Arthur Christopher Schaper
Black agitators are up in arms, literally and figuratively, in response to the death (not murder) of Ferguson, Missouri convicted felon Michael Brown. In August 2014, he charged at police officer Darren Wilson (per testimony from African-American grand jury witnesses). Following law enforcement’s best practices, Wilson tried to get the young man to stand down. Brown, the not-so-gentle giant refused, and Wilson opened fire. Despite absentee parents, non-existent upbringing, bad schools, and his impoverished community conditions, Brown has no one to blame but himself, a reflection not from a self-righteous, unaware white person, but from Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson, founder of the South Los Angeles Tea Party.
Still, public opinion does not determine guilt. A trier of fact does, and Ferguson’s grand jury decided that there was no probable cause to indict Wilson. Before denouncing racist collusion in American law enforcement, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson (and even Louis Farrakhan) should walk a beat for a week, and see how easy it is. Hindsight is 20-20, as the cliché goes, and there is no worse backwards criticism than commenting on a police officer’s life-or-death discretion in the line of duty.
So, a grand jury determines probable cause, and in the Brown case, they determined there was none. However, the racially-fomented narrative of police aggravation and victimized grievance runs its course. “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” replaces “I am Trayvon Martin!”
The (white) cops shoot, ask questions never, and get away with murder. Protestors (later, looters and rioters) raised their hands, stormed the streets: “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.” The St. Louis Rams also took to their field in the same pose, with disgraceful, immoral solidarity. Local law enforcement wanted the team fined. No one rebuked them, not even President Obama. Yet the protestors, and the ensuing rioters, believe themselves justified, and they are raising their hands in faux-sympathy with the mythic martyr Michael Brown.
Who else is raising their arms in play-protest? The Congressional Black Caucus in the House of Representatives.
Their comments so widely distorted the facts, and the history of this country, that more Americans, black and white, should start throwing up their hands in frustration, or think: “Put your hands down, and shut up!”
From Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York):
“Hands up! Don’t shoot!” is a rallying cry of people all across America who are fed up with police violence in community after community after community.
No it’s not.
Retired NBA Basketball player Charles Barkley:
[Those expletives] who are looting, those aren’t real black people, those are scumbags... If it wasn’t for the cops, we’d be living in the wild wild west in out neighborhoods.
A young black man courageously spoke up at a Ferguson open forum:
Officer Wilson was just doing his job.
Half of the country is divided in their opinion about the shooting.
Jeffries then shared:
People in America are fed up with a broken, criminal justice system.
Don’t blame the police for doing their job, is one response. Residents are actually fed up with the destructive protests themselves: Oakland, CA, San Diego commuters, Seattle, WA
Rep. Yvette Clark (D-New York) offered an unsound, insulting take on the case:
The killing of Michael Brown and attacks by the Ferguson Police department on protestors demonstrate an assumption that young women and men who are African-American are inherently suspicious.
She is painting all African-Americans with this broad stroke. She did not witness the rampant looting and pillaging. Clark’s pretensions on the House Floor do not she get down to the bottom of this fraught pathology of crime and homicide in ghetto communities.
Marcia Fudge of Ohio:
We are running out of patience. Last week, the nation waited and hoped that justice would be served in the case of Michael Brown. We waited for our country to say loud and clear “There are consequences for taking the lives of others. We waited to hear some reassurance that black and brown boys’ lives do matter.
Justice was served, but the outcome did not please Rep. Fudge. Was she expecting a hi-tech lynching of Officer Wilson? If the lives of minority youth do matter, then Fudge and her Democratic colleagues should stop resisting school choice, end the welfare state, and promote communities based on families, not collectivized bitterness. At least Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clark understands the deep-rooted problems which explode in race-fueled riots.
Despite the harsh words of the Congressional Black Caucus, the American public, black and white, does not agree. Instead of dumb-show outrage, Jeffries and his colleagues should put their hands down, shut up and consider the staggering number of black men killing each other. Not a white cop, but a black peer is statistically the most dangerous threat to a black man, 94% of the time according to the Wall Street Journal. Juan Williams of Fox News points out that the number one cause of death for black males aged 15-34 is murder, committed by other black men.
In short: Michael Brown should not be memorialized, the protests (and protestors) are undignified, the resulting crime sprees and civil unrest is unjustified. Racial agitators need to look at the deeper problems in our society. Putting up our hands and shouting "Don't shoot" doesn't cut it.
Arthur Christopher Schaper is a teacher-turned-writer on topics both timeless and timely; political, cultural, and eternal. A life-long Southern California resident, Arthur currently lives in Torrance.