Michael Brown was a thug and a resident of Ferguson, MO. On August 10, 2014 he became the late Mr. Brown after he robbed a convenience store, shoved around the owner of that establishment, wrestled with a policeman for his gun and refused to obey officer Darren Wilson’s order to stop – instead preferring to charge at him. Officer Wilson shot him dead and saved the country a great deal of expense in trials and the cost of jail time and probably only sped up what was destined to be Mr. Brown’s nearly inevitable future. RIP, Michael Brown. And bask in the glory of God’s love – or whatever heat source may be present where you now reside.
In life Mr. Brown physically was a large man. In death he has become even bigger and been elevated to the status of “martyr” as the poster child for a movement known as “Black Lives Matter”. I have some experience with movements going back fifty years as both a participant and an observer. These days, my involvement in them generally centers about my bathroom routine – which I am pleased to add is going nicely.
In 1968 the Democrats held a convention in Chicago. There was a movement afoot then, an anti-Vietnam War movement, which resulted in violence. None of the protesters was killed. But nearly forty demonstrators who were present, agitating for “peace” were beaten by night sticks attached to the arms of Chicago’s police department. Incidentally, all of the protesters who went to the hospital happened to be white.
Now if you’re thinking that this anecdote supports the present narrative that the police are evil, nasty people who have to take out their repressed need to exhibit violence on anyone who crosses their path, (according to #BLM primarily directed against black law abiding citizens) you should be aware that there is more to the context of this story which might affect your view.
Yes, it is true that the police beat up a bunch of demonstrators. But was there provocation or did the police simply decide to bash some young upstarts? Well, the truth is that the police acted in a restrained manner until the demonstrators began throwing bags of feces and urine at them. At that point they had pretty much the same reaction that anyone in or out of uniform would have felt. Anger.
To my knowledge, no one has ever died because human excrement was hurled at and hit them. While being the recipient of that sort of abuse is clearly revolting, it is not life threatening. And in Chicago, none of the protesters was killed as a result of their incredibly bad behavior.
On the other hand, Michael Brown was 6’ 5” tall and weighed 289 pounds. I don’t care what color he was but if I saw someone of that size charging at me as Officer Wilson testified and the forensics supports, I would feel gravely threatened. Wouldn’t you?
So what is the “point” that Black Lives Matter is trying to make? That seems somewhat unclear other than to have their five minutes of fame as other evanescent groups such as Occupy Wall Street have attained. As I understand it, which is perhaps imperfectly since their message is a bit opaque, they are angry about the number of blacks who are incarcerated in our prison system. Well, I’m angry about that too. If those jailed blacks were leading productive lives rather than committing crimes, we could save about $3 Billion a year. I can think of a lot of much better ways to spend that amount of money.
According to the NAACP, of the 2.3 million Americans who are incarcerated, nearly forty percent, over one million, are blacks. On the surface, considering that the black population of the United States is about thirteen percent, this seems disproportional. The “thesis” that Black Lives Matter puts forth is that blacks are arrested for the same crimes for which whites get a pass. Their claim is that most of those blacks are incarcerated for “petty drug crimes”. Not that it will matter to #BLM, the statistics don’t support that argument.
The latest statistics which I could find come from 2012. In that year, a total of only 309,100 inmates were in jail for drug crimes of any type. That includes both Federal and state prisons and represents a decrease from the 338,076 people who were incarcerated in the year 2000 for similar offenses. So if the NAACP’s statistics about black incarceration are correct, that leaves us with about 700,000 inmates who are in jail for other reasons.
In 2012, just under a million people were in Federal or state prisons for either “Violent” or “Property” crimes. Violent crimes are categorized as ones which include, murder, manslaughter, non-negligent manslaughter, rape, other sexual assault, robbery, assault, and other violent crimes. A total of 721,200 prisoners fit that definition. Property crimes are categorized as ones which include burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, fraud, and other property crimes. There were 247,100 prisoners who fell into that classification.
Even if we accept #BLM’s narrative that blacks get incarcerated for drug crimes which whites skip on, why are the remaining 700,000 black Americans in jail? Could it be that they have been convicted of either Violent or Property crimes? And if they committed those crimes, is it not appropriate that a civilized society put them away in the interest of protecting the vast majority of society which obeys the law and do not engage in those activities?
Perhaps the most disturbing part of the recent re-enactment of the protests in Ferguson which took place at the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death was the fact that quite a few of the protestors chose to wear hoods, thus disguising who they were. In 1968 the protestors at the Democratic convention did not wear hoods. They were proud to let people know who they were because they believed in what they were doing. But I can think of two other groups which regularly wear hoods. The first of those is ISIS’ executioners. The second is the KKK.