The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

My Official #Ferguson Commentary

Posted on | August 18, 2014 | 94 Comments

Stop watching cable TV news.

If that commentary sounds familiar to regular readers, it’s because that’s what I said about the Trayvon Martin case. The 2012 Florida shooting controversy dominated headlines for weeks and months, and I don’t remember saying anything else about it until there was a verdict in the George Zimmerman trial: Not guilty.

Here’s the thing: Stories like this happen all the time.

People get shot to death on a daily basis in America, and if I was required to express an opinion every time somebody died in a shooting, I’d never have time to comment on anything else. The only reason that the Aug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has become The Biggest Story in History of the Whole Freaking World is that (a) Brown was black, and (b) the cop who shot him was white.

That’s it — the whole story.

Criminal suspects getting shot by cops isn’t really unusual. Brown was unarmed, but the policeman who shot him — identified as Darren Wilson — didn’t know that. There was a robbery, and Brown matched the description of a suspect. I don’t know the details of Brown’s encounter with Officer Wilson, and can’t say why he drew his gun and fired. If you forced me to speculate, I’d guess that Officer Wilson believed Brown might be armed, and that Brown made a sudden move that caused Officer Wilson to believe Brown might be reaching for a gun, at which point Officer Wilson made a split-second decision that turned out to be completely wrong. But that’s just speculation, as is nearly 100% of what idiots have been saying about this story.

It was widely claimed, for example, that Brown was shot in the back. Now, after days of rioting that led the governor of Missouri to call out the National Guard to keep the peace, we are told by the Washington Post that Brown was shot in the front — he was shot six times, which seems excessive, but he wasn’t shot in the back. Also, they say, an autopsy found marijuana in Brown’s system.

But that’s the Washington Post reporting that, and I make it a policy never to believe a damned word the Washington Post prints.

Some people seem to think that just because cable TV news is covering a story wall-to-wall, they are obliged to blog about it.

How many people got shot to death in Chicago this past weekend? I don’t know, but I’m going to guess it’s probably more people than the Ferguson, Missouri, police have shot to death in the past five years. (OK, I just Googled it: 7 dead, 29 wounded in Chicago last weekend, including 16-year-old Shaquise Buckner. For killing black kids, the Ferguson police can’t ever hope to rival Chicago.)

When a story like Michael Brown’s death makes national news, it’s because the media decided there’s some kind of Social Justice angle. Matthew Shepard was a story like that, and it took years for people to admit it wasn’t really about “homophobia.”

Cops shooting unarmed suspects is bad. Looting is bad, too. The media, and certain bloggers, seems to have decided that this case deserves to be tried on cable TV news shows. Because we don’t have courts or anything like that in this country, I guess.

So there’s my Official Commentary: Stop watching cable TV news. But if you find a lesbian feminist angle to this story, let me know.



  • Quartermaster

    Please! Some warning next time before you post that pic.

  • Quartermaster

    It’s looking more and more like the killing was justified. Two autopsies so far agree, he was not shot in the back as “eye witnesses” claim.

  • Quartermaster

    I don’t know where you get your info, but the “drug deal gone bad” was never discredited as to the motive for Shepard’s killing. I never heard the relationship angle, but even if true is irrelevant.
    Also, it appears that the cop didn’t know, at first, about the robbery. He apparently found out just before the confrontation that led to the killing.

  • Quartermaster

    Hey. No one made you move to Hondo. You shoulda discussed with me first and I coulda warned you about it. Garner State Park is a nice place to cool off, though.

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  • richard mcenroe

    I got no problem with the heat, per se. It keeps the other Californians away. Right now it’s 8:30 in the morning and pitch black because we are getting an awesome rainstorm. The lightning last night was magnificent.

  • submandave

    While the shooting itself may not be a legitimate cause for outrage, I believe the real root cause for the anger is the feeling in the community that regardless of the propriety of the action the officer will still have a near 100% of being justified by any investigation done. If the community had confidence that the investigation of the officer would be fair and impartial this wouldn’t be as much of a story. Unfortunately, experience seems to bear out this expectation of a finger being placed on the scales when a police officer is involved.

    This, however, is not exclusively a black issue, as it is my feeling that we read of more and more cases of cops killing unarmed folks, often those already in custody, of all races, and usually walking away from it with little more than having had a paid suspension (what a punishment that is). Unfortunately, since the real issue isn’t racial and can’t be stoked for political purposes we will likely hear nothing of it.

