Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson In Flames

My article in today's FrontPage magazine:

Ferguson In Flames

By Matthew Vadum

Grand jurors in Ferguson, Mo., refused to indict local police officer Darren Wilson yesterday, heroically resisting pressure from President Obama on down to lynch an innocent police officer who fought off a violent attacker.

The decision is infuriating left-wingers across America because it rebuts the underlying assumption they embrace which is that white police racism caused the death of Michael Brown, a young black thug who tried to seize Wilson’s gun in an attempt to do the officer harm.

As fresh rioting was already underway in the St. Louis area, the decision also angered President Obama who could barely contain his hostility in a disgraceful, unprecedented television appearance following the release of the announcement about the non-indictments. Obama urged activists to refrain from using violence. The president himself bears direct responsibility for fomenting the combustible situation, however.

The county’s elected prosecuting attorney, Robert McCulloch, calmly explained the process in detail last night that the grand jury employed in choosing not to return indictments in five potential charges from first-degree murder to lesser offenses.

McCulloch is a white Democrat who has come under heavy fire from race-baiting members of his own political party. His partisans hate him because he does not share their antipathy for police officers, and presumably, because he is the wrong color. McCulloch easily secured the Democratic nomination for his office in a primary election four days before Brown was killed. In that contest, he handily beat former state public defender Leslie T. Broadnax, a black woman, by a margin of 71.4 percent to 28.6 percent.

McCulloch said many witnesses gave testimony that was not believable. Witnesses fabricated events, admitted they were in error, clung to discredited factual accounts, or gave evidence inconsistent with the physical evidence.

McCulloch said grand jurors were “the only people who heard every witness … and every piece of evidence.”
“These grand jurors poured their hearts and soul into this process,” he said. The grand jury consisted of nine whites and three blacks and was meeting every week since Aug. 20 to hear evidence in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. The panel convened for 70 hours and heard from 60 witnesses.

Perhaps in a conciliatory gesture to those who wanted Wilson strung up, McCulloch referred to the death of Brown and the events surrounding it as tragic. Obama too used the word tragic.

But that is the wrong word.

Recall that Brown, an 18-year-old black male, was killed in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 9 by white police officer Darren Wilson after he attacked Wilson and tried to grab his handgun. Brown’s defenders characterize him as a gentle giant even though a few minutes earlier he was captured on video committing a strong-arm robbery at a convenience store, roughing up a much smaller clerk in the process. At autopsy Brown’s height was 6′ 5″ and his weight was 289 lbs. As previously reported, autopsy results were consistent with witness accounts that Brown reached for Wilson’s gun during their fateful altercation.

Brown’s death was not tragic. He was a villain. The evidence shows that he initiated potentially deadly force against an officer of the law and suffered the consequences of his actions. Grand jurors only needed a little bit of evidence to indict Officer Wilson. The evidence needed only to establish that probable cause existed to charge Wilson with a crime. The prosecution couldn’t even satisfy that low legal bar. The Wilson case may never have made it to a grand jury at all were it not for the antics of left-wing racial grievance groups working with and taking directions from the Obama administration.

The decision not to indict Wilson is not a tragedy. Far from it. The decision is just, proof that the grand jury system that was created to prevent governments from railroading unpopular defendants still works.

The tragedy is that Wilson had to be subjected to a three-month-long circus in which he was wrongfully accused of being a racist, murdering cop. He was demonized in the media day in and day out, a process that continues in the nation’s newsrooms even after last night’s announcement.

Petulant, as America’s childish Commander-in-Chief is wont to be when he fails to get his way, Obama sounded angry that grand jurors failed to indict Officer Wilson. The plot by Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Obama operative Al Sharpton to lynch Wilson in the courts failed.

Coming across like a Latin American caudillo, Obama sounded disgusted with Ferguson police and police forces across the nation in a press briefing last night.

Instead of accepting the grand jury’s wise decision, Obama set about stoking the flames. After spending months stirring up racial antagonism, Obama pontificated as if an innocent bystander of the events.
The decision “was going to be subject of intense disagreement not only in Ferguson, but across America, so I want to just say a few words suggesting how we might move forward,” he said, without noting that Wilson’s use of justifiable force against Brown became a national issue at his instigation.

Ignoring the fact that the death of Michael Brown had everything to do with his threatening, abusive behavior and absolutely nothing to do with his race, Obama implied cops hate minorities.

“We need to recognize that the situation in Ferguson speaks to broader challenges that we still face as a nation,” Obama said, even though no broader challenges that we face as a nation played a role in Brown’s death.

“The fact is, in too many parts of this country, a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of color,” he said, without noting that he and his comrades-in-arms in the world of community organizing have created distrust and disharmony where none previously existed.

Obama then blamed white people for Michael Brown attacking Darren Wilson.

“Some of this is the result of the legacy of racial discrimination in this country,” Obama said even though there is no evidence that the residue of racial discrimination played any role in Brown’s death.

“And this is tragic, because nobody needs good policing more than poor communities with higher crime rates,” Obama said. “The good news is we know there are things we can do to help, and I’ve instructed Attorney General Holder to work with cities across the country to help build better relations between communities and law enforcement.” Obama said this even though the case at hand provided no evidence that there is a problem between communities and law enforcement.

The president then pivoted to make a pitch for affirmative action in police departments:
That means working with law enforcement officials to make sure their ranks are representative of the communities they serve. We know that makes a difference. It means working to train officials so that law enforcement conducts itself in a way that is fair to everybody. It means enlisting the community actively on what should be everybody’s goal, and that is to prevent crime.
These are mere policing platitudes Obama is lip-syncing as he advances the notion that only black police officers are suited to work in black communities. We do not know that it makes a difference. In fact, enforced diversity can be deadly.

We know that in the rush to furnish communities with cops of the correct skin color corners are likely to get cut and people will die as a result. Economist John Lott found in a 2000 study that the apartheid approach to police staffing led to increases in violent crime, especially in black neighborhoods. This is because the forced lowering of standards put less-qualified officers of all skin colors on the streets.

Even though the justice system ultimately worked in Ferguson, Obama pretends there is still a problem because there aren’t enough blacks in the local constabulary, in his view. He urged communities “interested in working with this administration and local and state officials to start tackling much-needed criminal justice reform,” even though the Brown-Wilson saga does not prove any reform of the criminal justice system is needed.

Obama continued ignoring the facts, insisting there is a problem.

“We have made enormous progress in race relations over the course of the past several decades … but what is also true is that there are still problems and communities of color aren’t just making these problems up,” Obama said, again ignoring that there is no evidence of a problem.

“Those who are only interested in focusing on the violence and just want the problem to go away need to recognize that we do have work to do here, and we shouldn’t try to paper it over,” he said without proving there is any work to be done. “Whenever we do that, the anger may momentarily subside, but over time, it builds up and America isn’t everything that it could be.”

It is as if the psychosis our troubled president suffers from regarding Ebola, the virus Obama is lovingly importing from West Africa, has spread to other issues as well. Only Obama and his fellow travelers say there is a problem in Ferguson.

The mass hysteria over Michael Brown’s death that Obama and his allies generated continues.

It is yet another success for America’s first Alinskyite president.

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