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The release of security camera video footage today of the late Michael Brown robbing a Ferguson convenience store and roughing up a clerk who is half his size about ten minutes before he was killed by a policeman reveals that that Meaning of Ferguson is that the national media have embarrassed themselves yet again by grabbing some local police blotter incident and huffing and puffing it up into another narrative of America’s History of White Violence Against Black Bodies.

When the media grabs hold of a Ferguson, Trayvon, Duke Lacrosse, Jena, or Tawana Brawley story they are not presenting it as an unusual Man Bites Dog story, but as a typical Another Rabid White Dog Bites Innocent Black Child story. In a country of 300 million, you’d think they’d be able to at least come up with stories that don’t self-destruct like this under skeptical scrutiny, but it doesn’t seem to work that way.

Vaguely sensing that they’ve screwed up massively, the press is trying to spin the news as being about the insensitivity of the police releasing such inappropriate video:

CNN:

On the same day police announced the name of the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, they also released video implicating the teen in a robbery. FULL STORY
NY Times:

Emotions Flare in Missouri Amid Police Statements
By TANZINA VEGA, TIMOTHY WILLIAMS and ERIK ECKHOLM 9:06 PM ET

The manner in which the police identified the officer involved in the death of Michael Brown and released evidence that Mr. Brown was a suspect in a robbery renewed tension in the Missouri town.

Washington Post:

Police tell their side, but chief’s reversals revive anger
Wesley Lowery, DeNeen L. Brown and Jerry Markon 6:30 PM ET

The Ferguson, Mo., police chief appeared to reverse course twice over whether 18-year-old Michael Brown was stopped because of suspicions that he was involved in a convenience store robbery.

By the way, I am posting under the fold the single most insightful passage in American literature about the causes of these recurrent fiascos. I’ve cited it numerous times over the last 27 years, but, sadly, it never loses its relevance:


From Tom Wolfe’s 1987 bestseller The Bonfire of the Vanities:
The language is NSFW.Three Bronx assistant District Attorneys — Ray Andriutti, Jimmy Caughey, and Larry Kramer (the indirect narrator) — discuss elected head D.A. Abe Weiss’s current obsession with the Moore case, in which an unemployed corporate executive in the nice Riverdale suburb of the Bronx shot his mother-in-law.

An assistant D.A. in Major Offenses has started calling Abe Weiss “Captain Ahab,” and now they all did. Weiss was notorious in his obsession for publicity, even among a breed, the district attorney, that was publicity-mad by nature. …

[Kramer:] “Why was Weiss interested?”

[Caughey:] “Well, the guy’s white, he’s got some money, he lives in a big house in Riverdale. It looks at first like maybe he’s gonna fake an accidental shooting.”

“Is that possible?”

“Naw. Fucking guy’s one a my boys. He’s your basic Irish who made good, but he’s still a Harp. He’s drowning in remorse. You’d think he shot his own mother, he feels so fucking guilty. Right now he’d confess to anything. Bernie could sit him in front of the video camera and clean up every homicide in the Bronx for the past five years. Naw, it’s a piece a shit, but it looked good at first.”

Kramer and Andriutti contemplated this piece a shit without needing any amplification. Every assistant D.A. in the Bronx, from the youngest Italian just out of St. John’s Law School to the oldest Irish bureau chief, who would be somebody like Bernie Fitzgibbon, who was forty-two, shared Captain Ahab’s mania for the Great White Defendant. For a start, it was not pleasant to go through life telling yourself, “What I do for a living is, I pack blacks and Latins off to jail.” Kramer had been raised as a liberal. In Jewish families like his, liberalism came with the Similac and the Mott’s apple juice and the Instamatic and Daddy’s grins in the evening. And even the Italians, like Ray Andriutti, and the Irish, like Jimmy Caughey, who were not exactly burdened with liberalism by their parents, couldn’t help but be affected by the mental atmosphere of the law schools, where, for one thing, there were so many Jewish faculty members. By the time you finished law school in the New York area, it was, well … impolite! … on the ordinary social level … to go around making jokes about the yoms. It wasn’t that it was morally wrong … It was that it was in bad taste. So it made the boys uneasy, this eternal prosecution of the blacks and Latins.

