After weeks of endless media speculation (often bordering on inflammatory and unethical journalism), the grand jury finally rendered their verdict and decided not to formally indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Mike Brown.
My position since day one has been that I simply wanted the truth to come out. I’m really not sure how this entire situation turned into some kind of a debate where each “side” seemingly had a “team” for which they were rooting (Team Wilson vs. Team Brown). But I’ve maintained since the very beginning that all anyone should have wanted from this tragedy was for justice to prevail. Though I guess in this case, “justice” is a subjective term.
While many focused on an officer shooting an unarmed man, that was never really the issue. Nobody was disputing that Mike Brown was unarmed and that Darren Wilson shot and killed him. The issue was whether or not Wilson was justified for using deadly force.
And even though the official evidence presented to the grand jury apparently corroborated much of what Wilson said happened that day, for many that doesn’t matter.
In fact, no matter what the grand jury’s decision ultimately turned out to be, the “side that lost” was going to find fault with their decision. For people who think Wilson is a cold-blooded murderer, any evidence that supported his story will simply be dismissed by Brown supporters with claims that it was manipulated or fabricated by those trying to cover for him. And if Wilson had ended up being indicted, those on “his side” would have said that the grand jury caved into public pressure to indict him out of fear over the violence that might occur if they didn’t.
The truth is, this stopped being about Darren Wilson and Mike Brown weeks ago. The media drove such a divide on this issue, endlessly speculating on anything and everything they could to drive views and ratings to their websites or networks, that this story was no longer about finding the truth based on actual facts. Instead it became a battle between those who “picked a side,” with each side hoping to prove their opposition wrong.
It’s like I said earlier today on Twitter, the media was the main culprit that helped create such a racial divide on this issue. Then they had the audacity to act “shocked” that the racial divide they helped make much worse was suddenly such a driving force behind this story.
But in the end, the grand jury’s decision really doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to many people who’ve been following this story. Most people have had their minds made up for weeks and their anticipation of this decision was based upon their desire to find out if “their side” was right. For many, their ultimate decision about this case had very little to do with listening to the official facts of the case that were presented to the grand jury. They just wanted to hear validation that their “side” was right, no matter what the facts ultimately turned out to be.
In the meantime, I truly hope that we won’t see any kind of violence following this decision because that doesn’t do anyone any good. It doesn’t help Brown’s family or the communities where that violence might occur. And no matter what, all of our thoughts should be with Brown’s parents. Because no matter what “side” you took on this story, the fact remains that they lost their son. It doesn’t matter if you think that his death was justified or you think it was murder, nothing will bring him back to them.
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