Monday, December 08, 2014

My concern is the loss of "critical thinking" before people "act up" in the streets -- oh, really?

A long series of detailed newspaper accounts, such as one today in the Washington Post by Marc Fisher and others, “In three minutes, two lives collide and a nation divides over Ferguson shooting” (link) illustrate some conflicting points.  People tend to see what they want to see or believe they will see, as witnesses.  But this and many other articles explain how the physical and forensic evidence support the idea that Michael Brown, while unarmed, really did confront officer Darren Wilson directly (even "unbelievably"), after behaving aggressively in a retail store.  One can believe, as his family reports, that this is out of character, and wonder why it happened, but it seems clear that it did happen.  (White men, like James Holmes, have suddenly behaved out of character, too.)  One can certainly question whether Wilson’s action, firing many rounds, was necessary for self-defense.  One can question many things.  In Brown's case, unusual reaction to THC sounds possible. 

It’s also true that some other cases, especially Eric Garner in New York, as well as other incidents in Ohio, Arizona, and perhaps Utah may well turn out to be more convincing examples of criminal behavior by polices officers, possibly racially based, than Wilson’s.

I certainly support the peaceful demonstrations against police profiling and abuses.  But some of the behavior goes way beyond anything morally connected to the facts. 
In our country, it is unacceptable and unconscionable that someone (Darren Wilson) should live in hiding when the facts simply don’t support his guilt or cupability (at least of an intentional crime). Agreed, in other incidents, individual police officers may be more deserving of accountability, but what has happened in the Missouri case is simply unbelievable in a civilized nation.

One of my own reasons for writing and blogging independently is to support critical thinking, not blind emotion and revenge. 
I’ve been around people calling for forceful expropriation and “revolution”, especially in my young adulthood.  I’ve heard people say scary things in person.  I’ve seen people view their own peers, only slightly better off than them, as “enemies”, instead of the real “carpbetbaggers”.   On a certain psychological level, all “revolutionary” behavior is similar, whether founded in religion or economics or some combination of both. 
And I’m certainly aware of the past, and of the fact that race often (not always) puts some people “ahead in line” of others.  In fact, I’ve seen some segments of the film “American Lynching” by the late Gode Davis (from Rhode Island), and I am looking into what it would take to get this film, and some other similarly spirited projects, commercially produced and completed.  The idea of forcing people formerly privileged to "trade places" with others is frankly Maoist (but that's what the communist "cultural revolution" in China in the 1960s was all about).  

Yet, when you take the fall for one else’s need for vengeance, you are paying for the sins of others, perhaps sometimes as a result of insularity or indifference. There is no point in talking about victimhood.  Yes, I can see how this leads to a need for Grace.  

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