Not that they weren’t guilty. One thing Kramer had learned within two weeks as an assistant D.A. in the Bronx was that 95 percent of the defendants who got as far as the indictment stage, perhaps 98 percent, were truly guilty. The caseload was so overwhelming, you didn’t waste time trying to bring the marginal cases forward, unless the press was on your back. They hauled in guilt by the ton, the blue-and-orange vans out there on Walton Avenue. But the poor bastards behind the wire mesh barely deserved the term criminal if by criminal you had in mind the romantic notion of someone who has a goal and seeks to achieve it through some desperate way outside the law. No, they were simple-minded incompetents, most of them, and they did unbelievably stupid, vile things.

Kramer looked at Andriutti and Caughey, sitting there with their mighty thighs akimbo. He felt superior to them. He was a graduate of the Columbia Law School, and they were both graduates of St. John’s, widely known as the law school for the also-rans of college academic competition. And he was Jewish. Very early in life he had picked up the knowledge that the Italians and the Irish were animals. The Italians were pigs, and the Irish were mules or goats. He couldn’t remember if his parents had actually used any such terms or not, but they got the idea across very clearly. To his parents, New York City — New York? hell, the whole U.S., the whole world! — was a drama called The Jews Confront the Goyim, and the goyim were animals. And so what was he doing here with these animals? A Jew in the Homicide Bureau was a rare thing. The Homicide Bureau was the elite corps of the District Attorney’s Office, the D.A.’s Marines, because homicide was the most serious of all crimes. An assistant D.A. in Homicide had to be able to go out on the street to the crime scenes at all hours, night and day, and be a real commando and rub shoulders with the police and know how to confront defendants and witnesses and intimidate them when the time came, and these were likely to be the lowest, grimmest, scurviest defendants and witnesses in the history of criminal justice. For fifty years, at least, maybe longer, Homicide had been an Irish enclave, although recently the Italians had made their way into it. The Irish had given Homicide their stamp. The Irish were stone courageous. Even when it was insane not to, they never stepped back. Andriutti had been right, or half right. Kramer didn’t want to be Italian, but he did want to be Irish, and so did Ray Andriutti, the dumb fuck. Yes, they were animals! The goyim were animals, and Kramer was proud to be among the animals, in the Homicide Bureau. ….

Here they were … and here he was, and where was he going? What were these cases he was handling? Pieces of shit! Garbage collection … Arthur Rivera. Arthur Rivera and another drug dealer get into an argument over an order of pizza at a social club and pull knives, and Arthur says, “Let’s put the weapons down and fight man to man.” And they do, whereupon Arthur pulls out a second knife and stabs the other fellow in the chest and kills him … Jimmy Dollard. Jimmy Dollard and his closest pal, Otis Blakemore, and three other black guys are drinking and taking cocaine and playing a game called the dozens, in which the idea is to see how outrageously you can insult the other fellow, and Blakemore is doing an inspired number on Jimmy, and Jimmy pulls out a revolver and shoots him through the heart and then collapse on the table, sobbing and saying, “My man! My man Stan! I shot my man Stan!” … And the case of Herbert 92X –

… The press couldn’t even see these cases. It was just poor people killing poor people. To prosecute such cases was to be part of the garbage collection service, necessary and honorable, plodding and anonymous.

Captain Ahab wasn’t so ridiculous, after all. Press coverage! Ray and Jimmy could laugh all they wanted, but Weiss had made sure the entire city knew his name. Weiss had an election coming up, and the Bronx was 70 percent black and Latin, and he was going to make sure the name Abe Weiss was pumped out to them on every channel that existed. He might not do much else, but he was going to do that.

 
• Tags: Ferguson Shooting 
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  1. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Dang, why can’t a mountain-sized negro love a little grocery clerk?

    Guess he love cigars more.

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  2. Lugash says:

    The media has been about 48 hours behind the curve on this story. When the first riots started breaking out on Sunday they were no where to be seen, and they ran Robin Williams on Monday. Maybe these are Wednesday’s stories?

