This could’ve gone a lot worse.
(Note: I felt the same way about watching Tiny Furniture.)
Someone invited Dr. Ben Carson, the brain surgeon who dazzles with his wrongness, to talk about the Ferguson demonstrations and Mike Brown’s death. What he had to say was simply more Status Quo Enforcement, which is what they wanted from him in the first place:
“Certainly in a lot of our inner cities, in particular the black inner cities, where 73 percent of the young people are born out of wedlock, the majority of them have no father figure in their life. Usually the father figure is where you learn how to respond to authority. So now you become a teenager, you’re out there, you really have no idea how to respond to authority, you eventually run into the police or you run into somebody else in the neighborhood who also doesn’t know how to respond but is badder than you are, and you get killed or you end up in the penal system,” Carson said.
“If the so-called leaders were really interested in the community, they would be trying to deal with that problem, because that’s happening every single day,” he added.
It’s actually not Dr. Carson who dragged feminism into this discussion. That was the radio host, Lauren Kitchen Stewards, who decided to blame the women’s movement of the 60s for kids these days being so selfish. She’s conflating a lot of social changes that probably ought not to be conflated, but ultimately, both of them are pointing to a lack of youthful deference to authority as the real problem, rather than abuse of power by police forces. The idea doesn’t occur to them that perhaps they should be asking what’s wrong with the Darren Wilsons of the world before they get started on the Mike Browns.
The grand jury in St. Louis declined to put Ofc. Darren Wilson on trial for the murder of Mike Brown. Far more capable people than I are writing about all the ways that decision is a steaming pile of horseshit, but plenty more of us are here to answer the question: just how bad were the supposed injuries that Darren Wilson showed us in photographs to explain why he had to shoot Mike Brown? That’s where Twitter comes in handy. Here’s a Storify with plenty of answers to that question. I show up in the Storify, but I will also share with you some other contributions I made to that discussion which people seemed to appreciate.
Outside the tag, but Feminista Jones gives us a good introduction to the absurdity of Ofc. Wilson’s supposed photographic evidence of a violent assault by Mike Brown:
(Really. Take a look at the photo.)
(I’m exaggerating a little. But still; what we see on the back of Darren Wilson’s neck is not a sign of any physical engagement with another person.)
This one’s not my contribution, but let’s not forget:
I just made up that analogy on the spot.
Latest news from Ferguson, MO is that Michael Brown had marijuana in his system at the time of death.
So my response is: Yeah, okay? If someone shot me in the coming week, my blood chemistry might show evidence of recent alcohol consumption. And?
Cannabis is not the type of substance that makes you behave in such a way that the people around you might fear for their lives. From what I hear about the effects of cannabis, it actually does just the opposite.
Renisha McBride had alcohol in her system at the time of her death. That explains how she wrecked her car, which explains why she was asking for help, but it does not explain why Ted Wafer decided to shoot her.
Michael Brown smoked weed at some point in the last 40 days before Darren Wilson shot him. That gives us nothing about the reasons why he had to die.
It reminds me of the range of reasons that many people have for labeling certain women and girls “sluts” after their rapes enter the news cycle. The word “slut” no longer says anything about their decision-making prior to victimization. They’re sluts because other people decided to do them harm. So it is with Michael Brown’s blood chemistry. He didn’t die because he was a cannabis user, he died because Officer Wilson shot him repeatedly.