I wasn’t planning on writing anything else about Ferguson – I already said my piece about the rioting – but on Monday I was reviewing for final exams when class was interrupted by protestors walking around the building, yelling about the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson.
And then I thought about the blatant lies that are being used to perpetuate a certain narrative about what happened. These are the things that infuriate me about Ferguson:
“Hands up, Don’t Shoot!”
This is a slogan that protestors across the country have taken up, referring to the witness allegation that Mike Brown was shot while his hands were raised above his head in a sign of surrender. The official autopsy tears down this claim, as well as another lie being passed around by protestors that Brown was shot in the back as he fled.
To add to that point, the witnesses who told police that Brown was shot in the back, and that Darren Wilson stood over him and shot him again to finish him off were clearly trying to vilify Wilson, and cover for their friend. They should be arrested for obstruction of justice.
Yet protestors still use the slogan, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” in complete contradiction to the evidence. The St. Louis Rams players opened their most recent game against the Oakland Raiders with a “Hands up, don’t shoot,” protest, aggravating police who are working overtime to protect the stadium.
The fact that people are keeping up this huge lie on the national stage, simply because it gets attention and fits narrative they are trying to sell is disgraceful.
“Officer Darren Wilson Shot an Unarmed Teen”
You probably recognize this statement from the write in to almost every story covering Ferguson since August. It’s irresponsible to lead with that statement for two reasons. Firstly, teen is a deliberately misleading word choice: most people use “teen” to mean grade school age. Most people use “young adult” to mean high school age. At 18 years old, Brown was a legal adult. Painting him as a child to win sympathy is wrong.
Secondly, an unarmed person does not remain unarmed if they are trying to take someone else’s gun.
Publishing Officer Darren Wilson’s Address
A gang in Ferguson put out a $5,000 bounty for Wilson’s address, and an additional $1,000 for each close family member. So it seems to me that publishing this information, when people are out for blood, is a grossly irresponsible thing to do. Yet the New York Times thought it would be appropriate. In doing so they put Darren Wilson and his family in danger.
The “Black Lives Matter,” Chant
Of course they do. All lives matter. I don’t hear anyone arguing they don’t.
My biggest issue with protestors who use this tactic is they are trying to change the parameters of the issue. It’s no longer about whether Officer Wilson acted in self defense – it devolves into, “If you disagree with us, you must think that black lives don’t matter.”
Here’s the thing: disagreeing with the Ferguson protestors does not mean I value the lives of one race more than another; it means I value forensic and physical evidence over conflicting and disproven witness testimony.
Do None of Them Have Jobs?
Someone will have to tell me what generous employer has given all those protestors and rioters four months off work. Protests are fine, but not when they interfere with the livelihood of other Americans. I believe this man sums it up best.
Tyree Landum was worried that he would loose his job when protestors blocking the highway, keeping him from getting to work. He has a right to be that mad.
Media Downplaying or Justifying the Rioting
While 10 businesses and a church burned to the ground in Ferguson, and more were looted, Time published a piece talking all about how rioting is actually pretty great. (Try telling that to the business owners who can’t feed their families because they lost everything.) They’re probably right, I’m sure those protestors really do mean well.
Totally unrelated note, here’s a video of Mike Brown’s stepfather yelling at the crowd to “Burn this B**** down:”
But again, probably totally good intentions.
Pro-tip, if you really want to convince the media that you’re looting because of how upset you are, you probably shouldn’t be smiling as you run out of the store with your stolen merchandise. Just a thought.
I’m Preparing For Finals
Sorry to be a little selfish here, but studying for finals is stressful; I don’t like exam week. I also don’t like being called a racist. That being said, I really don’t like being called a racist while I’m trying to study for exam week, by protestors who are marching around campus buildings in circles.
Please let the rest of us do our work in peace, and if you are going to protest, don’t lie. Thanks.
-By Cole Ellenbogen