Case Studies

jamyla boldenNine Year-Old, Jamyla Bolden, shot to death in Ferguson last night.

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.

https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/expanded-homicide/expanded_homicide_data_table_2_murder_victims_by_age_sex_and_race_2013.xls


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.

WS

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Part 2

WSPart 2 of my 4 Part series is now available on Youtube.

https://dissonantwinstonsmith.wordpress.com/under-cover-of-darkness/


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.

WS

Under Cover of Darkness

https://dissonantwinstonsmith.wordpress.com/?page_id=1075&preview=true

This is a new four part documentary I’m making on Ferguson.  The first part is being released today 7/20/2015.  To those who watched my earlier attempt at this concept, this video (while titled the same) is different.

Part 1 deals with the unrest in August of 2014.  RELEASED

Part 2 will deal with the immediate political / sociological situation in the St. Louis Region, the unrest in September and finally the Grand Jury preparations.

Part 3 will deal with the Grand Jury Decision and Aftermath.

Part 4 will deal with everything since November.

An Unjustified Shooting

150407184426-north-charleston-officer-shooting-medium-plus-169http://edition.cnn.com/2015/04/07/us/south-carolina-officer-charged-murder/

The polls are now closed on the city council elections in Ferguson with results still a long way to go.  In the meantime, some video was just released showing an officer in South Carolina apparently murdering an unarmed man as he ran away from him.  Matters are made even more sickening by the officer apparently dropping a gun-shaped object near the body of the victim. Continue reading

Lexington vs. Ferguson

CBzZ2ZOUMAA-WSy.jpg largePictured above is a police officer in riot gear, wearing a plate carrier, and firing a pepperball gun at rioters in Lexington, KY, last night.  4-4 into 4-5-15.


Similar to the aftermath of the one-night Pumpkin riot in New Hampshire last fall, the Ferguson Twitter Brigade has been on a tangent today trying to contrast the tactics and media coverage of police in Lexington, KY responding to post basketball riots, with that of Ferguson.  A few of their specific claims include:

  • 1.) That chemical munitions were not used.
  • 2.) That rioters were not arrested.
  • 3.) That the media is refusing to call the events “riots” but other more forgiving terms.

Continue reading

Missing Demographics

mcdhttp://www.forbes.com/sites/modeledbehavior/2015/03/18/half-of-fergusons-young-african-american-men-are-missing/

A recent article in Forbes alleges that there is a significant minority demographic missing from census data, which is consequently being used to figure disparity statistics and is also the basis for the Department of Justice’s allegations of racism against the Ferguson Police Department. Despite the fact that disparity is not itself proof of racial bias, it turns out that the figures in question are not even accurate. Continue reading

An Update

previewOn the Ferguson front, not much is going on.  There have been protests every so often, but all have lacked the size and teeth that the protests from months prior possessed.  This reality gives further credence to the issue oft discussed on this blog that the only reason that anyone really paid attention to Ferguson was because of the violence back in August, as well as the implied or explicit threat by protesters of further violence.  As time goes on without anymore rioting, all that seems to remain is a loose conglomerate of organizations who frequently bark but apparently lack the ability to bite.

With that said, crime continues to be a very serious problem throughout the city and the county.  I have heard the phrase “emboldened criminal element” more times than I would like.  However, I think there is something much more insidious at play in the continued regional rise in violent crime.

I discussed the criminological theory of “strain theory” in an earlier post.  Without recreating another higher-brow academic snore-fest, strain theory basically explains that individuals commit crime due to the sum of stressors in one’s life that eventually lead one to justify various degrees of crime.  Usually strain theory is discussed from a perspective that the stressors are legitimate.

However, that need not be the case.  Perceived stressors can be just as poignant.  For example, if you’re a young black male living in the city of St. Louis and you’re constantly informed that the white racist police are always looking for a way of satiating an omnipresent blood lust, at some point, you might actually start to believe it if you’re told it’s true enough times by enough people and enough different outlets.

Accepting that notion as true, regardless of the objective or statistical reality, would make it easy for anyone to justify crimes committed against the establishment they blame for their perceived terrible situation.  Furthermore, when those crimes are not considered crimes at all but “resistance” there is no crisis of conscience whatsoever.  In other words, in my opinion, the narrative that has been spread since August (though admittedly before that as well to a lesser extent) is directly responsible for the uptick in violent crime.  The fact that officers are holding back for fear of becoming the next Darren Wilson is just the icing on the cake.  It is another symptom of a problem instead of the cancer that lingers beyond our view.


A few topics I intend to discuss in the coming weeks:

1.) Municipal Court reform

2.) Municipal Government / Policing reform

3.) Post-Ferguson Police Training Needs

  • Use of Force Policy
  • Organization Redistribution
  • Defensive Tactics and Police Attitudes

4.) The silly less-lethal pistol attachment apparently being tested by the Ferguson PD.


 

Work continues on the novel.  A rough draft is complete.  All that remains is plot / typo tinkering on my end.  Then it’s off to the editor.

As it stands, the plan is to release the book as an ebook on this blog for free in four chronological segments.  Once the final segment is released, the entire book will be released in one ebook.  The blog will be attached to a paypal account where people can pay what they would like, if anything.  Half of the money raised will be donated to BackStoppers, the St. Louis based charity that donates money to the families of first responders who die in the line of duty.

In case anyone missed my preview a few months ago:
https://dissonantwinstonsmith.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/preview/

Priorities

B3RKkjLCMAAtW-i.jpg largeThe situation in Ferguson has calmed dramatically since Monday.  There are still protests, but without the active threat of pending violence that the demonstrators have taken advantage of for months, their complaints seem much more inconsequential.  Tempers have not cooled and the inevitable departure of the National Guard will be the test to see if we have achieved any modicum of lasting peace.  I’m personally skeptical, but don’t mind if in the meantime people want to lay on the floor of shopping malls or peacefully picket in front of Ferguson PD because they’re too afraid to step things up again like they did on Monday. Continue reading

A Community Implodes

20141125_ferg12 I was supposed to have Sunday (11/23) and Monday (11/24) off so naturally when Monday morning rolled around, I wasn’t able to sleep very well. Perpetual midnights has a tendency to make establishing a sleep pattern difficult, particularly if you deviate from that pattern on your days off. So I only slept for about three hours Monday morning and was awake by about eleven AM. After all, since I had the night off, I knew that I could go back to sleep for a few more hours later. Instead of sleep, I opted to go run some errands instead. Continue reading