The Truth is Somewhere In Between

The shooting of Michael Brown was wrong.

Whatever the reason was for the police stopping him, it should NOT have ended as it did.

But what has happened since then has shown how little has changed in American with regard to race, and how it seems both sides seem to be willing to let nothing change.

First off, lets start at the beginning.

Dorian Johnson, the prime eyewitness to the event reports that he and Michael Brown were walking down the middle of the street when a police cruiser approached from behind  and told them to get off the street. The officer used derogatory words towards the two young men. When they failed to respond to his orders, the police officer cut the men off and tried to grab Brown through his driver’s side window. A struggle between the officer and Brown ensued, resulting in the officer firing his weapon. Brown freed himself and he and Johnson ran. The officer exited the cruiser and fired on Brown, eventually killing him. Other eye-witnesses share a similar version of events.

According to police, the shooting incident stemmed from a physical altercation between Michael Brown and the police officer, Darren Wilson. Wilson ordered Brown and Johnson out of the center of the street. When the Wilson attempted to exit his cruiser, he was pushed back into the car by Brown, who then assaulted him inside the car. Brown then allegedly attempted to seize the officer’s gun, which was fired at least once during the struggle. Multiple shots were fired in the course of the encounter.

If you believe the Michael Brown supporters, the police ruthlessly gunned down an 18-year-old man in cold blood. That the police in the predominantly black community have it in for two-thirds of the population, with one-third being white. That the majority of police officers are white, which is inferred as being a bunch of racist pigs. Because, after all, all white people hate black people, right?

To show support and outrage for Brown’s murder, they protested, which lead to looting of local businesses, because the best way to show the strength and unity of a specific group within the community is to steal shit.

The police, fearing a repeat of the Trayvon Martin case, as well as any other incident where races clash, over-reacted to the point where state troopers had to come in, lead by a black man, to quell the rage.

The latest thing to stoke the fire comes as surveillance footage from a convenience where someone, fitting the description of Michael Brown, stealing cigars. In the course of doing so, Brown is shown to be strong-arming the store’s owner when confronted with his shoplifting offense. An uncut version of the footage supposedly shows Brown paying for the cigars, which, of course, returns him to saint status. What the supposedly “uncut” video doesn’t show is when the owner comes around the counter to confront Brown, who then grabs the owner by the throat and pushes him into a display stand. If someone did that to me, that would be physical assault, a crime. Although having watched this video a few times, and not seeing any actual cash being exchanged for the cigars Brown bought, it is moot, considering how he man-handled the owner.

So, where does the actual truth lay? Was the police officer a racists prick who got to gun down a black kid? Was Brown a bad kid, whose activities finally caught up to him?

Let’s put some context on this, something totally outside the ideas of race and authorities figures.

Once, a friend told me about how every time they went to a certain store, the workers there were always complaining about their work. My friend found this stupid and annoying, which I agreed. But when I asked them how often they had heard this kind of thing, they said once or twice. So, it wasn’t “every time”, which made sense because whenever I went to this store, which was pretty regularly, I never heard any of these kind of things.

The point of my story is that we sometimes exaggerate things or events to garner more sympathy for our thoughts, feelings, or opinions.

The convenience store footage reveals that Michael Brown, as good as a kid he might have been, definitely wasn’t a saint. I’ve also watched enough episodes of COPS to know how Officer Wilson handled the situation was very wrong, and his actions were deadly wrong.

To maybe understand the events, try to eliminate the racial aspect of it…

A person steals something from a store. Police get a 9-1-1 call about it. Meanwhile, unaware of the call, an officer comes across two individuals walking in the middle of the street. He orders them to move. When they don’t, the officer pulls over to deal with them. Fearing that the officer knows about his theft from the store, the one person tries to prevent the officer from getting out of the cruiser. The officer grabs a hold of the person. A scuffle ensues. Perhaps the officer reaches for his gun (they may not have tasers or pepper spray). In the scuffle, the gun goes off. The person ends the scuffle and tries to run. The officer gets out of his cruiser and fires, fatally shooting the person.

Without the racial connotations, it sounds like a typical police stop gone very bad. It doesn’t excuse the officer drawing his gun. It doesn’t excuse him gunning down an unarmed person.

But was it racially motivated?  All the people who cried racism, then looted businesses for no reasons, will have you believe it is.

Does racial tension still exist in America? Hell yes! Look at the Republican party, trying to convince people that Barack Obama wasn’t born in America, or trying to tell people he was Muslim, as if that were a threat to the nation. In the case of the Republicans, fear drives their ignorant, closed-minded beliefs. Fear that something different will affect them, cost them money, put different ideas in the heads of the nation.

But racism works the other way. Believe it or not, not ALL white people as racist. But if you believe the Michael Brown supporters, they imply that all white police officers are racist. That no black person will be treated fairly by a white police officer. I wonder if that extends to all white people too? Like in any group there are those that embarrass the rest of us. But to judge a whole group by the stupid, irrational action of a few is flat-out wrong.

Officer Wilson’s actions were over-the-top. An officer pulling his gun is a last resort, not the first.

Michael Brown may have been a typical kid. His family will say he’s a saint, as they should. But he wasn’t perfect, as the store surveillance footage shows. But in no way did he deserve to die.

Perhaps the most criminal things about this event, and any that have come before, or will come afterwards, is the manipulation of people’s hearts and minds by the media. It isn’t just the main news networks that ave an monopoly on telling their versions of the truth. There are hundreds of websites for both sides, of varying quality, who are very willing to post whatever they can to prove their point. A perfect example is Addicting Info. They post the “uncut” video from the store where Michael Brown was, yet they fail to show the part where he man-handles the owner. If you are going to show the uncut video, that includes the WHOLE footage, even the part that casts an unfavorable light on your subject. If all of these networks, and websites focused on telling the actual truth, in an unbiased way, perhaps we would see the events of the world more clearly. Maybe then, we would see that not everything is an attack on one group or another. Maybe people will realize the truth is somewhere in between.

And sometimes, terrible things just happen.

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