The following by Justin King originally appeared at TheAntiMedia.org and is reprinted here with permission.
Some see Mike Brown as a thug that got what he had coming; others see Darren Wilson as another racist killer cop. The truth of what happened was buried before Brown was laid to rest. Now, months later, not only is the truth dead and buried, it is completely irrelevant. Events have spiraled out of control, and now the only people who care about the truth are the families and close friends of those immediately involved with the shooting . . .
I know of people from more than 13 states who are sitting in Ferguson awaiting the Grand Jury’s decision. They are all convinced Wilson will not be indicted, and they are prepared to face the tear gas, rubber bullets, and nightsticks of the cops that will inevitably attempt to suppress them. Most had never been to Missouri before; some had trouble even finding the state on a map. For whatever reason Ferguson, Missouri has become the front line in the fight against the US police state.
The situation is very similar to another incident that occurred in Boston back in the 70s. During a demonstration, law enforcement opened fire and killed five protesters. The incident became a rallying cry for activists, who dubbed it “The Boston Massacre.” It was in the 1770s, and it triggered the American Revolution. In grade school, the narrative above is what most of us were taught. There is one glaring omission in the storyline above: the shooting was justified. One of America’s founding fathers, John Adams, defended the British soldiers in court and proved that the crowd had attacked the soldiers.
Just like the situation in Ferguson, the facts ceased to matter when it became a matter of national importance. Regardless of the Grand Jury’s decision, the only person who will ever know what happened is Darren Wilson. History will record the incident as a Ferguson cop killing an unarmed black man, and that the shooting crystallized outrage over a string of murders by police that revealed a total lack of accountability.
Wilson may indeed be completely innocent, but it doesn’t matter now. Ferguson is no longer about a single shooting. It is no longer about black and white racial issues. It is about John Crawford, Kelly Thomas, Eric Garner, and every other unarmed kid killed by cops that weren’t held accountable. It is about civil forfeiture, it is about falsified evidence, it is about mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent crimes, it is about MRAPs at schools, it is about the government waging war against its own citizens. The only rage directed at a color is being directed at the thin blue line.
While the Grand Jury may indict, it is unlikely. More rioting and violence is almost certaint and that violence will continue to cause increased hatred of law enforcement. Riots are the language of those without a voice, but rioting is not the solution. The rioting will certainly help garner national attention, but it won’t change the police state. It may actually provide law enforcement with a ready excuse to continue purchasing armored vehicles, tear gas, and automatic weapons. The misuse of this equipment by ill-trained cops will cause another situation that brings about another riot, and the cycle will continue until the boot of a SWAT team is on the neck of every American.
The riots must be followed by a concerted effort to curtail the police state. Without a powerful political movement attempting to oust every supporter of militarized law enforcement and proponent of police brutality, the riot is nothing more than a temper tantrum. Violence should always be the last resort, but if violence occurs, the greater tragedy is to allow the destruction and injuries to have happened in vain. It is important for those who have the anger to take to the streets, to preserve a little bit of that fury. In the aftermath of the rioting it must be channeled into a constructive resolution if there is to be any hope for a change in national policy.
The cynics out there are immediately saying that the politicians won’t listen, and typically those cynics would be correct. However, rioting in an area tends to scare off businesses. Those businesses are the source of campaign contributions. The politicians won’t listen because they care about unarmed kids getting killed, they’ll listen because the riot’s effect on the economy might choke off their supply of campaign contributions and impact their chances of reelection.
The failure to indict, the protests to follow, the police overreaction to the protest, and the rioting have been predicted by every authority. It almost seems carved in stone. The only thing that seems left for the people to decide is what happens after the glass is swept up from the streets and the smoke clears. Do the people simply allow the riot to be the end of the story, or do they continue the fight?