Thursday, December 4, 2014

Sometimes I Get It Wrong

Personally, I feel better when I point it out and admit that I've made a mistake, taken a wrong turn, or conveyed bad information.  I will do it here when it makes sense. 

My position with regard to Michael Brown has evolved with the evidence.  I don't like the militarization of our police departments.  I think police officers are far too quick to shoot.  I don't think gunning down little kids with toy guns who are not a threat can be justified in the name of "officer safety".  That said, it appears that Michael Brown got himself killed. 

I ran across this on Ace of Spades.  It's talking about a somewhat misleading chart of witness testimony used by PBS to create doubts about the grand jury's decision. 

Here is the original.

Here is the JPG of a version that expands on the oversimplified PBS visual.

Both these links are in the Ace post. 

Meanwhile, Denninger, with whom I usually agree, conflates the grand jury process in Ferguson with a Staten Island grand jury which failed to indict an officer in the killing of Eric Garner.  The circumstances surrounding Garner's death from being placed in a chokehold are much clearer and did indeed call for an indictment. 

Grand juries often indict innocent people.  I would not have been upset if an indictment had been returned against Wilson which would have given us an opportunity to hear the evidence under thorough cross examination.  That didn't happen, and I can understand why.

As it stands, the testimony of the various eyewitnesses is not all equal.  Testimony that plainly contradicts or is inconsistent with the significant physical evidence does not bear much weight.  I don't give much credence to what Wilson says, except that it seems to agree with most of the blood and ballistic evidence.

Denninger, in an earlier post, attempts to make a case that Brown's facial injuries are not consistent with Wilson's claim that the young man was charging him right up until the final, fatal shot through the top of the head.  Here's the gist of his argument:     

But note the fact that this encounter occurred and Brown went down on pavement.
Wilson said he went down at a full run, face-first, with enough momentum to throw his feet up over his back.
Yet the autopsies do not contain any evidence of 300+ lb Brown's face being turned into hamburger by said full-run impact onto the road -- an impact that Officer Wilson says, both on TV and under oath, occurred...

Actually, the autopsy does contain evidence that Brown went down hard on his face.  It's noted in the JPG linked above which lists "ABRASIONS TO THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE FOREHEAD AND CHEEK".  That's exactly what one would expect if Brown fell on his face running forward after the last shot through the top of the head. 

I, too, have gone down at speed on various surfaces, from concrete to asphalt to gravel.  In addition, I killed a number of animals with headshots.  The body of an deer, for example, killed by a round into the brain typically jerks and thrashes quite a bit, especially if the animal had already gone into flight-or-fight mode with adrenaline being dumped into the system.  It's quite conceivable that Brown's arms might have been thrown convulsively.  In any case, I do not think a person can make a definitive statement about the degree of damage done to a man's face under those circumstances. 

Denninger believes that Brown's face should have been "hamburger".  For guys fifty and sixty years old, you'd get some pretty severe damage.  At eighteen, my skin was thicker and more resilient than it is now. "Hamburger" is what road rash looks like if you get off at 60 mph and land on bare skin.  I know.  "Abrasions" are what you get if you are running 10 mph (i.e., 6-minute-mile speed) and trip.  It will hurt like the dickens and take off some of the epidermis, but it will not be several layers deep.

The hamburger comment is rhetorical and incendiary.  Beware.   


  1. We are all human Brotha

  2. Yes, we are. We have our life experiences and our points of view. It would be good if we could discuss them rationally. I know one thing: I am sick of "race".

  3. Here here!!!

    Race-baiting stooges coming outta the woodwork, even all the way down here,
    Gives me the fuckin shits!!!