I went this whole winter without getting sick but now, in the last month, I find my throat is scratchy and my skin hurts. Obviously, I’m not sick. That would mar my perfect record. And I’m fencing in Bozeman tomorrow, so regardless of the condition of my immune system, I am by definition healthy enough to poke and get poked with car antennas. The trick is to ignore the feedback coming from your body. It’s an illusion, as any religion will tell you. Just don’t think about all the people you know who have died, and all the depictions of people sickened unto death that you have seen in movies. Today is Friday, and too much movie make your heart weak. Won’t you push through with me?
For the last week or so, one of my favorite Twitter feeds has been Yes, You’re Racist, which retweets racist posts about Ferguson. It’s awesome for several reasons, one of which is the irony of people who want to use a global platform to disseminate their views freaking out when people across the globe read their views. That’s good fun. I’m mostly a believer in shame as an enforcement tool, but it’s important to remember that not everyone on the internet is speaking with her own voice. Consider Brianna Rivera, who became the object of a campaign to get her fired from her job after her ex-boyfriend spoofed her Facebook account to post racist status updates. Props to Willy for the link. Today is December 2, 2014, and you can frame people for racism now.
As details emerge from the grand jury investigation into Darren Wilson’s fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, commentators are crying foul. The New York Times editorial board issued a scathing indictment of the decision not to indict, saying that prosecutor Robert McCulloch—“widely viewed in the minority community as being in the pockets of the police”—handled the proceedings “in the worst possible way.” The National Bar Association issued a press release “questioning how the grand jury, considering the evidence before them, could reach the conclusion that Darren Wilson should not be indicted” and called for federal charges. Meanwhile, at Vox, Ezra Klein has called Wilson’s account of the shooting “literally unbelievable.”
Yesterday, a grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed back teenager Michael Brown. The decision was made in the morning but not announced until 8pm, presumably to encourage would-be protestors toward sleep. That did not work. The National Guard protected the local police station, freeing police officers to disperse protests and then quell riots. From the White House, President Obama called for calm. “First and foremost, we are a nation built on the rule of law,” he said. “And so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make.” Meanwhile, at Five Thirty-Eight, Nate Silver observed that of the 162,000 cases that went before federal grand juries in 2010, only 11 declined indictments.
Perhaps the most jarring element in the lede to this Times story about the militarization of local police departments is the appearance of “silencers” on the list of equipment the federal government gives to police. Obviously, cops need silencers so they can fire their guns without people knowing about it. They need body armor so that combat in the streets poses little threat to them, automatic rifles so they can spray a bunch of bullets in a short period of time, and mine-resistant trucks so they can make music videos. And we need something to do with surplus military equipment since 9/11.