Hopeful Knowledge

Dear J-

If you’re just editing Wikipedia entries (yesterday: Lungmen Nuclear Power Station) then you’re not writing elsewhere, or more critically, reading. Big storm in the Buffalo area? No clue. I didn’t realize what was happening with Officer Darren Wilson and the grand jury deciding not to charge him until yesterday and the implications are still percolating through my head. Do you read something more critically into this? Some larger implication?

When I was a kid I used to cry a lot; there are a lot of unfair things in the world but nothing rankles more than being systematically disadvantaged under ‘the rules;’ we would make up games and once I realized the rules were set up against me (those rules I’d foolishly agreed to before even starting) I’d go home and say that’s that, that’s enough, we’re done here, good bye. Tearily. As an adult — as an engineer — I find myself leaky at movies in particularly emotional scenes (I’m not crying — YOU ARE) but at the rules? Nope. Now the rules just fill me with the kind of cold rage we need to learn about them with dispassion and understand them before taking positive action to reform the rules. We are adults. We can change the world.

I’ve edited enough entries on Taiwan to be utterly fascinated with their modern history and rules; one of the laws governs how voters may refer a referendum to the national ballot, but there are still vestiges of martial law there: the government has a right to review it. If the laws protecting Michael Brown have failed, if the laws protecting Darren Wilson were too strong — and quite frankly, the burden of proof to justify taking a life is too low — then there is a way to change them. This is some serious bull, to claim reasonable fear for your life: of serious harm to your pride, perhaps, but your life? With Brown over a hundred feet away?

I’ve felt that same rage rise up: don’t you sass me, children, not when I’m righteous if not right; I can only imagine what being on the operating end of a gun might mean in terms of providing authority and that’s why there’s nothing in the house stronger than a monopod. I hope that Darren Wilson gets help for his rage issues; I know that laws in Missouri will change.

Mike

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