2.) St. Louis County Releases hundreds of pictures of looting.
3.) Winston’s Law
On the night of 12/23/2014, a white Berkeley Police Officer was responding to the Mobile gas station on N. Hanley Road for a report of a larceny in progress. At the business, he made contact with two black male individuals and stopped to talk to them. As the conversation continued, one of the two individuals, a youth by the name of Antonio Martin, pulled a handgun and pointed it at the officer’s head. In the split second before panic set in, the random thought jumped into the officer head to the effect of, “Why is he pulling a gun? This is just a larceny.”
A millisecond later, the gravity of the situation finally caused reality to come crashing down. Frantically, the officer backed up drawing his weapon and firing three times. As he backed up, he stumbled and fell to the ground. One bullet struck the tire of his car, one bullet struck the gunman, and a final shot went wild into the air. The policeman scrambled back to his feet running for a better position and away from the immediate danger.
What the officer didn’t know was that the gunman was now dead, the result of one bullet.
What the officer didn’t know was that the gunman had failed to turn the safety off on the gun before drawing it.
What the officer didn’t know was that he would never be able to go back to work.
What the officer didn’t know was that he would be called a murderer simply for defending himself.
Even while the officer’s name has not been released or leaked at this time, he will not be returning to work even after being cleared of any wrongdoing. As one of the few white officers within the Berkeley Police Department, let alone one of the few young white officers, he knows that it will be impossible for him to safely continue to do his job. Racism and threats of violence are forcing him to quit. He is reaping the benefits of his privilege.
What’s happening to the Berkeley Officer who defended himself against Antonio Martin, is the embodiment of everything that is wrong in North St. Louis County. A police officer who has done nothing wrong is crucified by the community and surrounding region while his attacker is propped up and canonized into sainthood.
From the start of the situation in Ferguson, it was clear that the community was doing everything in their power to ensure that Darren Wilson would not be getting a fair shake regardless of guilt. A lot of what has happened since August 9th has been conducted under a warped concept of utilitarianism. When your cause is righteous, everything you do in the pursuit of that concept is justified. Lying is justified. Rioting is justified. Assault and Murder are justified. Committing crimes and pretending it’s associated with Civil Rights Era civil disobedience is justified.
In an online article several months ago, Sarah Kenzior and Umar Lee discussed the “I Am Darren Wilson” movement from a context of fear. I will agree with that general conclusion. However, their assertion was that the fear was a racist emotion derived from the same reasoning that is blamed for St. Louis region “White Flight.” For officers, the basis for supporting Darren Wilson was from the compassionate realization that any of us could be in the exact same position as the Ferguson Officer under completely benign circumstances. He deserved due process. We deserve due process.
The counter to this argument from the Ferguson Twitter Brigade (FTB) is the refrain that Mike Brown or Antonio Martin deserved due process as well. I actually agree with that statement and if there was evidence that in either of these cases the officer in question executed these men, deciding to be a judge, jury, and executioner, the conversation would be quite different. Still, even if both policemen went out and murdered two black boys as the FTB would have you believe, they would still be entitled to due process. The rights of the accused are not simply limited to people you favor.
Still, there continues to be this idea pushed by the FTB that officers who are forced to defend themselves are somehow rewarded for their actions. An oft cited example is the use of “paid administrative leave.” Paid leave is a human resources decision. Uniformity prevents lawsuits. What’s more, why should anyone not receive pay prior to the conclusion of an investigation? Why should anyone be deprived of pay when they have done nothing wrong?
In Darren Wilson’s case, the money that was raised for his legal defense is often cited as evidence of a reward. He still has an attorney on retainer and is still looking at an uphill civil fight. The amount of money he will actually retain is likely to be minimal after all of the legal battles he still has in store for himself.
Meanwhile, both Darren Wilson and the Berkeley officer have been forced to go into hiding due to threats of violence against them and their families. As we receive word that a St. Louis City officer was forced to defend himself last night from a criminal with an automatic pistol, and the FTB cries for more blood once again, it’s clear how insane the St. Louis Region has become. If this is considered a reward, you can keep it.
At least we’re now past trying to pretend the looting in Ferguson was small scale.
I’m going to be instituting a concept of online etiquette known as Winston’s Law (related to Godwin’s Law) which will apply if the following two criteria are met:
- When discussing officer involved shootings, the chance that someone will reference the discredited statistic that “1 black male is shot by the police every 28 hours” increases exponentially. AND
- The first individual to bring this discredited statistic up as fact automatically loses the argument.