    At least Obama didn’t step in it this time like he did with Gates and Trayvon. Maybe the NSA got a hold of the video somehow?

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  3. Jefferson says:

    So the late Michael Brown was not a non threatening white washed Brotha like Thomas Sowell and Morgan Freeman ?

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  4. Ohioan says: • Website

    If you think seriously about cities and crime at all, and you haven’t read Bonfire, you lose. Game over. Simple as that. Your omission is a grave, unforced error, especially bad since the prose you’re missing out on is near-perfect.

    In the hands of a weaker writer, the characters and stories in Bonfire of the Vanities would be a tediously monochrome just-so-story. Wolfe’s genius lies in the way he shows the reader every character’s inner life, their brooding insecurities and resentments, the bad in their good and the good in their bad. All of his characters seethe, not just with anger, but with every single emotion decent people are taught from childhood to conceal.

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  5. Jefferson says:

    The liberal media does have an extreme fascination with man bites dog stories (White/Nonblack on Black homicides) that is why they get massive media coverage and are treated as being on the same level as the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Boston bombing attacks, the Jonestown massacre, and the JFK assassination.

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  6. Jefferson says:

    How long before streets and public schools are named after Michael Brown, who is truly America’s national treasure.

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  7. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    A woman called a into a radio show claiming to know the Officer involved in the shooting. She disputes the story we’ve all heard on t.v.

    http://danaloeschradio.com/alleged-friend-of-officer-darren-wilson-offers-his-side/

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  8. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    By the time you finished law school in the New York area, it was, well … impolite! … on the ordinary social level … to go around making jokes about the yoms. It wasn’t that it was morally wrong … It was that it was in bad taste.

    A complement to this passage is the one where the Kramers’ British nanny says something racist while watching the news, and Kramer and his wife look at each other with a sigh of relief that the nanny, who had made them feel inadequate with her British accent, has at last demonstrated her class inferiority to them.

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  9. Magic says:

    Really, this is your response?

    You don’t shoot to death a suspect in a petty robbery as he flees, let alone when he has obeyed your commands and put his hands up. If the witness accounts are right, and apparently a cell phone video, the cop should go to prison. The case is getting more media attention because of the racial element, but this does not like the Duke or Trayvon Martin cases, there seems to be strong evidence of a crime, and the illicit killing is a much bigger deal than the robbery of an item worth less than $50, or the other such minor crimes the dead 18 year old may have in his past.

    It matters whether one is talking about a real crime or a false accusation, but this post seems recklessly indifferent to the distinction.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Michael_Brown

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    • Replies: @The most deplorable one

    and the illicit killing is a much bigger deal than the robbery of an item worth less than $50,
     
    You are assuming facts not in evidence and seem to be relying on the statements of a witness who does not seem credible and the claims of others who were not witnesses.

    Where are the cell phone videos of the event? Are they like the phone call from Trayvon's girlfriend that night?
    , @Danindc
    You will soon look like a fool. Be sure to apologize win he truth comes out.
    , @Art Deco
    You don’t shoot to death a suspect in a petty robbery as he flees, let alone when he has obeyed your commands and put his hands up. If the witness accounts are right,

    The main witness account is that of Dorian Johnson, and if you take what he said at face value, I have some mezzanine tranche collateralized debt obligations I'd like to sell you.

    In case you hadn't noticed with these sorts of cases, the usual pattern is that when all the accounts are on the table, it discredits the narrative of the grievance industry. (See George Zimmerman's broken nose and bloody head; the Duke lacrosse DNA tests, &c; the Jena Six cretin with his mouth stuffed with Benjamins).
    , @Eric
    The "witness" accounts are baloney. Get real already.
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  10. FWIW says:

    It isn’t surprising that the protestors were enraged by the strong armed robbery. “Michael was a “gentle giant” who didn’t want to play football because he didn’t want to hurt anyone. Brown, who was shot to death Saturday afternoon in Ferguson by a police officer, stood 6-foot-4 and weighed 300 pounds.”

