Michael Brown was a thug who was caught on video doing some thuggish things in a deli. He was also shot 6 times by a cop.
I don’t like the way the internet is taking over from the justice system. Regardless of what Michael Brown may have done or what the police officer might have done, this story is starting to resemble a mediathon event a la Nancy Grace. And I really don’t like Nancy Grace.
You know what would be great? It would be great if we let the justice system do the work here. And yet, after I read Matt Taibbi’s recent book, The Divide, before it devolved into yet another obligatory polemic against Bill Clinton who seems to have been the only politician in the last twenty years with any agency, I realized that there really isn’t justice in this country anymore. Once you have committed a crime, even a small one or one you didn’t know existed, you’re pretty much screwed. The system is set up to find you guilty if you don’t have a small fortune to prove your innocence. It’s prepared to throw you in jail and deprive you of all you own at the slightest provocation.
On the other hand, if you’re wealthy and well connected, you can ruin people’s lives with impunity, risk other people’s retirement funds without consequence, and practice the equivalent of global and domestic economic terrorism and get away with it. No one shows up at your door to arrest you for loitering where you shouldn’t or threatens your livelihood or keeps putting you back on the Start square in a real life game of Sorry! Once you reach a certain level of wealth, you are untouchable. (Well, at least until some clever vigilante individuals figure out how to circumvent the neo-feudal curtain walls. It’ll happen eventually.)
But if you are a person of color or a woman or just poor, your life and belongings are inconsequential. You’re not entitled to anything. You’re lucky if you escape with your life. And if you complain, the system will bring out a militarized police force and technology that will make you sick, to put you back in your place. I saw it in Denver in 2008 (where was Claire McCaskill during the convention?) and at Zucotti Park in 2011. And now we are watching it happen in Ferguson.
That’s because Americans have been allowed to indulge themselves in thinking that some people “deserve” better treatment than others. But to the Supercitizen, no one below them is deserving of anything. The dehumanization of the average American starts with race and women and poor people but sooner or later if things keep devolving at this pace, everyone but the supercitizen will be affected.
Internet coverage is not the same as due process, evidence, trials and justice. And a justice department that has settled for weregild when it comes to global economic catastrophes and corruption, while bringing down the hammer on ordinary people has lost all credibility. It’s part of the problem.
When you’re deep in a hole, stop digging.