WASHINGTON, November 25, 2014 – Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri made two major miscalculations: 1.) He didn’t think he needed to pay for the $48.99 box of Swisher Sweets cigars he boosted from a QuikTrip gas station; 2.) When officer Darren Wilson pulled his SIG Sauer .40-caliber handgun from its holster and pointed it at the belligerent Brown, the unarmed youth said Wilson was “too much of a p—y to shoot me,” and attempted to disarm the officer.
That faulty reasoning cost Brown his life.
At a Monday evening press conference, Saint Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch said the 12-member grand jury “worked tirelessly to examine and re-examine all of the testimony of the witnesses and all of the physical evidence… They heard from the three medical examiners and experts on blood, DNA, toxicology, firearms and drug analysis. They examined hundreds of photographs… They determined that no probable cause exists to file any charges against Officer Wilson and return a no true bill on each of the five indictments. The physical and scientific evidence examined by the grand jury combined with a witness statement supported and substantiated by that physical evidence held the accurate and tragic story of what happened.”
Meanwhile, a self-selecting grand jury of sorts gathered in the streets of Ferguson and rioted on hearing the news. “Police later said they came under heavy automatic weapon fire, and some buildings were left to burn because of the danger,” USA Today reported.
Ferguson Mayor James Knowles told a local television station that his request for National Guard troops to the state’s governor went “unheeded.”
Around 25 buildings burnt to the ground.
The actions of the two grand juries mentioned above demonstrate diametrically opposed ideas of justice. The first kind of justice requires a duly appointed grand jury to sift through hours of eyewitness testimony to see if it corresponds with the more reliable scientific evidence before rendering an informed decision.
The second form of justice, that of the mob, requires the simultaneous arrest, conviction and hanging of the target. Should said target escape immediate arrest, conviction and hanging, shooting, looting and arson will soon follow.
Justice for the former is a logical, methodical and objective process.
Justice for the latter is a preordained subjective procedure with an explosive outcome that mindlessly penalizes at random.
In one of Monday evening’s more ironic moments, President Obama took to the airwaves and made an appeal for calm. “We are a nation built on the rule of law,” said Obama, “so we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make.”
The making of law is a process requiring legislators, committee hearings and an eventual vote. This process is governed by a charter… a Constitution; hence the phrase, “We are a nation of laws and not men.”
President Obama recently announced he had special powers (executive “discretion”) in deciding which provisions of U.S. immigration law to enforce, which to ignore and which to expand – a singular power to write and execute U.S. law.
“We have to remember that this [immigration] debate is about something bigger. It’s about who we are as a country, and who we want to be for future generations,” said the president.
That means the president’s actions are based on outcomes (as HE defines them) and not on processes governed by legally defined spheres of delegated powers.
In that sense, President Obama is a lawless mob of one, doing great violence upon the Constitution’s “rule of law.”
And he is a fitting role model for the lawlessness of Ferguson – from those breaking the law to those that feel the process of law should be overthrown because they don’t like its well-reasoned outcome.