Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I just don't know. 

Michael Brown terrorized a store owner. Michael Brown was a very large man.  Michael Brown is dead.  Those are facts. 

I saw the video from the convenience store. Darren Wilson, did not.  Darren Wilson is also a very large man, though many pounds lighter than the young man he shot.  Darren Wilson carried a badge and a gun and the full weight of authority behind his actions.

The Grand Jury deliberated, discussed, reviewed and decided. They interviewed witnesses.  After 200 hours, at least nine of them agreed that Officer Wilson was not responding inappropriately. They declined to indict him.

Those are the facts that I can pull from the reporting.  Having been the subject of many interviews, having seen my own story publicized without any input from those who were there, having found the New York Times telling the world that I was older than I am, that I was perforated more than I was, I know that reportage is a tricky business. 

For the most part, what we are told is close enough to the truth for general purposes.  Those with more direct access to the facts are often appalled.  "It's not right!" was my plaintive cry. 

Did it matter? If a 6th grader is tasked with describing the events of January 8, 2011 here in Tucson, she would go to "the paper of record," the New York Tim, and I would be remembered by her teacher and her classmates as older and more damaged than I really am. 

So, yes, it matters.

Should the headlines read Protests Erupt or Violence Erupts? Should the first speaker on the evening news be a hotheaded youngster or The Reverend Al Sharpton, who is, all of a sudden, the voice of reason in a troublous time? Are the men jumping through the broken Dollar Store window, clutching items they've removed from the shelves, better described as looting or reacting to a system that treats them unfairly?

It matters. It speaks to the perspective of those in power, to the values of those in the streets.  It strikes each of us differently, hitting pieces of our personal histories with more or less impact, depending on what we bring to the table.

Second guessing gets us nowhere.  Should an indictment have been handed down?  Law'n Order teaches that a District Attorney can indict a ham sandwich; how could Officer Wilson escape prosecution?  The interwebs tell us that police officers are rarely called to account in the courts.  The specifics were available to the members of the Grand Jury; did they do their job?

Is your head spinning as fast as mine?

There is so much work still to be done. 

On that, I think, we can all agree.


  1. I wrote about this one too in my rant which is where I save such thoughts these days... mostly. What hurts me is how much more divided we seem to be as a people now. The hate on both sides is frankly scary and leads to a lot of bad results. I think those who wanted Wilson indicted were mad at a system that seems to have failed us all. That wasn't a good reason to indict him but it is a reason to not let this go and to look at whether police forces are out of control or are they trying to manage a societal group that is? We should go where the truth takes us on this one. But even if we figure it out, what then?

    1. Your last sentence is so true - where do we go from here? Your pain is my pain, Rain. I had such high hopes for our generation, and we are inches rather than miles down the road from the 1960's.

      Big Cuter made the point yesterday that a trial would have brought the evidence to the public's eye, and that would have, perhaps, eased the tensions. The lack of an indictment makes it seem that the system is protecting itself, and that is inappropriate.

      I have these rational thoughts and then I'm back where you ended - what now? what then?

  2. The evidence the grand jury examined is out there for anyone to look at. If they had found him not guilty, we'd be where we are now. It is being stoked by the media. I didn't know until i was on a jury that a grand jury is just ordinary people who are willing to take three months out to serve on it. I could have done it the time I got called for jury duty and did serve on a jury. I learned that a jury doesn't hear all the evidence. You can't ask questions. Grand juries hear it all and can question. I don't think this would have changed if Wilson had been found innocent. I'd have found Zimmerman guilty gut Wilson innocent based on what I have read. I do though think our system might be askew and that's why they wanted Wilson-- to pay for the rest. We need to look at our police force and how they react. That is what I hope comes out of this.

    1. Didn't know all of that; thanks!
      I, too, would have found Zimmerman guilty.


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