Before Michael Brown was laid to rest, his father, Michael Brown Sr., asked for a “day of silence” so the family can grieve. People are respecting his request. The story of Michael Brown Jr. is so big, and carries such a weight of history and of current issues, that it almost overshadows the one precious, beloved, unique, irreplaceable human life that was lost.
In the two weeks since Brown’s death, protesters have chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot,” and “No justice, no peace.” Both those phrases get at the heart of it. A social contract is broken, a promise is betrayed, if a person in authority oversteps.
If a policeman murders an unarmed person, he murders justice, too.
If a jury railroads an officer who was in legitimate fear for his life, same thing.
People felt the need to take to the streets for good reasons. I do not know why officer Darren Wilson failed to file a detailed incident report within 24 hours of the shooting. I do not understand why Brown’s body lay in the street for hours. I don’t understand why an officer would shoot an unarmed person six times.
Perhaps only Darren Wilson knows exactly what happened. If he is indicted, it will be up to a jury of his peers to sift out the truth and try their utmost to do justice.
In America, we do not have show trials. We do not make examples of members of certain groups. We do not decide the verdict before the trial. Our laws are real. That is one thing the Constitution promises us all.
The grievances the people marched about in Ferguson were about that promise being broken. Black men and boys are imprisoned too much, murdered too much, expelled from school too much, and stopped and frisked too much.
From the Scottsboro Boys to Emmett Till to Rodney King, justice has not been as blind as she is supposed to be.
She has to be blind for Darren Wilson, too.