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A Thought on Ferguson

Riots erupted across the country over the decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. Arguments about whether Brown charged him or fled or whether the shots were in self-defense or unprovoked are, when you pull away all the layers of obfuscation, irrelevant.

The real issue is that young black men are targets wherever they go. They are harassed, stopped, frisked, interrogated, arrested, framed and killed in numbers wholly out of proportion to their representation in the population.

This fact, simple and bold, is where the problem lies. We saw it in the Zimmerman case; we’re seeing it here. Anyone who wants to take an hour or two out and surf the Internet can find scores of other cases.

We need to stop splitting hairs over what are essentially meaningless details and focus on the deeper issues.

Reader Comments (2)

Even if Brown was in the wrong, black racial profiling is out of control and needs to stop ... well said.

November 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhil

Hi, Art...just popped onto your "Thoughts on Ferguson" blog after reading your blog on the BBC Towers fight.
Impressed by your passion...but don't think the issue is clarified or your position strengthened by ignoring the facts.

Michael Brown had just staged a strong-arm robbery of a convenience store, He took a box of cigars right off the cashier's counter (not exactly a poor mom shoplifting baby food). He then shoved away a small clerk who tried to intervene. Then Brown and his buddy walked up the middle of a city street with their stolen property. None of this has been challenged by any of the protesters or their activist spokespersons. The officer - unaware of the convenience store crime - hailed the two on his loudspeaker, ASKING them to step off the street. Then you have two stories, he did or did not approach the patrol car. I'd suggest that his previous behavior might lend weight to one or the other...if considered.

No, Art...the facts DO matter...whether or not you want to make a point.

This dose not strike me as an innocent black kid being hassled or profiled. It sounds like an arrogant bully punk. And the behavior is so aggressive, I'd strongly suspect the Mr. Brown was high on crack or speed, both of which produce strong delusions of power and invincibility. Do you know whether Brown was tested for either drug? Do you know whether Brown had a history of aggressive or bullying behavior?

Or did you simply accept that this was just another racist cop?

I'd hate to confuse a good argument with actual facts. But I will. In 2011, the most recent year full statistics have been nationally compiled and published by the FBI, 14,548 persons were murdered in the United States. The largest spike in murders by age were in the 20-24 range, 2417 murders - 2179 by males, 235 by females. 924 were committed by Whites, 1435 by Blacks, 78 by unknown or Others. In 2013, 14.2 % of the American population, by Census, were Black or African-American. I dunno, Art...looks to me like a young Black man is 4 times as likely to kill you as a White kid. Feel free to check both my source and my math.

So it looks to me like a cop ought to be 4 times as cautious in stopping a young Black man who is acting oddly...that is, if the cop hopes to do his or her job of prevent crime... and also to go home to his/her family that night. I'd feel the same, no matter which racial or ethnic group was most statistically profiled as most dangerous to the public and myself. (they might be Latino or Asian in another area).

I've been struck in the face with a wrench by auto thieves burgling my car. I've been beaten up by drunk men who didn't like my looks. I've been threatened by addicts who tried to mug me. They were all White men. No Black man has ever harmed me.

I'm White, Jewish and consider myself Liberal. I just don't like matter which side of the argrument it comes from. Stay passionate. Keeping writing. But also think deeply, and confirm your position before you dig your trench.
:>) Bruce Glassner

January 4, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBruce Glassner

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