Yesterday, I saw someone ask supporters of Darren Wilson sarcastically if there was ever a time in their mind that the shooting of an unarmed person was unjustified. In answer to that rhetorical question, there are plenty of cases where shooting an unarmed person is unjustified and I will discuss a few scenarios to that effect. Also, for the record, while I’m going to answer this question, I don’t exactly consider myself a Darren Wilson supporter, not because I think Mike Brown is innocent, not because I think that Darren Wilson is innocent, but because I don’t feel that I have enough facts at this point.
I’ve seen a surge in views and comments over the last several days, most positive, but some of them negative. Most of the new responses have been directed at the post, “I’m Sick Of.” That post was largely just a collection of random heartfelt musings I had one night. It was not intended to have received quite the attention that it has in the last week, particularly when compared to other posts like “Dissonance” and “Bloody Sunday” which I feel are not only stronger posts but also much more important.
The picture above is a still image of the arson that took place at the QuikTrip on W. Florissant in Ferguson, MO. I’ve discussed the story of why QuikTrip was specifically targeted before, but it’s so important to the nature of the conflict in Ferguson that I’ll tell it again. On 08/10/2014, a rumor was spread throughout the community. The story was that employees of the QuikTrip called the police due to Mike Brown shoplifting cigarillos. The response to this rumor can be seen immediately below:
Pictured above is a looter present in the QuikTrip on W. Florissant before it was burned down. I showed a number of officers this picture and less than half were able to identify the handgun in this man’s waistband before the image was zoomed in. This is the world in which we work.
Understanding an officer related shooting is an issue central to the Darren Wilson / Mike Brown shooting and when I delve into that specific topic soon, discussing use of force and the parts of a justified shooting will save me a lot of time.
The above image is a still image of the beating of Rodney King. The ramifications of this event are still regularly referenced and felt throughout policing. For the purposes of this discussion, I want to bring up the issue of Rodney King as evidence that police can overreact, can use bad judgment, and can be capable of great harm. Obviously, I don’t feel that this is a fair characterization of all officers, or even most in general, but it is important to fairly admit when mistakes are made. Objectivity demands it. Similarly, the issue of police militarization is a real and important topic. For those wondering, this topic will tie back in to what’s going on in Ferguson.