Diary

A Ferguson Thought Experiment: Please play along

We know Michael Brown, a huge guy, roughed up a convenience store owner to steal some trivial merchandise from him, and at least bodily threatened to attack him again and seriously hurt him. That much was caught on video.

In addition to that, imagine all of the following were also recorded with clear video and audio and any other relevant evidence:

Officer Wilson is informed of the crime and provided a description that fits Michael Brown.

Officer Wilson sees Michael Brown walking down the middle of a street, causing some disruption of traffic. Wilson asks Brown to walk on the sidewalk and Brown replies “F**k what you have to say” and continues walking down the middle of the street.

Wilson recognizes Brown from the description. He approaches Brown again in his vehicle and verbally engages Brown again while still in his police vehicle. Brown viciously attacks Wilson, punching him hard in the face repeatedly as Wilson is still seated in the vehicle.

Wilson (whose non-firearm means of force probably would not have been sufficiently safe and effective to use)  raises his gun and warns Brown, but Brown tells Wilson he’s “too much of a p***y to shoot” him, and grabs the gun, trying to take it from Wilson and trying to point it at Wilson, presumably to shoot Wilson.

Wilson fires the gun, inflicting some injury to Brown’s hand. Brown runs, then stops, and, with Wilson now out of his vehicle, charges Wilson.

Wilson fires. Brown briefly stops, then charges again. Wilson fires, killing Brown when Brown is within around 10 feet away.

OK, folks, so here’s the question: If we had clear evidence of all of the above…

1. Would anyone screaming for Wilson’s indictment (or screaming now that the lack of indictment is some sort of outrage) be taken seriously by even remotely serious people?

2. Would anyone claiming that this incident shows the need for major changes in the Ferguson police department composition, practices, etc., be taken seriously by even remotely serious people?

3. Would serious people be severely criticizing others who aren’t “mourning” the loss of Michael Brown? See http://www.redstate.com/2014/11/26/white-people-ferguson-empathy/ and http://www.redstate.com/2014/11/26/white-people-ferguson-empathy/#comment-1714815890

4. If there were riots and looting in response to lack of an indictment of Wilson, would anyone serious implore others not to be empathetic and understanding, considering a history of injustice against African-Americans up to some point in our history? (See same two links as for #3 above.)

5. Would any serious people respect the president of the United States sending the attorney general to meet with the violent, thieving, cop-attacker’s parents and others in “the community,” and to speak as if justice were threatened in this case?

6. Would the parents of this violent criminal who was killed in self-defense by the police officer he was attacking (again) be invited to speak before “the United Nations Committee Against Torture — which also works against cruel or degrading treatment or punishment by government authorities.” http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/11/us/ferguson-brown-parents-u-n-/

I could go on with more such questions, but instead I’ll turn to the point that, as far as we know based on available evidence, testimony, and whatever judgment we wish to apply, it is at least quite possible that the incident transpired exactly as described above, and we have no reasonable basis for confidently suspecting otherwise. So, regarding my questions #1 – #4 above, why do we see behavior in reality that is the opposite of what the answers to those questions in my (probably not-so) hypothetical scenario? If we have no basis for suspecting (even in a “probable cause” sense) that Wilson did anything even inappropriate (let alone criminal), or even that his doing less at each point in the incident would have been irresponsible for a police officer, then why shouldn’t the answers be the same in reality as in my hypothetical?