One positive note before the negative: Wife of St. Louis Cardinal’s owner, Ira Dewitt, has volunteered to pay for Jamyla Bolden’s funeral. This action has drawn the scorn of some BLM related groups who apparently wanted to take credit for this fundraising.
The Ferguson Twitter Brigade has always asserted that “Black” lives instead of “All” lives matter is a necessary distinction in today’s society due to a cultural devaluation of persons of color. Opponents of “Black Lives Matter” (BLM from here on out) have been quick to bring up the somewhat improper but oft cited “Black on Black” crime.
“Black on Black crime” is not an adequate counter to the BLM philosophy because in terms of proportionality statistics, suspect race vs. victim race, Black murderers kill Black victims at a similar rate to white murderers in reference to White victims. The contrast is in the sheer number of those victims which the suspect-to-victim comparison statistic conceals. Unfortunately, references to racial makeup of homicide suspects is typically used to derive implications about entire races, and it should go without saying that MURDERERS OF ANY RACE ARE NOT A REPRESENTATIVE SAMPLE OF THAT RACE.
Victims on the other hand constitute a greater cross section of the population indicative of all walks of life and circumstances. According to FBI data from 2013, there were:
- 6261 Black homicide victims (51.1%)
- 5537 White homicide victims (45.2%)
- 308 Other (2.5%)
- 137 Unknown (1.2%)
- 12,253 Total
Note: Statistical errors exclude Hispanic victims into either Black or White categories. The FBI has separate data for Hispanic victims where a further breakdown is available in submitted UCR (Uniform Crime Report) data.
This data is particularly troubling given that Whites constitute 77.7% of the population and Blacks respectively only constitute 13.2% of the population and yet make up nearly 50% of homicide victims. However, what continues to be head scratching is the willful insistence by the BLM movement, most egregiously in the St. Louis area, to continually fixate on not only black deaths primarily at the hands of white police, but deaths resulting from dangerous encounters with violent suspects by police.
A refrain of “but other victims are protested too” can already be heard from somewhere in the distance. However, no one can honestly argue that any such protest or prayer vigil, such as the “We Must Stop Killing Each Other” campaign, is in any way comparable to the months of unrest, corresponding violence and vitriol associated with the death of Michael Brown (Ferguson), the death of VonDeritt Myers (St. Louis City), or the death of Antonio Martin (Berkeley).
In a slightly off-topic, yet related story, a few nights ago, a man got into an argument in Berkeley repeating the notion that “We must stop killing each other.” This infuriated an irony-immune gunman who started shooting and chased the first individual all the way to the Bel-Ridge Police Station where he finally put a bullet in an upper level window of the building before speeding off. Our local Pulitzer Prize winning news paper was apparently AWOL on this one.
Anyway, one could argue that in the immediate aftermath of the confusion surrounding the Michael Brown shooting and the utter failure to properly release/clarify information, that the social climate of the moment gave rise to a hyper vigilance when it came to community allegations of police misconduct. However, months of record breaking homicide totals throughout the city and county without a proportional response from the BLM movement would seem to contradict such an assertion. In this region the focus of BLM protests is on violent suspects who are shot by police, either in the furtherance of a crime or through tragic suicidal decision making.
The final nail in the coffin to the notion that BLM is truly focused on reconstituting community value in Black Lives, is the recent cases of same day incidents:
On 8/9/2015, the one year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death, Tyrone Harris (an individual already with a pending gun case) got into a gun battle with other protesters and then shot up an unmarked, but red & blue light running, police car who responded to stop him. Meanwhile, two teenagers were shot in the chest on Canfield by unknown gunmen while standing next to the Michael Brown memorial. There is no evidence that they were doing anything wrong, while Tyrone Harris becomes a hashtag, a sign of divine infallibility to this movement.
