Truth Bleeds

Dear J-

The byline is Ferguson, but the concept is clear, as it has been every fifty years. If someone powerful could be blamed, let’s instead heap scorn on the victim. How many times have you heard the trope of how oh, she was asking for it, dressed the way she was? Or because of what he did for a living? Mike Brown, who was stopped for jaywalking on a road between apartments (it sounds like a road that the city owns and pays for in order to subsidize some property owner’s costs), we’re told is now a robbery suspect (oops, sorry, it looks like he paid for those Swisher Sweets) who was violent towards the police officer (oh … perhaps we shouldn’t listen to anonymous, uncorroborated sources).

On the other hand it’s deeply disheartening to see what we’ve become: we’re so eager to hear those reports that reinforce our biases so we can go back to not caring so much. I’m a tumblr person who explores hashtags infrequently but I sat down and read through an hour’s worth of posts on Ferguson, paying particular attention to the folks who thought this was a mountain out of a molehill. It’s interesting that libertarians who regularly decry the use of police force to regulate, say, firearms or cults (Waco!) have been slow to condemn both the shooting murder of Mike Brown and the subsequent violent suppression of protestors and media. Apparently this isn’t a cause to be too worried about. Police overreach and brutality only happens when you don’t cooperate with the police, right?

I’m as guilty as anyone else of seeking out sources that confirm my views but this isn’t a half-hour lesson to be taught at bedtime (should anyone’s mother have to teach their children the phrase “hands up don’t shoot”? be thankful that you don’t, either) packaged and then forgotten until the next time. That’s what the protests are about; not that it happened, but hoping the lessons here aren’t so easily forgotten, that there shouldn’t be a next time, next time. There is a deep undercurrent of deserved resentment in Ferguson because of years of mistreatment in the wake of white flight, and that we should be able to understand it and bottle it up in half an hour, bolstered by potentially falsified, anonymously sourced reports (echoed endlessly in the media by folks who should know better) is deeply obscene.

Mike

P.S. Unnamed sources in my head tell me this is the best post ever!

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