Even given the fact that she’s grieving, this is astounding:
Michael Brown’s family reacted with anger and tears to the first televised interview with Darren Wilson, in which the officer said he “would not have done anything differently” about the sequence of events that led to the shooting death of Brown.
“He didn’t do what he had to do, he did what he wanted to do,” Brown’s mother Lesley McSpadden told CBS Morning News. “I don’t think he wanted to kill my son, but he wanted to kill someone.”
In the mind of Ms. McSpadden, it appears, is this picture: Officer Wilson, uniformed and in his police car, is cruising the streets of Ferguson looking for someone to kill.
Like all human beings, I suppose, there have been times in my life when I have been almost frantic with anger and sorrow. I’ve never experience the death of a child, of course, but I’ve lived long enough in this world and experienced enough things to peer into the depths upon depths of anger and sorrow that Ms. McSpadden must feel – but even with that, I simply cannot put the two together. I cannot comprehend someone actually believing that a police officer – in the normal course of his duties – would be out to kill someone…some random person on the streets. To be sure, there could be a situation in which there is a psychotic cop who does such a thing, but unless one has rock-solid evidence of this being the case, to make such an accusation is massively beyond the bounds of rational thought. But Ms. McSpadden thinks this.
And trolling the Twitter feed over the last couple of days on Ferguson, I realize she is not alone. Quite a lot of people believe the same sort of thing – and not just about officer Wilson, but about the police, in general.
As readers here know, I believe we need deep reforms of both the police and our larger criminal justice system – but to believe that the police, on the whole, are out to do evil in the world is, well, stupid. I really don’t like to use that word, but I can’t think of a word which better describes it. I mean, you’ve really got to be disconnected from reality to believe that – you have to have woven yourself (or have had woven for you) a series of myths which are entirely impervious to the facts. Police are, of course, human beings – they are prey to all our faults. They can be unreasonable; they can be unjust; they can make purely stupid mistakes – and in the case of Wilson and Brown, maybe the police officer didn’t handle the situation in the best possible manner…but it is abundantly clear that Brown also didn’t behave in the best possible manner. To hold up Brown as some sort of complete innocent in this case is to defy facts and logic – and to turn about and accuse Wilson of a malevolent desire is to go completely ’round the bend.
And it gets worse: the entire liberal narrative is built upon the concept that the police are deliberately malevolent, at least towards minorities. The belief that the system is built against black people and the police are created to enforce the system against black people is the core of this – and in the comments from the Brown family, we see it writ large. Understand it’s not an accusation that Wilson just didn’t do his job right – it is an accusation that Wilson is a murderer who went out to find someone – almost certainly black – to kill that night, because that is what police officers do…and they do it because a racist system sends them out to do it, to keep the black man down (we won’t even get into the particular lunacy of such a belief in a land where the President is black – and so is the attorney general; we don’t want to go too far down the rabbit hole lest we get swallowed up – stare into the abyss long enough and eventually the abyss stares into you, dig?).
I have things to say to my fellow conservatives on this. Don’t trust the word of the police – that is just the word of the government and if we don’t trust the IRS, no reason to trust the police, either. Understand that in the African-American community a lot of people are caught by the system and rather ground up in it – sure, maybe some so caught aren’t pure as wind-driven snow, but a lot of people are caught in the gears over trivialities and the overall community reasonably feels that they are being unjustly singled out: a lot of our laws are designed to be worked by people with plenty of education and resources but when applied to people with less education and resources, they can become an unjust burden. The police shouldn’t be so militarized. The police shouldn’t be effective strangers in the areas they patrol. We conservatives have our own blindness in the matter and we should be kind and understanding and try to see it from a different point of view.
That said, we’ve got a real problem in this nation – there are tens of millions of Americans who aren’t living in the real world. They are living in an intellectual fantasy world. I always wondered when I read accounts of the death of Stalin why so many Russians would be crushed under genuine sorrow for the man’s passing. If you look back into it, there was genuine grief when the man died – and not just from senior apparatchiks of the Stalinist regime, but from regular folks. A man who had done in at least 20 million of his own people – and millions of his people wept at his passing as if they had lost something good. Now I understand it a little better – just feed people enough lying propaganda long enough, and some will come to sincerely believe it. The American people have been fed a line of propaganda about race and the police – and for some, it has sunk right in, and they really believe such things as that racism is still a bar to achievement in America, and that the police are out to get minorities.
The cure for this will be a long time coming – because as we reform things, we’ll be also trying to undo 50 years of lies.