The news from Ferguson last night was not good.
Listening to the radio at my kitchen table reminded me of waiting for the OJ verdict twenty years ago, in a co-worker's car en route to a meeting, both of us holding our breaths, the jaw-dropping surprise us white knuckleheads felt when we heard "not guilty."
Last night as I listened to the prosecutor run down a painfully long list of defenses, it seemed clear that there would be no indictment.
My social media blew up. Speaking of knuckleheads, several of my Midwestern family members posted some pretty offensive shit. Mostly, among my friends, I saw disappointment, anger, not much disbelief, moms worried for their kids' safety, pissed off activists, plain-old-bewildered people.
I still feel sad and mostly helpless. The system is working as it's designed to, someone said today, and I realized she's right.
DailyKos had some good analysis:
--the questions no one asked
--prosecutor as defense attorney
I'm reading the documents released on the Washington Post.
And bits of this essay stick in my head:
--I'm deeply and profoundly disappointed and honestly lack the words to explain my emotions right now. It's a frustration in which a man doesn't feel much like writing. It's an exhaustion in which one has hoped just one too many times for justice, only for it to escape in the fleeting fashion that is sadly familiar in cases of young black men killed by police officers all over this country.
--I had hoped officers would be found guilty when they were found beating Rodney King senseless. It was on video. We all saw it. They were acquitted.
--I had hoped officers would be found guilty when they fired 41 shots at an unarmed Amadou Diallo standing in his doorstep. They were acquitted.
--I had hoped the officers who fired 50 shots into Sean Bell's car as he left his bachelor party would be found guilty. They were acquitted.
--I had hoped the officers who shot and killed football star Kendrec McDade—after they lied about him shooting at them first—would at least go to court, but the grand jury said they were justified.
--I had hoped the officers who chased Ramarley Graham into his home and killed him would at least be tried, but they weren't
--I had hoped the officers who shot and killed John Crawford in Wal-Mart would be cited somehow, but the grand jury found they were justified.
--Now, here we are, with a young man who ran over half a football field away, after a confrontation with Officer Darren Wilson, only to be shot over and over again.
--I had hoped Wilson would at least face these charges in an open court of law, but it will not happen.
Change is gonna come, another friend posted, with a link to Sam Cooke.
I hope she's right.
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A couple of weeks ago I collaborated with the indubitable thad wenatchee and others to write a radio play. See more on how it went:
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Check out my new video, a brief reading from a story published this past spring in Opossum.