Surveillance Video Emerges of Michael Brown Robbing Ferguson Convenience Store

Well! Finally – some concrete evidence emerges about what happened the day Michael Brown was shot by a Ferguson police officer – his name revealed today to be Darren Wilson – (not the Darren Wilson who is the president  of the Ethical Society of Police, who has been with the St. Louis Police Department since 1996. There was some confusion about that on Facebook, and at least one blogger jumped the gun and reported that it was that Darren Wilson before all the facts were known.)

I’ve refrained from writing about the incident thus far because with only limited information and no evidence to go on, I felt there was little for me to say – other than to comment on the appalling riots and looting that happened in its wake, and the bad actions of a few police officers – something hundreds of other blogs were already commenting on.  Even the disturbing militarization of the police I felt might be somewhat justifiable in an instance of massive civil unrest like this one.  I don’t like to waste everyone’s time being Captain Obvious – “looting is bad!” , “destruction of public property is bad!” “Arresting reporters for no good reason is bad!” So much distressing news – even a potentially positive story – like the one about the decent people who came out to clean up after the riots, was marred by the ugly racial animus that has so poisoned the nation since the “post racial president” was elected: Volunteers Clean Up at Ferguson QuikTrip, Get Yelled At for “Helping the White Man.” Ugh.

Anyway, I don’t know why it took this long for the surveillance video to come out. I think it would have made a huge difference in how the community reacted to the shooting because it sheds important light on the altercation that led to Brown’s death. Brown wasn’t stopped for no good reason – he was stopped by a cop responding to a 911 call because Brown was suspected of robbing a convenience store. The witness to the shooting (whose story never sounded plausible to me) had every reason to lie about the altercation because he was an accomplice to the crime.

Had the surveillance video come out right away, would we have seen the social unrest in Ferguson we’ve been seeing for the past week?


John Hayward, The Conversation: The Ferguson story changes dramatically:

“I think [the robbery and the shooting] are two separate issues,” Captain Johnson said today, as reported by Mediaite.  “People in our country commit crimes every day. I don’t want to mix the two, I’m not going to say that one justifies the other, and I think if we’re going to give answers, we need to not give hints. We need to say it.”

Again, with all due respect, this is sheer nonsense.  Of course it’s hugely relevant that Brown was the suspect in a robbery, and was seen to use physical violence to pull it off.  The story that sparked riots in Ferguson was that gentle, sweet, innocent, wouldn’t-hurt-a-fly Brown was just walking down the street when the cop pulled up and gunned him down for no reason at all.  Brown had his hands up, and was trying to be nice, but the cop blew him away, shot him in the back, emptied God knows how many bullets into him.  We were told over and over that Brown was a great kid, and it was utterly inexplicable that a police officer would confront him at random – well, explicable only by vile racism, that is.

As for whether the police should be “giving hints”… good Lord, Captain Johnson, the police have been tackled and pummeled by the combined force of the entire U.S. media establishment and excoriated for not saying anything about the case.  They were taking heat for their silence less than 24 hours after the shooting.  The police department is currently being made to look like bumbling fools, stormtrooper wannabees who had to be sent to the showers while the state Highway Patrol takes over.  A billion editorial pixels have been spilled on roasting the police merely for being slow to release the name of the officer involved, even though the threat to his safety was palpable.

Ace of Spades HQ: Video of Suspected Strong-Arm Robber Stealing Cigars in QuikTrip Convenience Store

One important point is this: I am getting very tired of the “teenager”meme from the media.

Michael Brown was 6’4″ and 300 pounds. He was, physically, a full-grown man. (Well, maybe he might have grown a bit more to 6’5″, but certainly he was more fully grown than 90% of men on the planet.)

It is time for the media to stop peddling this deliberately misleading descriptor, which they know:

1. Suggests a thin, awkward whelp, as most “teenagers” are. The description suggests child. Whereas an older teenager is in fact usually a full-grown man.

2. Suggests, without actually saying so, that the “teenager” musthave been shot maliciously, because certainly a full-grown cop doesn’t need to resort to deadly force to restrain a “teenager” — again, the image in our heads is of a thin, gawky 14-year-old whose voice is just beginning to change.

These situations are always heavily dependent on facts, and it’s well past time the media began getting the facts right, without resorting to deliberately-misleading carnival-barking and deceptive hype.

The Hill: Police chief rips Obama remarks:

The executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police criticized President Obama Thursday for his remarks about law enforcement in Ferguson, Mo.

“I would contend that discussing police tactics from Martha’s Vineyard is not helpful to ultimately calming the situation,” director Jim Pasco said in an interview with The Hill.

“I think what he has to do as president and as a constitutional lawyer is remember that there is a process in the United States and the process is being followed, for good or for ill, by the police and by the county and by the city and by the prosecutors’ office,” Pasco added.

The Council Has Spoken!! This Weeks’ Watcher’s Council Results – 08/15/14

watchers081514 (1)Me too, lil’ weasel!

The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.

“The gun is our only response to [the] Zionist regime. In time we have come to understand that we can obtain our goals only through fighting and armed resistance and no compromise should be made with the enemy.” – Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, speech on February 12, 2012

“The Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs… It would have aroused the world and the people of Germany… As it is they succumbed anyway in their millions.”

