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The Ferguson ‘conversation’

Apologists say riots are the only way this “community” can make itself heard, but what they really want is for everyone else to shut up.

Of all the many foolish things said – and terrible things done – after a grand jury handed down no indictments of Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, the most idiotic defense of rioting is that it’s the only way an “oppressed” population can “make its voice heard.”  That’s especially rich given the nonstop saturation coverage this particular incident garnered in the media since Day One.  If Ferguson protesters really want to learn what it’s like to be part of a mass movement that can’t get any favorable attention from the media, they should try joining the Tea Party for a while.

Or maybe they could chat with representatives of the Bosnian community in St. Louis.  There’s been virtually zero media coverage of the brutal murder of Bosnian immigrant Zemir Begic on Sunday, despite a large and entirely peaceful protest intended to draw attention to this heinous crime, and other incidents of racist violence.  Begic was sitting in his car at an intersection when a gang of “juveniles” assaulted his car.  When he stepped out to confront them, he was beaten to death with hammers in front of his wife.  The same mob reportedly assaulted at least one other person on the same night; two of them are now in custody.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on the murder and subsequent protests – and took about 20 paragraphs to get around to explaining why the Bosnian community is so upset – but nobody in Big Media seems interested, because it would complicate the racial Narrative they’ve been working so hard to spin out of the Brown shooting:

Begic and his family came to the United States from Bosnia in 1996, moving first to Utica, N.Y., before settling in Waterloo, Iowa, said his sister, Denisa Begic. She said he moved to Phoenix, where he worked as a moving truck driver before returning briefly to Iowa. He moved to St. Louis several months ago and married a woman, Arijana, whose family lives in St. Louis.

Singing was one of his passions, and he often performed in public.

??He loved America,? said Denisa Begic, 23, of Sioux Falls, S.D. ??We come from Bosnia because we were getting killed and our homes and families were getting destroyed. Never in my life did I think he would get murdered.?

She said she knows some Bosnians are upset over her brother??s death because they believe the suspects, who are black and Hispanic, targeted Begic because he was Bosnian. She said she wants people to know her brother would not have judged them because of their race; he had friends of many racial and ethnic backgrounds.

??He loved everybody,? she said. ??I don??t know what to think of it. It??s so wrong what they did. They didn??t just hurt Zemir??s family. They also hurt their own family because I??m pretty sure their moms will never see them again.?

Denisa Begic said her brother??s funeral would be in Iowa, and that a fundraising site has been set up to help with funeral expenses.

??I hope justice is served for my brother because he didn??t deserve this at all,? she said.

Nor does he deserve to be ignored in death, but he’s just one of the many humdrum murders the media doesn’t find useful for storytelling purposes.  Most importantly, no well-connected racialist pressure groups are going to pull Big Media producers out of their Rolodex and email them helpful “context” to get a press avalanche rolling.  Democrats don’t feel any need to pander to the Bosnian vote.  Anyone who watched the Trayvon Martin story explode from a minor local police-blotter piece with fairly accurate reporting into a national mushroom cloud of utter B.S. knows how powerful the influence of political organizations with good Party credentials on Big Media reporting can be.  The press will run with just about anything that comes from certain email addresses.

What’s the point of having racialist potentates like Al Sharpton – who receives unlimited access to the media and fawning attention from Democrat Party power brokers, and is apparently exempt from paying taxes – if your “movement” still doesn’t feel its voice is being heard?  The media has gone out of its way to spread the (entirely false) “Hands up, Don’t Shoot” meme and portray the mob in an absurdly non-judgmental, or even favorable, light.  They’ve gone out of their way to downplay the violence and thug tactics.  They’ve most certainly worked to get the incoherent “message” of the Ferguson mob onto front pages and nightly news broadcasts.  There is not the slightest hint of anyone in Big Media suggesting that the “protest” tactics are a more important story than their message, as they would do with groups they frown upon.

On the contrary, when Rich Lowry of National Review interrupted a little Beltway sermon about how suburban whites don’t “get” racism because they live in mostly-white communities, and pointed out that the real “lessons” of Ferguson include “Don’t rob a convenience story” and “don’t fight a policeman when he stops you and try to take his gun,” the rest of the Meet the Press panel reacted with indignant disbelief.  Lowry was accused of “re-litigating” Brown’s death, even though he was merely stating what the actual litigation determined:

What you’re seeing here is a media apparatus determined to link all sorts of peripheral issues to the Brown case, sussing out “deeper meanings” and pretending that even completely false beliefs held by the protesters retain some validity, while Lowry runs the bull of truth through their china shop of ideology by pointing out that none of the big Narratives they’re so eager to discuss has any real relevance to what transpired between Wilson and Brown.  Brown pulled a strong-arm robbery, behaved in a way that drew the attention of a passing cop, grew belligerent during the encounter, and was shot in self-defense.  It’s appropriate for police forces across the country to dissect the incident and study it for ways in which they might improve their techniques, and it is appropriate for everyone to respect the mournful gravity of a human death, but Lowry is exactly correct about the important lessons that members of every “community” should draw from what actually happened.  If Michael Brown didn’t rob a store or get violent with a police officer, he’d still be alive.