  • Jeanette Victoria
  • Dana

    Mr Avenue’s comment sounds very much like those concerning the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, in which the base fact — Mr Zimmerman shot and killed an unarmed black man — does not tell enough of the story to give the reader the truth. t turned out that Mr Martin attacked and injured Mr Zimmerman, and had hm on the ground, pounding on him, when Mr Zimmerman finally pulled out his weapon and changed the outcome of the fight.

    Did Officer Wilson face a similar situation? That’s the claim, which is uncorroborated. Our host is correct: speculation without information is no way to arrive at a responsible judgement.

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  • submandave

    This was one of the incidents I was thinking about, as well as the constructive end toward which the outrage was directed. Personally, I’d support a law that required all officers who kill a suspect to be charges with Unjustified Homicide. If it was a clean action then that will come out in trial, but the guarantee that the officer will have to face a jury to justify his actions will both place confidence in the community that the process will be fair as well as making the officer more thoughtful before making deadly force the default go-to option.

  • The Osprey

    Especially if it’s a lesbian feminist angle that involves a massive ’70’s style ‘fro. ‘Cause nothin says “Stickin’ it to the Man” with style like a ’70’s ‘fro. Just ask Eric Holder.

  • The Osprey

    Neither of them has a ’70’s ‘fro, though.

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  • Dana

    What, they don’t have a picture of him as an innocent 13 year old to use?

  • Quartermaster

    We used to go out and play in the heavy rain. More fun than a swimming pool. We could have gone to the pool over on Lackland, but would play in the rain when the opportunity presented itself.
    Anything to keep the Kalifornios away.
    Garner is a nice place in the Hill country though.

  • Anony

    “If you forced me to speculate, I’d guess that Officer Wilson believed Brown might be armed, and that Brown made a sudden move that caused Officer Wilson to believe Brown might be reaching for a gun,”

    I doubt this. Pretty much every account we have – the friend, the bystanders, the cops – describe grappling for the cop’s gun inside his vehicle during the initial confrontation. The gun apparently was fired during this, inside the vehicle.

    You can’t really stress this enough; after that point, this guy had already arguably tried to kill the officer. Not “moved furtively”, or “moved suddenly”; when you try to seize someone’s gun, it’s assumed you’re trying to kill them.

    There is not a jurisdiction in the US where that officer wouldn’t have a reasonable chance at articulating shooting that guy in the back as a good shoot. Instead he decided to go a few rungs down on the force continuum and tried verbal commands. There is no need for any “sudden movement” there – you obey the commands, or you get shot. It doesn’t matter if you’re armed or not, or if you have your hands up – the 21 foot rule is no joke when facing someone who has just shown that they’re willing to attempt to do you great harm.

    The outrage from the community stems from the fact that they don’t understand that you can’t simply assault someone, try to grab their gun, then run off and take a mulligan. This is a simple combination of racism, childishness, and magical thinking.

  • CPAguy

    I’m no expert, and if you read my comments they are very balanced.

    Cops get in fights and confrontations with people all the time without killing them.

    I’m not sure when the death penalty was instituted for petty theft and fighting. I’m not sure where in the police manual it says that suspects should be subdued with an entire round of ammo.

    This is an interesting, but largely unimportant issue.

    The kid was certainly stupid, and it looks like the cop was too.

    If both parties would have done things a bit differently, none of this would have happened.

    What punishment should be handed out, if any, can only be determined once everything dies down.

  • CPAguy

    He was a couple dozen feet away from him, evidently.

    The witnesses say that the cop reached out to Brown when he pulled his car up in front with him. This caused a bit of a scuffle (given that the cop was in his car, I’d guess that Brown hit him once or twice in the head).

    Brown ran off and the cop, obviously mad, appears to have started shooting at him from behind, but missed.

    Brown laughs at the cop and heads in his direction and then gets hit with 6 shots.

  • CPAguy

    Sure, the cops position will certainly be bolstered if Brown’s fingerprints are on his gun.

    But if we are going to be utilizing conjecture, that just seems a bit out there. How does Brown physically reach the cop’s gun when the cop is seated?

    Why would Brown do that?