    The fact that he just strong-armed a convenience store clerk makes the ‘Gentle Giant’ not seem so gentle.

    But the Tom Woolf book … at the time I read it, I wondered how the book could escape the ‘racist’ label. But I realized that this sort of book simply isn’t read by those most likely be offended. And that the racist aspects were simply too true to bother attacking.

    My favorite passage was when the reporter looked into the honor student victim: “Let me ask you this. How does he do on his written work? Mr. Rifkind let out a whoop. There hasn’t been any written work at Rupert High in 15 years! Maybe 20. They take [multiple choice] tests.

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  11. The liberal media does have an extreme fascination with man bites dog stories (White/Nonblack on Black homicides) that is why they get massive media coverage….

    Absolutely false. They are dog-bites-man stories from the media’s perspective, and they run the stories to try to make us think the same thing.

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  12. Sean c says:

    OT: Talking about spin. There has been a story out that Ukraine destroyed a big part of a Russian armor convoy. I have yet to see any evidence since the story came out even though NATO seemed to confirm it.

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  13. It’s not about insensitivity – it’s about deflecting criticism by saying “big deal, so he got shot while unarmed and surrendering … he was no choir-boy… amirite, amirite?”

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  14. Ohioan says:

    Really, this is your response?

    You don’t shoot to death a suspect in a petty robbery as he flees, let alone when he has obeyed your commands and put his hands up. If the witness accounts are right, and apparently a cell phone video, the cop should go to prison. The case is getting more media attention because of the racial element, but this does not like the Duke or Trayvon Martin cases, there seems to be strong evidence of a crime, and the illicit killing is a much bigger deal than the robbery of an item worth less than $50, or the other such minor crimes the dead 18 year old may have in his past.

    It matters whether one is talking about a real crime or a false accusation, but this post seems recklessly indifferent to the distinction.

    If your facts are right, then your analysis is right, too. But history suggests that won’t prove to be the case. It could, but it’s not a done deal. Recall that the eyewitness likely accompanied Brown during the robbery. That’s relevant. The national media has been all over this case from the start. In the US, in 2014, that means getting big stories wrong, almost every time.

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    • Replies: @Luke Lea
    "The newspapers get 50 percent of the facts wrong 80 percent of the time." Mark Twain (quoting from memory0
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  15. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    @ incredulous

    Time will tell whether the officer duly shot Brown. In the meanwhile, all this speculation by the media is bordering on Nicholas Wade’s troublesome inheritance. For a group that hates speculation, they’re sure doing a lot it right now. But this is yet another case of who whom.

    The big picture that the media want the world to takeaway from this incident is exactly what Steve said : ” America’s History of White Violence Against Black Bodies.”

    But if you look at Eric Holder’s PDF files, then it’s pretty clear that more blacks are killed by black on black crime than by white on black crime and that most of the homicides in the US are committed by blacks. Eric Holder’s other PDF files are victimization studies, and when you bother to look at these pdfs you see that black arrest data is consistent with victims of crime reporting the race of the perpetrator. This is very good evidence against police bias.

    The fact that steve didn’t comment on this until today is a testament to his reasonableness. He didn’t jump into it while the facts were fragmented and unknown. It was only when the pieces started coming together that he felt it was the right time to comment.

    The picture that is emerging is one of a big bully who used his size to get whatever he wanted. If you watch his encounter with the small Indian man it’s clear that his presence alone is enough to get the indian man to submit to him. He doesn’t as much beat him up as get in his face. I suspect that Brown tried this tactic with the officer ,but the officer, armed, wasn’t going to let Brown’s size get the better of him.

    That’s why the robbery video is so important. It directly contradicts the claims that were made by the media that Brown was an angelic choir boy. Brown is not that. He is a big bully.

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  16. The most deplorable one [AKA "The fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:
    @Magic
    Really, this is your response?

    You don't shoot to death a suspect in a petty robbery as he flees, let alone when he has obeyed your commands and put his hands up. If the witness accounts are right, and apparently a cell phone video, the cop should go to prison. The case is getting more media attention because of the racial element, but this does not like the Duke or Trayvon Martin cases, there seems to be strong evidence of a crime, and the illicit killing is a much bigger deal than the robbery of an item worth less than $50, or the other such minor crimes the dead 18 year old may have in his past.