But even as the media culture swoons into fainting couches at the utterance of such simple common sense, riot apologists are claiming the only way for the “community” to make itself heard is to shut down intersections, swarm shopping malls, vandalize buildings, and loot stores.  Absolutely nothing the Ferguson mob is doing has any connection to genteel and honorable “free speech,” which involves securing permits and conducting peaceful rallies under safe, well-lit conditions.  The fact that so many of these protests are held at night, in public spaces, makes them automatically suspect, and more dangerous than they need to be… but that’s the point, isn’t it?  You’re not just supposed to hear these protesters – you’re supposed to be intimidated by them.  You’re not supposed to respond.  As with so many other “conversations” in our increasingly totalitarian culture, only one side is meant to be speaking, and the audience must be forced to listen.

You can’t even escape into the refuge of popular entertainment, as five St. Louis Rams players decided to run onto the field for Sunday’s game in the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” pose, prompting the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association to demand an apology.  As quoted by Fox News, the football players were clear about how the tides of Narrative have swept away the actual facts of the case:

Prior to kickoff of their game against the Oakland Raiders, Rams wide receivers Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt came out together and raised their hands, but the move was obscured by a smoke machine in the upper reaches of the Edward Jones Dome. Jared Cook, Stedman Bailey and Chris Givens then came out and stood together with hands raised in the fog.

“I just think there has to be a change,” Cook said after the Rams’ 52-0 win. “There has to be a change that starts with the people that are most influential around the world.

No matter what happened on that day, no matter how the whole situation went down, there has to be a change.

Coach Jeff Fisher said he’d not been aware the gesture had been planned by the players, all of them black.

Cook said players have been too busy to go to Ferguson, plus “it’s kind of dangerous down there and none of us want to get caught up in anything.”

“It takes some guts, it takes some heart, so I admire the people around the world that have been doing it,” he added.

SLPOA Business Manager Jeff Roorda was quoted in a statement released by the organization as saying ” All week long, the Rams and the NFL were on the phone with the St. Louis Police Department asking for assurances that the players and the fans would be kept safe from the violent protesters who had rioted, looted, and burned buildings in Ferguson … then, as the players and their fans sit safely in their dome under the watchful protection of hundreds of St. Louis’s finest, they take to the turf to call a now-exonerated officer a murderer, that is way out-of-bounds, to put it in football parlance.”

This is the flip side of the point Rich Lowry made on Meet the Press: the simple lessons that should be drawn from what actually happened are broomed aside by bullshit artists who keep pouring venom into a toxic mythology.  The facts don’t matter.  The facts are less than irrelevant, because the media wing of the Ferguson mob doesn’t want you to simply forget about what happened between Wilson and Brown; they want you to keep thinking and talking about their false version of the event.  And yet, they’ll simultaneously insist that they have to break all sorts of laws – including the ones governing peaceable and orderly demonstrations – because otherwise they won’t be heard.  As for the “change” they keep talking about, don’t ask them for specifics; aside from a vague demand that Officer Wilson should be stripped of his constitutional rights and offered to them as a sacrifice, their ideas for “change” have little or nothing to do with what occurred during the Brown shooting.

This isn’t a “conversation” or “dialogue” – it’s a set of one-sided demands from the mob, its organizers, and opportunistic politicians.  The people making the demands grow very upset at the suggestion they should do anything differently, even as the results of their behavior include an atmosphere of nearly constant peril for members of their community… of which the menace of trigger-happy white cops is a very, very minor component, but it’s the only component they want to talk about, because that’s the only topic that completely absolves them of all responsibility.

Over the holiday weekend,  protesters targeted Black Friday and caused chaos at some shopping malls; Officer Wilson formally resigned from the Ferguson Police Department due to “credible threats” against himself and other officers; and President Obama announced he would start holding meetings with “his Cabinet, civil rights leaders, law enforcement officials, and others,” a prospect that should fill law-abiding Americans with dread, given how every other project Barack Obama involved himself in has turned out.  You don’t need big meetings with Cabinet officials in Washington to tell people that robbing stores and assaulting cops is wrong.  The rule of law is compromised by conceding that maybe Brown should have been allowed to take what he wanted from that store, or maybe he should have been able to hit Wilson a certain number of times without consequence, or maybe the whole situation was heaved up by tectonic social forces, making Brown and Wilson (but especially Brown) the hapless puppet of agencies beyond their control.  We’re no closer to having anything like a rational and productive “conversation” about what happened, because the people who want to discuss what actually happened are drowned out, or angrily instructed to shut up.

 

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Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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