    I could only imagine that happening if the cop drew his gun on Brown for jaywalking…

  • Jeanette Victoria

    BREAKING REPORT: Officer Darren Wilson Suffered “Orbital Blowout Fracture to Eye Socket” During Mike Brown Attack

  • Proof

    Oh. So he TRIED to shoot him in the back and MISSED? Color me skeptical.

  • Jeanette Victoria

    Progressives full hate from the Democratic underground

  • David R. Graham

    Thanks. Obviously, I am educated-guessing it was a 9mm handgun because that seems to be common still among PDs. Also, a heavier caliber or energy weapon, in equally competent hands, likely would have produced a take down with fewer rounds. More speculation. And the issue, as Quartermaster mentions below, is stopping power. That is what a LEO or Soldier wants. If the magazine was emptied — assuming standard ten rounds of 9mm — then six in the target anywhere in high-emotion condition is, I would say, rather good shooting. I doubt I could do that well. One has to be calm to shoot accurately, even at close range. That is a blessing professional Soldiers and Police have, thankfully.

    The 357 Magnum round was invented by Smith and Wesson to give police more stopping power without having to adopt the 45 Auto (often wrongly called 45 ACP, which is the semi-auto pistol chambered in 45 Auto) round. The 45 Auto and 357 Magnum rounds and handguns to fire them are significantly heavier than the 38 Special round and weapon. Also, without an extended magazine, the 45 ACP handgun is limited to 7 rounds per weapon, a potentially lethal limitation.

    9mm Luger was a compromise between a semi-auto’s magazine capacity (7 or 10 or more) and a 45 ACPs weight and a 38 Special or 357 Magnum revolver’s six round cylinder limit.

    The 40 S&W semi-auto pistol at 10 or more rounds per magazine adds stopping power to the just-mentioned compromise. However, the revolver-type handgun, in general, is less liable to mechanical mishap (jamming) than is its semi-auto pistol-type sibling.

    Not irrelevant: the Philippine Insurrection, for which the US Army ordered what became the justly famous and long-loved Colt 1911 45 ACP chambered in 45 Auto, was largely a Moro Insurrection and Moros were/are Caliphists. They were hopped up, as are their modern compatriots, on drugs and then sent against US lines of battle. The 38 Special round, as Quartermaster says, did not stop them. The reason: they were too high on drugs to feel pain and just kept charging despite lethal wounds. AQ did this in Iraq when they sent car bombers (whom they also tied to the steering wheel to make sure they did their stuff) and vest bombers at US posts: jack them up on drugs

    This war with Caliphists, who hate USA, is very old. Tommy Jefferson sent US Navy and Marines to conduct it, with local success, in North Africa. They beg for a chance to be subjected to unconditional surrender and one day, I know not when, they will have their wish.

  • maniakmedic

    It’s certainly looking that way. I can’t say I’m surprised, either. Should I denounce myself forthwith?

  • maniakmedic

    In Utah, the law states that one can use deadly force in the event of a forcible felony. By Utah’s laws, if this guy was rushing anybody – not just a cop, ANYBODY – that person would be well within their rights to shoot him and keep shooting until he was no longer a threat (i.e. in forward motion) because his actions would be construed by the person he’s running at as constituting a threat of serious bodily harm or death (especially given his size). I can’t say I’ve ever know a criminal to rush a police officer to give them a hug. I have no idea how Missouri’s laws are written, so I have no idea how it would play there for a civilian or a cop.

    The point is, an unarmed person flying at you can absolutely be a deadly threat and one would absolutely be wise to act accordingly. If that means shooting his dumb ass when he’s still 10+ feet from you, you shoot. Otherwise you could be the one on the slab.

  • Quartermaster

    Since you noticed, either you denounce yourself or report for forcible re-education. Forthwith!

  • richard mcenroe

    They had a picture of him at 13. It looked kind of like Rosey Grier in his playing days.

  • richard40

    “Here’s the thing: Stories like this happen all the time.”
    True, but they only turn into riots and looting when the accused is white, the dead guy is black, and Al Sharpton gets involved, at which point i can also assume, with about a 90% probability, that the accused shooter is innocent.

  • richard40

    The story I heard was when the officer shot him, the physically large brown had already injured the officer, was know by the officer to be a likely robbery suspect, and was rushing toward the officer shouting obsenities and threats. That account is not yet confirmed, that is why you wait for the full investigation. But if true, we are not dealing with an innocent teen waiting peacefully with his hands up in the air.

