Protests, Tear Gas, Riots and Looting: It’s Been Absolute Chaos in Ferguson

Photo credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Photo credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

I’m going to once again attempt to write about Ferguson, Missouri.  Though I’ll be honest with you, I’m not at all sure where this piece might end up once I’m finished with it.  Because out of all the topics I’ve covered in my time writing, this one has honestly exhausted me.

What can anyone really say?  Honestly, can anything be discussed rationally at this point?

Racism?  Can we talk about that?  No, not really.  That’s the real issue with racism – we can’t be honest about it.  Any attempt to discuss racism quickly devolves into one side accusing the other side of being racist.

Can we have a rational discussion about what kind of person Mike Brown might have been?  Absolutely not.  Well, not unless you’re going to say nothing but positive things about him.

Any attempt at all to discuss anything remotely negative about Mike Brown instantly gets you labeled as a racist or someone trying to slander him.  Even the video that allegedly shows him robbing and physically intimidating a much smaller store clerk has somehow become a “debatable” topic by “news” sites that have tried to say Mike Brown might have bought the cigars.

Even after the gentleman who was with him, Dorian Johnson, already admitted that they did in fact steal the cigars.

Not only that, but if you bring up that video you’ll undoubtedly get, “Death is not a punishment for theft!”  Which is not what anyone is suggesting from what I’ve seen, including the officer who shot Brown.  The shooting is linked to an alleged altercation between Wilson and Brown.  An altercation that wasn’t brought about by Wilson’s suspicion of Brown in any robbery.

Can we talk about the character of Darren Wilson?  Maybe… if we knew anything.

The police have been absolutely inept in releasing any kind of information relating to this case.  How some of these individuals are even in law enforcement in any capacity is terrifying.  While it’s hard to prepare any officers for what’s gone on in Ferguson, it doesn’t take a lot of common sense to have handled this situation better than they did.  In fact, a lot of the incompetence shown by the Ferguson police department is stuff that should have been basic police training.  You know, like not leaving a body exposed laying on the street for numerous hours.  This department has screwed this situation up about badly as they possibly could have.

We should know much more about Darren Wilson than we do.  Hell, we should know more about what happened at the time of the shooting than we already do.

Can we talk about the media coverage?  Sure, but who’s going to care?  The right-wing media is focusing on the looting and riots to paint the majority of the protesters as “out of control thugs.”  The left-wing media has a clear objective of painting law enforcement officers as militarized goons who are randomly launching tear gas at groups of people who are peacefully standing there doing nothing wrong.

Neither side is really concerned with reporting objective facts concerning both sides.  They’re primarily focused on reporting what their viewers want to hear.

Can we talk about Mike Brown’s family?  Sure, that’s probably fairly safe.

I feel terrible for their loss.  While it matters legally why their son was killed, no matter what the outcome of all of this chaos ultimately is, they lost a son.  It doesn’t matter if you think he was a “gentle giant” or a “thug” who stole from a gas station, he was their son and they loved him.

Can we talk about the shooting itself?  We can try.  But what’s there’s to talk about?

We have eyewitness testimony that’s still inconclusive.  We have the officer’s account of what happened which is in conflict to what many of the eyewitnesses have said happened.  And we have Brown’s body and whatever forensic evidence can be extracted from it and the crime scene itself.

Can we talk about how this all might turn out?  Maybe.

I’m not sure why people think this is such a clear-cut case of racism.  I’m not saying it isn’t.  As facts present themselves it might very well be proven that Darren Wilson murdered Mike Brown in cold blood because he was black.  And if that’s the case, I hope he’s punished to the fullest extent of the law.

But is it possible that Darren Wilson is being honest when he says Brown assaulted him, tried to take his gun, then came charging back at him?  Based on the little bit of evidence we know now, yes.  That’s still a possibility.

But here’s another possibility: Maybe both sides are right and wrong?

Maybe an assault by Brown against Wilson led to a shooting that wasn’t based on race, but by horrific judgement on the part of Wilson.

Does that mean Wilson isn’t guilty of a crime?  Absolutely not.

If it is found that he killed Mike Brown when he had no justification for doing so, even if Brown did indeed assault him, he should absolutely be punished.

But there’s also another possibility.  The possibility that there’s just not enough evidence to conclusively prove either side.  There aren’t any videos of what happened.  There’s no audio.  There’s forensic evidence, but that doesn’t always definitively prove what happened.  It may ultimately come down to what Wilson claimed happened against what witnesses say happened.

But at the end of the day will either be enough to prove, without a shadow of a doubt, exactly what occurred?

This whole thing has just spun completely out of control.

There’s been tear gas, looting, riots, rubber bullets, Molotov cocktails, building set on fire, reporters arrested, police helicopters shot at… and for what?

Because the last time I checked, we still really don’t know what happened.  We have assumptions and guesses, but no conclusive facts about the actual shooting itself outside of an autopsy report that seems to indicate that Brown was shot six times from the front.

What if it’s found that Wilson was justified for killing Mike Brown?  What if Wilson ends up being charged with murder here in the near future?

Then what was all of this for?

That’s been the point I’ve tried to make to most people I’ve talked to these last few days.  Let’s just let the facts come out.  If justice isn’t served, then we can go from there.  But right now, most people are being driven by emotions rather than actual facts.

Because what’s happened these last few days in Ferguson hasn’t done much of anyone any good.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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