manufactured, seemingly out of thin air.
I won’t say we have all the facts yet, but there certain are more out now and those facts are enough to already call the original ‘eye witness’ statements into question. The autopsy has shown some interesting things about how Brown was shot, while drug tests and security footage from earlier that day call the veracity of his family’s belief that he was a “good boy” into question, and new witness statements and physical evidence of assault are starting to corroborate Officer Wilson’s story as well.
I’m still not making a judgement call. Was there excessive force or was Wilson’s response reasonable to protect himself? Who started the altercation? What was the situation that led to Wilson’s orbital bone being broken? Was there a racial component at all? There are still too many other questions for me to begin to do anything other than speculate and I, for one, am going to keep my speculations to myself.
Most of the problems brought on by the riots and protests could have been dealt with if people were just willing to wait for more information, instead of jumping to conclusions.
Otherwise I would just be adding to the problem of sensationalizing a situation for my own profit and there’s no way I’m going to pull an Al Sharpton here.