    It matters whether one is talking about a real crime or a false accusation, but this post seems recklessly indifferent to the distinction.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Michael_Brown

    and the illicit killing is a much bigger deal than the robbery of an item worth less than $50,

    You are assuming facts not in evidence and seem to be relying on the statements of a witness who does not seem credible and the claims of others who were not witnesses.

    Where are the cell phone videos of the event? Are they like the phone call from Trayvon’s girlfriend that night?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Magic
    This looks like three people, not one:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Michael_Brown#Dorian_Johnson.27s_account
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Michael_Brown#Piaget_Crenshaw.27s_account
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Michael_Brown#Tiffany_Mitchell.27s_account

    "Witness Tiffany Mitchell, in an interview with St. Louis television news station KMOV, said she arrived in the area near the beginning of the altercation. She stated that she was watching as the first gun shot was fired while the police officer, but not Brown, was still in the vehicle, at which point she retrieved her cell phone in order to film the unfolding event.[39]"

    Apparently she didn't succeed in filming.
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  17. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    You guys wanna have some fun?

    If you live near the area, just pass by the neighborhood with a blanket across your shoulders.

    KKK-sighting!

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  18. Magic says:
    @The most deplorable one

    and the illicit killing is a much bigger deal than the robbery of an item worth less than $50,
     
    You are assuming facts not in evidence and seem to be relying on the statements of a witness who does not seem credible and the claims of others who were not witnesses.

    Where are the cell phone videos of the event? Are they like the phone call from Trayvon's girlfriend that night?

    This looks like three people, not one:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Michael_Brown#Dorian_Johnson.27s_account

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Michael_Brown#Piaget_Crenshaw.27s_account

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Michael_Brown#Tiffany_Mitchell.27s_account

    “Witness Tiffany Mitchell, in an interview with St. Louis television news station KMOV, said she arrived in the area near the beginning of the altercation. She stated that she was watching as the first gun shot was fired while the police officer, but not Brown, was still in the vehicle, at which point she retrieved her cell phone in order to film the unfolding event.[39]”

    Apparently she didn’t succeed in filming.

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  19. anon says: • Disclaimer

    The eyewitness, Dorian Johnson, did accompany him on the strongarm robbery.

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  20. Danindc says:
    @Magic
    Really, this is your response?

    You don't shoot to death a suspect in a petty robbery as he flees, let alone when he has obeyed your commands and put his hands up. If the witness accounts are right, and apparently a cell phone video, the cop should go to prison. The case is getting more media attention because of the racial element, but this does not like the Duke or Trayvon Martin cases, there seems to be strong evidence of a crime, and the illicit killing is a much bigger deal than the robbery of an item worth less than $50, or the other such minor crimes the dead 18 year old may have in his past.

    It matters whether one is talking about a real crime or a false accusation, but this post seems recklessly indifferent to the distinction.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Michael_Brown

    You will soon look like a fool. Be sure to apologize win he truth comes out.

    Read More
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  21. Art Deco says: • Website
    @Magic
    Really, this is your response?

    You don't shoot to death a suspect in a petty robbery as he flees, let alone when he has obeyed your commands and put his hands up. If the witness accounts are right, and apparently a cell phone video, the cop should go to prison. The case is getting more media attention because of the racial element, but this does not like the Duke or Trayvon Martin cases, there seems to be strong evidence of a crime, and the illicit killing is a much bigger deal than the robbery of an item worth less than $50, or the other such minor crimes the dead 18 year old may have in his past.

    It matters whether one is talking about a real crime or a false accusation, but this post seems recklessly indifferent to the distinction.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Michael_Brown

    You don’t shoot to death a suspect in a petty robbery as he flees, let alone when he has obeyed your commands and put his hands up. If the witness accounts are right,

    The main witness account is that of Dorian Johnson, and if you take what he said at face value, I have some mezzanine tranche collateralized debt obligations I’d like to sell you.