Louis Fisher, Gandhi’s biographer asked him: “You mean that the Jews should have committed collective suicide?”

Gandhi responded, “Yes, that would have been heroism.” – The Life of Mahatma Gandhi (1950) by Louis Fisher.

“The true cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the hatred taught to many Muslims when they are impressionable children — unable to defend themselves from having their lives poisoned with such beliefs.”

“This is the testimony of someone who witnessed it — and who experienced it — personally.” – Dr. Tawfik Hamid, Muslim Apostate in a speech at Pepperdine University, 2008

Close races in both categories this week, a reflection of how good this week’s entries were.


This week’s winner, Bookworm Room’s fine essay The Morality Of of Israel’s killing Palestinian civilians, recounts a Facebook exchange she had with a ‘Progressive’ about civilian deaths in Gaza versus Israel defending itself or committing national suicide. Being Bookworm, she goes far beyond that into a general discussion of Jihad, but you’ll have to read all of it to marvel at how she ties it all together. Here’s a slice:

I have been engaged in a Facebook exchange with someone who believes that killing civilians is always immoral. This moral stance means that, because Israel is killing civilians more effectively than Hamas, he believes Israel is morally more culpable than Hamas in the current conflict. He therefore cannot support her, and his sympathy for Palestinians outweighs his sympathy for Israelis.

Because his is an argument I hear frequently; because Progressives think their overarching pacifism is virtuous; because this man was invariably polite in expressing his views, appearing more misguided than malevolent; and because there were other people auditing this exchange on Facebook, I took the time to respond at some length his arguments. Although doing so seemed like a somewhat futile effort while the ceasefire held, given that Hamas took up arms again the minute the ceasefire ended, this issue is not going away any time soon.

The man’s core operating principle is that killing civilians is so verboten that he can never approve of a group, party, or nation that commits such acts. I know he felt virtuous when he wrote that, but I tried to get him to see that, in certain circumstances, his pacifism will leave him with more innocent blood on his own hands (morally, speaking) than his own ostensibly high-minded position would.

I asked him to imagine that a large, well-organized, well-funded terrorist group (which we’ll call “Hamas” for short) carries out a series of attacks against a Jewish nation (which, for convenience’s sake, we’ll call “Israel”). The attacks are not as deadly as Hamas would wish, but Hamas plans to continue with the attacks — eventually someone will die — with the culmination being a coordinated attack through Israel which will, if successful, kill upwards of 10,000 Israeli civilians. This man’s moral calculus would mean that the only way for Israel, as a moral nation, to avoid the impermissible immorality of killing innocent civilians in Hamas’s ambit would be for Israel to surrender immediately and, indeed, for it to do so regardless of the seriousness of Hamas’s provocation.

In a perfect world, against an equally moral enemy, this moral purity might work. Of course, in that perfect world, the enemy too would have held itself to this high moral standard — never kill a civilian — and wouldn’t have attacked Israel in the first place. Sadly, though, we do not live in a perfect world.

In an imperfect world, which happens to be the world we inhabit, Israel knows that Hamas’s goal is to slaughter every man, woman, and child in Israel. Israel doesn’t have to go down the primrose path of conspiracy theories and paranoia to reach this conclusion about Hamas’s end game. Instead, Hamas has made the death of Israel’s citizens — all of them — the centerpiece of its charter, it preaches this goal from every political and religious pulpit, it acts upon this goal whenever possible, and it has spent millions of dollars in foreign aid, including money from Israel herself, to plan a terrorist attack intended to kill those 10,000 of Jewish civilians.

Despite this stark reality, the man I’m debating insists that Israel still has only one moral choice: she must refrain from fighting back if that fight means that she might kill even one civilian. Only in that way, he says, can he give Israel his support.

Israel, however, has figured out something that this man, either because he’s blinded by the self-righteousness of his own idealism or because he’s as genocidal as Hamas, refuses to grasp: If Israel takes this allegedly moral high ground and surrenders to Hamas, she will effectively have killed all off all of her own civilians. In other words, no matter what choices Israel makes, the nature of her enemy means that Israel will have the blood of innocents on her hands.

As between those two choices — either kill a few hundred Palestinians civilians or watch 6 million of your own people being brutally slaughtered — a non-suicidal nation will always opt to value its own citizens’ lives first. Moreover, a moral nation, such as Israel, even as it recognizes that civilian deaths are inevitable, fundamentally values life and does everything possible to protect both its own and its enemy’s citizens. Still, Israel recognizes that the nature of war, sadly, is death.

Much more at the link.

In our non-Council category, the winner was Mark Steyn with a piece that resonates with what’s on many minds this week, You Want Nazis? submitted by The Noisy Room.

We are indeed living in interesting times.

Here are this week’s full results.

Council Winners

Non-Council Winners

See you next week! Don’t forget to tune in on Monday AM for this weeks’ Watcher’s Forum, as the Council and their invited guests take apart one of the provocative issues of the day and weigh in… don’t you dare miss it. And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that!