Tamir Rice was a 12-year-old boy who was playing in a Cleveland, Ohio park with a toy gun. Someone called 911 and reported that a “juvenile” was pointing a gun at passersby and that the gun was probably a toy. Two city police officers named Loehmann and Garmback arrived on the scene in separate cars. Critical information had NOT been related to them: they were not told that Tamir was a child, nor that Tamir appeared to be playing with a toy gun. It appears, however, that within two minutes of arriving on the scene Officer Loehmann had taken out his real gun, aimed, opened fire, and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice.
It is unclear to me how anyone, including a trained police officer, can assess a scene in under two minutes. It is unclear how a grown man can not recognize the difference between a child with a toy gun and a threatening adult. It is equally unclear to me how anyone with a conscience can ever again sleep at night after shooting a child to death. Yet two “independent experts” in police shootings stated that this police shooting was justified and/or reasonable.
In South Carolina, a female high-school student refused to leave the classroom, and security was called. The so-called “school resource officer,” Ben Fields, confronted the girl, grabbed her, and then turned over her desk with her in it, throwing her on the floor in the process. He then dragged her out of the classroom while choking her. Of course, everything was caught on a cell-phone video. Another student, who complained about her classmate’s treatment by calling out “Stop! What are you doing to her?” (or something along those lines), was then arrested for interfering. The security guard has since been fired – but was this the best way to handle a teenager?
America is simply too violent. It seems the only way we try to resolve a dispute is with a gun. Shoot first and asked questions later. It’s as if we live in the Wild, Wild West with Wyatt Earp and John Wesley Hardin, who once shot a man for snoring. Where is Wild Bill Hickok? We have to have a better way of resolving our differences.
Continue reading Violence in America
All I can do is sigh. Ferguson was like Agent Smith said in The Matrix – inevitable. The Black community wants justice. The Grand Jury wasn’t instructed to deliver justice. They were instructed to follow the law. These two things should be the same, but in this case they are not.
An encounter between Officer Wilson and Michael Brown went very wrong. Both were at fault. Only one person ended up dead. This is the reality.
Officer Wilson lacked understanding but is alive to hopefully learn to understand. MIchael Brown didn’t understand that confrontations with the police can end up very badly.
Once the shooting happened and Michael Brown ended up dead, the rest of the this story became very predictable. We have seen it dozens of times in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. We have seen officers who felt threatened and did things that made a community gasp. There are marches and calls for calm, but to little or no avail. The anger explodes. Violence. Stupid violence. Arrests. More people hurt or even killed. Nothing has changed except that some innocent bystanders have been hospitalized and property has been destroyed. Continue reading Ferguson – Inevitable aftermath
Capt. Ron Johnson spoke at a church service for Michael Brown and for the Brown family. There is something about a man who can stand tall and speak his mind. There is something about a man who can win over a hostile crowd by speaking the right words at the right time. Ron Johnson did that. This video is really, really worth a look.
Rick Perry has been indicted for abuse of power. I think this is very interesting. I’m not sure that it will go anywhere but it is very interesting.
It has now been over a week since Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri. Let’s forget the protests. Let’s forget the violence that has broken out. Let’s concentrate on the shooting of Michael Brown. I don’t want to try the police officer before there is a trial. I would like to keep an open mind, but the Ferguson police department has not disputed accounts that Michael Brown was unarmed when he was shot. It appears that Michael Brown was walking down the street and the police wanted him to walk on the sidewalk. There was a verbal exchange between the police officer in the car and Michael Brown on the street. There was some sort of scuffle. Michael Brown turned and ran. He was shot. He threw up his hands and then was shot multiple times. This is the account that I have pieced together. I’m hoping that this is 100% wrong but I don’t think that it is. The basic question is how do you shoot an unarmed man? Michael Brown was walking in the street one minute and then dead the next. How does that happen in the US?
Update: It appears that what I had pieced together was wrong. Michael Brown was not shot in the back. He was shot six times. None of the gunshot wounds were at close range. All of the shots hit him in the front of his body. 2 shots were in the head. He had four gunshot wounds in his right arm. This is all from the preliminary autopsy, performed by Dr. Michael Baden, who was hired by the family. There are two other autopsies that will be done including one by the Justice Department.
The National Guard has been called in to help restore order.