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article imageOp-Ed: In Ferguson, media, many black leaders, selfishly stoke the fire

By Marcus Hondro     Nov 29, 2014 in Crime
Something needs to be refuted regarding the tragedy that is Ferguson. It's not easy doing that and given a young person lost his life it may not be popular. It is this: Michael Brown was not shot because he had his hands up and said don't shoot.
False campaign: Hands up, don't shoot
The facts clearly support that at no time during the altercation that lead to his death did he have his hands up, and at no time did he say 'don't shoot.' But people are angry and following their leaders in grabbing on to that notion, thus creating a false rallying cry.
Brown was shot after engaging Officer Darren Wilson in a struggle, punching him. When Wilson got out of the car - he could have waited for back-up, but cops often don't - Brown turned and came back toward him. Witnesses, not witnesses quoted by media, but real witnesses before the grand jury, say that is so, and forensic evidence showed his hands were not in the air when shot; no witness actually claimed he said 'don't shoot.'
The officer was telling him to stop or he'd shoot, but on he came. As police learn in training, a combatant can cover a few feet in less than a second. As police also learn, each year many officers die by their own gun in the hands of someone else.
One witness told the grand jury Brown was moving “forward in the charging motion" and another told the prosecutor that “When he first started running, ma’am, he was not staggering. He was charging this officer and that’s how I feel it was, like he was running towards him. If he had got close enough, I feel like he would have tackled him up against the car."
So he was shot because instead of complying he attacked and when the officer decided to get out of his squad car, Brown decided to advance on him and ignore his warnings. Why? It seems crazy. But after all, he certainly seemed to be acting strange on the video in that cigar store when he brazenly stole cigarillos.
Indeed, his friend with him said that he was surprised he'd stolen them, said he'd never seen him act like that, though he admitted to not knowing him long. Could it have been the marijuana he'd been smoking? That seems unlikely, he was accustomed to the drug.
But what else is there?
It may be a combination of reasons. Marijuana and mood being two. After all, it was a brazen theft in that store, cruel, he took the cigars, shoved the clerk and played the tough guy, threatening the smaller man as he walked back toward him. He was not a guy, not in that moment, who cared for authority in the least.
Media, black leaders stoke victim fire
Another reason may be the manner in which media and many black leaders fill black youth with the notion that they are targets, victims. They whip them into a frenzy with slogans like 'No Justice, No Peace', which really means 'if you don't do what we want, we'll rob and burn cars.' It's a tactic that keeps black leaders working and the media falling all over itself to create stories that snare readers, advertisers and revenue.
It is selfish and self-serving.
It's a fire that keeps getting stoked. But here's this: I recall a white man shot dead in Toronto who had a baseball bat but was not advancing on the four officers who stood in front of him, though he would not drop the bat. Just days ago an Asian man was shot dead in Vancouver holding what the police called a 2 by 4 but witnesses called a stick, and he was not advancing on the officers.
There was a white youth shot dead by a black cop in Mobile, AL. a year-and-a-half before Michael Brown and the cop was cleared of wrongdoing. The 18-year-old he killed was naked, on drugs, small, and did not touch the officer or anyone else. Piers Morgan called it unnecessary but no other national media covered it and President Obama was likely never informed. There are examples of blacks being shot. But not just blacks, not by a long shot.
Racism in America
Yes, it is unassailable that racism continues in America and hurdles still exist for the black community to overcome. But too many black leaders are addicted to hyperbole and the victim card. For example: they cry foul if you say Trayvon Martin was shot because he was angry George Zimmerman followed him (he'd stopped) and tried to find Zimmerman, did find him and began to beat him up. All of which witnesses testified to and the evidence clearly showed.
No, that wasn't what happened at all. No he was shot, according to black leaders and the media, because he'd gone to the store to get some skittles. That was the rallying cry. Which sounds rather like Michael Brown being shot because he put his hands up and said don't shoot, doesn't it?
We would all be mad if people in the same racial category as us were shot for buying skittles or putting their hands up and saying 'don't shoot', if anyone was. But do they really think those were the reasons? When the evidence says otherwise?
Such hyperbole is not helping young black people, especially males, and not helping black communities. Ask the black business owners in Ferguson who no longer have a business if it helps.
Police shootings and the courts
And it doesn't help for them to say, each time a court ruling comes down they don't like, that the results were unfairly arrived at. Here's some news for you: most police shootings, of persons of any color, are not found to be the fault of the officer. That's reality.
There are often things most of us don't consider, like how quickly a human can cover ground to fight you and take your gun. Or how police don't have time to think 'well, why is this person who is escalating acting strange?'
Do people really think the grand jury in Ferguson, citizens, of which three were black, sat down and went 'let's find a way to get this cop off the hook and stick it to the black community'? It's convenient to say the system is rigged when you lose. Especially if you refuse to examine the evidence with reason.
Seeking equality for blacks
Here's the crux of all this: has it occurred to black leaders and the media that just maybe Michael Brown got so mad in part because Trayvon Martin got shot because he wanted skittles? That just maybe that story, and other stories equally misstated by the older men and women he looked up to, his leaders, fueled some of the anger that kept him going toward that white police officer?
Yes America must keep pursuing equality for all, but others need to pursue better judgement, the ability to put anger and their historical desire for revenge aside, and instead examine tragedies like this with reason. Not easy, but if they do not then it is arguable they will continue to be part of making it worse for black youth, not better.
There are indications America is fighting not against blacks, but for them. That America wants a society where all have that ability to meet their potential. Capitalism may make it harder for those who were stuck at the bottom to rise up, but millions are managing it.
For those who aren't, and given the history of the country there are a disproportionate number of blacks in that category, the path to getting there is the path of law and reason. That does not rule out protest but it does rule out violence and the emotional and unhelpful tactic of forever playing the victim.
Hopefully, one day, we'll take that lesson from a death that did not need to happen.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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