    In case you hadn’t noticed with these sorts of cases, the usual pattern is that when all the accounts are on the table, it discredits the narrative of the grievance industry. (See George Zimmerman’s broken nose and bloody head; the Duke lacrosse DNA tests, &c; the Jena Six cretin with his mouth stuffed with Benjamins).

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  22. peterike says:

    Great selections from Bonfire. Really, if the book were not so politically incorrect (in terms of both style and substance) it would be widely regarded as the greatest novel of the 2nd half of the 20th century (2nd half because “Tender is the Night” wins the first half.)

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  23. Shawn says:

    I wish the liberals would stop inserting the word “bodies.”

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  24. The most deplorable one [AKA "The fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:
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  25. Mike says:

    I think people’s perception of the black community depends on how much they interact with the community. If you do so frequently you know that black people will say or do almost anything when they feel it will advance their position. There is no rational link to anything. All of the black people I have seen interviewed say that the tape of him robbing the store is fake. In my real world experience I know this to be true. You can have someone on tape and they will say “that aint me!!” even if the incident occurred minutes ago.

    One little known side effect of this is that black people have close to zero respect/trust for other blacks. This is well hidden because it places them at a disadvantage in getting what they personally want. Black people hate running businesses for the black community and rarely do it. They know full well what a thankless job it is.

    As always there are exceptions to these generalizations but it is shocking how few.

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  26. Eric says:
    @Magic
    Really, this is your response?

    You don't shoot to death a suspect in a petty robbery as he flees, let alone when he has obeyed your commands and put his hands up. If the witness accounts are right, and apparently a cell phone video, the cop should go to prison. The case is getting more media attention because of the racial element, but this does not like the Duke or Trayvon Martin cases, there seems to be strong evidence of a crime, and the illicit killing is a much bigger deal than the robbery of an item worth less than $50, or the other such minor crimes the dead 18 year old may have in his past.

    It matters whether one is talking about a real crime or a false accusation, but this post seems recklessly indifferent to the distinction.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shooting_of_Michael_Brown

    The “witness” accounts are baloney. Get real already.

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  27. Brutusale says:

    Hey, they can use the kid from The Blind Side to play the lead when they make The St. Michael Brown Story.

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  28. Luke Lea says:
    @Ohioan

    Really, this is your response?

    You don’t shoot to death a suspect in a petty robbery as he flees, let alone when he has obeyed your commands and put his hands up. If the witness accounts are right, and apparently a cell phone video, the cop should go to prison. The case is getting more media attention because of the racial element, but this does not like the Duke or Trayvon Martin cases, there seems to be strong evidence of a crime, and the illicit killing is a much bigger deal than the robbery of an item worth less than $50, or the other such minor crimes the dead 18 year old may have in his past.

    It matters whether one is talking about a real crime or a false accusation, but this post seems recklessly indifferent to the distinction.
     
    If your facts are right, then your analysis is right, too. But history suggests that won't prove to be the case. It could, but it's not a done deal. Recall that the eyewitness likely accompanied Brown during the robbery. That's relevant. The national media has been all over this case from the start. In the US, in 2014, that means getting big stories wrong, almost every time.

    “The newspapers get 50 percent of the facts wrong 80 percent of the time.” Mark Twain (quoting from memory0

    Read More
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  29. The media did not only try to portray Brown as an innocent aspiring teen. No it is much more perfidious. The media invented a universe in which THE MEDIA portrays blacks always as thugs. This obvious contradiction was of course best verbalized by Steve with “NYT: NYT is no news media”.
    Thus the media simulates giving you the kind of analyzing, surprising truly intellectual writing you would expect from as newspaper like the NYT. But actually it is just taking part in the dumbest possible race to the bottom of uniform reality-denying. It is not only taking part, it is helping to create it.
    I wonder if the people who write the NYT do everything that bad. I mean when they to go to their personal psychoanalyst, do they expect him to believe them their most obvious self-deception?

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  30. […] commenting on the facts and coverage of the Ferguson incident, so please donate to him.  (See 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and pay special attention to his list of media narrative fiascos for new episode […]

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