  • richard40

    “Unfortunately, experience seems to bear out this expectation of a finger being placed on the scales when a police officer is involved.”
    Garbage. Once Sharpton and Holder get involved, if anything the investigation will be tilted against the accused cop. The dem Governor has pretty much already said he was gulty, despite there being zero verified facts at this stage.

    “Unfortunately, since the real issue isn’t racial and can’t be stoked for political purposes we will likely hear nothing of it.”
    Again wrong. The real issue should not be racial, but it is now, because Sharpton has made it racial, and stoked it to the max.

  • richard40

    You missed his point entirely. whites and hispanics get killed by cops too, but they wait for the investigation, which normally turns up the facts, and if the officer is guilty he gets punished. But the riots only happen if the victim is black, the accused is white, and Sharpton gets involved. And how many cases has Sharpton stoked up the riots where the accused was actually found guilty, once all the facts were known, almost zero. The guy is a disgusting race baiter, making his living on stoking racial hatred on mostly bogus cases, and I find him quite disgusting.

  • richard40

    Yes, and all too many of them will probably buy the con. Never have I seen any other group in the USA like black americans, where their leadership was so entirely corrupt, served those they led so poorly, and constantly fed them on bigotry and lies, while totally neglecting their real needs. At one time the black community had capable leaders like MLK, but those days are gone.

  • richard40

    When shot, he was already a known likely robbery suspect. Just before most of the shots were fired, he started a dozen feet away, then turned around, stated cussing and threatening the officer, then rushed toward him, at which point he was shot. That is the version I heard, probably not the version you heard. Finding out which version is true is why you wait for investigations, instead of rioting and looting.

  • richard40

    I suspect the arms raised in surrender story is questionable. in the account I heard, Brown (know by the cop then to be a likely violent robbery suspect) turned around, cussed at and threatened the cop, then charged him, before getting shot.

  • richard40

    You have no confirmed evidence for that. In reports I heard the cops did not know about the robbery when they asked Brown to leave the road. But they then came back once they got the robbery report, and realized that Brown might be a suspect. Of course my report may be false as well, that is why you need to wait for the investigation without looting and rioting, to sort out the truth.

  • richard40

    No, you dont know that, you just think you do. Reports I heard said the cops did not know he was a suspect when they told him to get of the road, but then they heard the report of the robbery, and realised Brown might be a suspect, which is why they came back to confront Brown. But the rest of your comment is indeed possible, and could be the reason why Brown might have cussed out, threatened, and rushed toward the cop.

  • CPAguy

    Yes, the death penalty to all petty thieves and ignorant bullies!

  • WasteNot

    Perfect. I didn’t say I knew anything. I don’t care what the police may have thought for my analysis. They may have thought that Brown was a suspect, they may have heard nothing. I only know what my eyes tell me; Brown was robbing a store owner and physically assaulting him moments before the events in the sidewalk lined street. I was young once. I did stupid stuff. I got adrenaline rushes. I know how long they persist. The import of the earlier robbery is the adrenaline rush and its possible effect on subsequent events. I don’t know whether it did. I don’t know whether it didn’t. But the fact of the robbery and the content of the video is relevant because it is crystal clear that Brown had an adrenaline rush event only a handful of minutes after the confrontation at the store.

  • submandave

    I agree with your general point that outside agitators who benefit financially and ego-wise will stir any available pot. I also agree that in this specific case the odds of a fair investigation and diminishing. However, I stand by my assertion that in general wrong doings committed by police officers are less likely to result in a finding of guilt or punishment than the same done by another. While this is not a problem exclusive to blacks, I do think the effects do fall disproportionately on the black community, but not because of racism but more because often these communities are poorer and have higher crime rates and, therefore, the police are more active there.

    Nonetheless, the problem of a criminal justice system that increasingly feels empowered to do whatever it wants whenever it wants and is too quick to use the easy tool of violence to enforce its will is real and needs to be addressed.

  • richard40

    Why on earth would you support crime penalties like that, you are entirely too vindictive. But if a criminal suspect first attacks and seriously injures a cop, then later charges toward him again in a threatening manner, the officer has the right to use lethal force to stop him, in order to protect himself from serious death or injury.

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