Today, on 08/19/2015, the one year anniversary of Kajime Powell’s death, St. Louis City Police executed a search warrant in an area near where a Tuskegee Airman was recently robbed twice in a single incident. This Officer Involved Shooting is still very recent, but rumors indicate that one gunman was shot and killed by police, while a second was shot and injured. Already crowds have begun gathering with the usual vitriol and lacking the usual care/consideration for facts. Meanwhile, in Ferguson, a NINE-YEAR-OLD LITTLE GIRL, named Jamyla Bolden, was shot to death. Her mother was also shot, but was only struck in the leg and is expected to survive. Jamyla and her mother evidently don’t warrant protests because their lives have been devalued below that of an armed gunman.
Similarly, during the Post-Grand Jury Riots, on 11/24/2014, DeAndre Joshua was shot in the head and set on fire in his car on Canfield. However, Michael Brown’s name continues to be a call to “Fight Back” and most people in BLM couldn’t even tell you who DeAndre was. Those who can are far too busy focusing on others. While present for the sporadic unrest since the Grand Jury, I have NEVER heard DeAndre‘s name mentioned by BLM protesters. He has no chant. He has no voice.
The reason why BLM lacks credibility is not because Michael Brown, Kajime Powell, VonDeritt Myers, or Antonio Martin deserved to die. What someone deserves has no bearing on whether or not they constitute a threat to another human being at the time of their death. BLM lacks credibility because #MikeBrown, #KajimePowell, #VonderittMyers, and #AntonioMartin are household names to a subset of groups claiming to want to restore value in the lives of our Black brothers and sisters but DeAndre Joshua and Jamyla Bolden aren’t valued above the other patron saints since they didn’t threaten the lives of police officers.
A couple of other things:
-I wish I could talk more about the night of 8/9/15 but unfortunately, my assignment that night was quite a bit more specialized so talking about it in depth while maintaining my anonymity is probably impossible.
-St. Louis County is being forced to investigate one of their officers in reference to a Facebook post he made about taking his wife to a bread&breakfast with overtime money earned during the protester labeled “Mike Brown Anniversary Weekend.” That is literally the extent of his accused wrongdoing. Show of hands, how many people would be investigated by their employer for making a Facebook post about taking their spouse to a B&B with legally obtained overtime?
The fact that said overtime was gained policing Ferguson during a time period when three people were shot, and many more were shot at including officers, is more justification, not less, to use one’s time off and overtime unwinding with a loved one. Though attrition throughout all North St. Louis County policing agencies is at all time highs, the County alone has supposedly been averaging 5 resignations a pay period. Those that remain make no qualms about discussing the fact that morale is in the tank and with stories like this appearing in the national news, it’s no wonder why.
-The good news of the moment is that the unrest seems to have subsided once again. Other serious problems remain, but short of another officer involved shooting we seem to be out of the woods, riot wise. The violent crime situation is another story…
Gunmen got into a shootout with each other which eventually brought them into contact with plainclothes detectives. At least one of the gunmen opened fire on detectives striking their vehicle and causing the police to return fire.
Crowds had already started to get out of control before this point, looting at least one business during the thunderstorm that rolled through earlier in the night. After the officer involved shooting, the crowds became even more violent injuring at least one officer with thrown debris. Tear gas was eventually deployed and the streets cleared out.
Oh yeah, and one other thing: Two more people were shot on Canfield later in the night, but the media seems to have missed out on that. I watched both parties get put onto respective ambulances.
Mental yoga has already commenced on Twitter as the usual suspects bend and contort to find a way, ANY way, to blame us for the events discussed above.
A year ago, my life and the lives of most people in North St. Louis County changed. Anger in its rawest form manifested itself in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown by Darren Wilson. Back then, we knew so little about what transpired in Canfield Green, and yet a hundred conclusions were reached in under twenty-four hours. Unfortunately, a determination to accept only the worst case scenario, that a racist white policeman murdered a promising young black college bound youth in his prime, became almost instantly ingrained. The consequence of that narrative is still a reality we continue to face today in spite of factual clarifications that nullify the stories of the early days.
-We now know that Michael Brown committed a strong arm robbery prior to the altercation in Canfield Green.
-We now know that Darren Wilson was aware of the robbery and had a physical description matching what Michael Brown was wearing at the time of his death.
