Media meddling muddles public understanding

U-News Staff

Only those Americans living serenely in the town of Underrock in upstate New York remain blithely unaware of the recent social (and political) upheaval in Ferguson, Mo., but not a one of them would go on record when this reporter candidly asked them, “WTF?” It now falls upon my humble auspices to segregate the W from the TF and try to sort some sense out of this sordid soiree.
These are the facts. Per my mantra, please stand by for station identification and a poignant “however” in the last paragraph.
Fact: An 18-year old unarmed black man was shot by a cop in an outskirt of St. Louis, Mo.
Fact: His name was Michael Brown, and he now has six holes in an area of his body that was recently, decidedly hole-free.
Fact: The officer, Darren Wilson, was dutifully keeping an eye out on the streets when an alleged convenience store robber (Brown) knocked his eye out. Wilson fired, ejecting one round from inside his cruiser and the other five in the general vicinity of Brown’s now-dead body. Mayhem ensued, and there was much rejoicing.
I shall now deploy the acronym ASF, a sound rejoinder depicting what I call “Absurdly Stupid Facts.”
ASF-1: Brown was not, no matter what Al Sharpton might say, a boy. Towering at 6’5” and weighing in at (rough estimate) 300lbs, Brown stole a box of cigars and pushed a convenience store clerk to the floor minutes before encountering Officer Wilson.
ASF-2: Officer Wilson, of Castaway volleyball fame, was an officer of the line, meaning his police cruiser and his person came fully loaded with all the bells and whistles, including, but not limited to: radio, shotgun, handcuffs, handcuff key, McDonald’s Monopoly game card for free fries, Taser, mag wheels, bobble-headed/dash-mounted hula girl and Taser. None of these non-lethal weapons were employed.
Instead, Officer Wilson applied lightning reflexes and wicked slick street smarts and fired indiscriminately six times in the general vicinity of the nearest black man, wounding, but not killing, two street lights, one mailbox, a box of Cheerios that are mentioned only for the product placement royalties now due to yours truly and two butterflies who were circling harmlessly over a river of hot taffy that marks the racial mote separating Ferguson from the rest of Missouri.
Let’s face the facts, absurdly and ignorantly, we’ve been had. A terrific crisis has now gone to waste for the home team, meaning We the People, because the ball was snatched mid-court by Them the Nimrods. St. Louis County Police Chief, Jon Belmar, waited six days before making mention of Brown’s caught-on-surveillance accosting of the store clerk, marking him as a suspect. That his shooting (Brown’s, not Belmar’s) came within minutes of the store cigar robbery means the cops knew something was afoot, which is why a confrontation with Cartman-like authori-tah immediately ensued. Pity that Officer Wilson’s cruiser dashcam chose this moment to tune into reruns of Wheel of Fortune instead of recording a confrontation that turned conflagration, but hey. Technology. What can you do?
That Chief Belmar sat on facts pertinent to this case while Rome burned tells me everything I need to know. That our beloved Federales unleashed 40 FBI agents to bring order out of this chaos and the big money media chimed in to exacerbate this crisis by sacrificing integrity on the altar of ratings tells me even more.
Stealing cigars is wrong. Using lethal force when non-lethal is readily available and a product of your training? Wrong. Burning the private property of innocent bystanders –wrong. Rushing to protest before the facts are known, using tear gas as a response to citizen activism – both wrong.
However, our pressing problem is not the brutalization of truth in this matter, or even the grievous errors by all involved from Brown to Belmar to Wilson to Gov. Nixon. We’re looking at the universal militarization of our civilian police forces right before our eyes, or in Wilson’s case, our eye.
Cops talk, or at least they used to, while soldiers fire before piously letting God sort them out. Fewer arrests, injuries and fatalities would have been added to posterity if our boys in blue would stop wearing black –at least until after Labor Day. Sticks and stones and rubber bullet-firing drones may break my bones, but words can only free me .