Posted by Curt on 20 August, 2014 at 11:32 am. 4 comments already!


Charles C. W. Cooke:

The central question in the case of Michael Brown remains as it has always been: That is, “Was Officer Wilson justified in his decision to pull the trigger?” As it stands, we cannot answer this in any useful or definitive manner — and, crucially, we should not try. We have not heard directly from the shooter himself; we do not yet have any way of determining which of the witnesses are reliable and which are not; and, in the absence of reliable testimony from those who do know what happened, we do not have the raw information that we would need in order to come to a conclusion. Thus far, everything has been mere speculation.

This being so, it has become increasingly irritating to watch those who are longing for a particular outcome begin to draw conclusions from the detritus. Over the last week or so, reports that Michael Brown was a) “unarmed” and b) shot six times have been spun in some quarters into “evidence” that suggests that his killing was either unjustified or overblown. This, I’m afraid, is a considerable mistake.

Let’s start by restating what should be palpably obvious: It is wholly possible for an “unarmed” man to pose a threat. That some people are naturally stronger than others is precisely why weaker people arm themselves, recruiting weapons to their side in order to counteract the advantage that their potential assailants enjoy. Day in, day out, across the world, men beat and abuse women with little more than their fists, sometimes fatally. In the United States alone, more than 800 people are murdered by “hands and fists” each year — twice as many as with all types of rifle. That Michael Brown was unarmed is important. But it is by no means the whole story, and it is certainly not enough to spur claims of innocence. With nothing but his own body, Brown could still have posed a mortal threat to Wilson. He could still have charged Wilson. He could still have gone for Wilson’s gun, as a handful of eyewitnesses suggest that he did. Crucially, he could still have made Officer Wilson reasonably fear for his life. Did he? We have absolutely no idea. Simply saying “he was unarmed,” however, as if it suggests that this must have been an execution? Well, that’s premature and silly.

Equally peculiar is the lamentation that six shots were fired.

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