-We now know that blood evidence confirms that Michael Brown was inside Darren Wilson’s car and advanced at least twenty feet toward Darren Wilson at the time of the final gunshots.
-We now know that many of the early stories were based on lies, with a few of the inventors coming clean to the FBI and other detectives while citing community threats and pressure to condemn Wilson.
-We now know that eight witnesses came forward confirming Darren Wilson’s account, and many of whom expressed a similar fear of reprisal.
What transpired between Michael Brown and Darren Wilson on this day, last year, is an event that when considered by St. Louis County Police, the St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office, the FBI, The Civil Rights Division of the DOJ, and an independent Grand Jury matching the racial demographics of St. Louis County, all came to the same conclusion: That based upon the available facts it was reasonable for Darren Wilson to be in fear of death or serious bodily injury from Michael Brown. Based upon this conclusion, the shooting was deemed to be justified.
Unfortunately, every step in this process has been discounted by a steadily growing movement of protesters who seem to have never heard of the term “confirmation bias.” When the robbery video was initially released by Ferguson Police, it was deemed to be irrelevant and an attempt at assassinating Mike Brown’s character. When the Grand Jury found that there was not sufficient evidence to reach the minimal level of probable cause to warrant an indictment, it was deemed that the Grand Jury was swayed by improper procedures on the part of the prosecutor (as if rioting and direct threats of more rioting hadn’t been cause to alter discretionary procedure). When the DOJ, operating under a black Attorney General, appointed by a Black President, came to the exact same conclusion as the Grand Jury, we were told that the unrest in Ferguson never really had anything to do with Mike Brown but other systemic problems. The goal posts had shifted again.
Now, a year later, protesters have once again converged on Ferguson, Missouri, not seeking an end to revenue based policing practices, but looking for justice in the case of Michael Brown. Peaceful protests as defined by the media continue with such chants as “Pigs in a blanket, fry em’ like bacon” and “Guns up, shoot back.” What peaceful message is supposed to be derived from a decapitated pigs head being placed on a concrete median in front of a police station?
Friday Night, protesters threw bottles at a tow truck and tried to pull the driver out of the truck after he released the car on his flat bed and started to drive away. Gunshots were fired on W. Florissant.
Saturday Night, a person was shot near the parking lot of McDonalds at Ferguson Ave. and W. Florissant. Then an unmarked Florissant Police car had its rear window shot out. A short ways down the road, a person was shot to death and another wounded in their vehicle on I-170.
For every positive change to come out of the unrest in Ferguson, like Senate Bill 5, we seem to have more officers and citizens targeted by violent criminals whose behavior has worsened to levels not seen in decades. Tonight is the anniversary of a lot of things, but for me personally, it was the start of bad times to come. Since last year, I’ve been to the scenes of seven people shot. To be fair, two of those scenes had more than one victim, but that doesn’t make for much consolation.
And what will the world look like tomorrow?
There is a lot of talk about the anniversary of Mike Brown’s death possibly stirring up renewed unrest/rioting. At this point, my opinion is that the chances are about 50/50. Protests will occur, but whether or not they descend into a repeat of this time last year is not clear.
It’s entirely plausible that scheduled protests will be more consistent with what was seen during the Ferguson October event last year. Had Vonderitt Myers not gotten himself shot earlier that week, nothing probably would have happened during the weekend.
One of the things I’ve learned since last year is the difference between those on the street willing to start fires and shoot at police, and those posers who want to derive power by implied (and in some cases explicit) association. The latter were in charge of Ferguson October. They may be in charge of the scheduled events for the anniversary.
The problem is that Ferguson and North County as a whole are not safe places these days, as they haven’t been for many years. Distractions allow for more violent people to come out of the shadows and kickstart riots all while those responsible for the distractions give cause, endorsement, and protection to the violence.
With that said, as soon as there is another Officer Involved Shooting (OIS) in North County involving a white cop and a black suspect, justified or not, bad things will happen. If there is any question about the circumstances, or God forbid, a shooting is legitimately unjustified, riots are a certainty.