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.