Ferguson: Maligning Good Men; Emulating Bad

December 17th, 2014
by LT. COLONEL JAMES G. ZUMWALT, USMC (RET)

In the 1992 movie “A Few Good Men,” a heated courtroom exchange occurred between two main characters-Tom Cruise playing Navy JAG Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee and Jack Nicholson playing hardened Marine Colonel Nathan Jessep-as Kaffee questioned Jessep on the death of an enlisted Marine. Colonel Jessep’s response to Lt. Kaffee’s demand, “I want the truth,” became legendary-voted one of the top 100 most memorable quotes in movie history.

To Kaffee’s demand, an angry Jessep retorted, “You can’t handle truth!” -going on to share the insights of one truly understanding risks taken to protect the protected who do not, or choose not, to understand them.

To make Jessep’s soliloquy relevant to the Ferguson shooting of Michael Brown, four words (italicized below) were changed:

“Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? You?…I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Brown, and you curse the police. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Brown’s death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very protection that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.”

It cannot be ignored -“but for” Michael Brown’s criminal act in robbing a store-no fiery protest would have erupted in Ferguson. Unfortunately, in the wake of the shooting of a criminal suspect resisting arrest, it is disconcerting that protesters felt a sense of entitlement to raise the race issue, ultimately fanning Ferguson’s flames of outrage. This entitlement became a smoke screen to hide an unpleasant truth-and a societal ill.

Unfortunately, this ill extends well beyond Ferguson’s borders.

It was evidenced in an Internet photograph circulated weeks after the Ferguson incident depicting a black protester holding an eye-catching sign. While later determined to have been photo-shopped, nonetheless, the sign still addressed an ugly truth.

It read: “No mother should have to fear for her son’s life every time he robs a store.”

The societal ill is the effort to take the spotlight off of Brown’s underlying crime, instead focusing it on something more palatable for protestors to grasp despite a lack of evidence-i.e., it was not Brown resisting arrest that caused his demise but a police officer’s racially motivated actions in arresting him. Protesters immediately ran with this claim despite the fact the officer involved, Darren Wilson, had no prior history of racism.

Interestingly, while such a history was lacking for Wilson, it was not lacking for one of Ferguson’s lead protesters, Reverend Al Sharpton.

In 1987, Sharpton rushed to judgment to support 15-year old Tawana Brawley’s claim she had been raped by six white men (including by a prosecutor in the case). A grand jury subsequently found the claim false. The falsely accused prosecutor later won a defamation suit against Sharpton and others. With such different racial histories-unblemished for Wilson while tainted for Sharpton-why did the race issue immediately attach to malign the former but not the latter?
Of further note is the absence of personal accountability by Sharpton for making his outrageously false claims. He never had to pay the judgment as supporters paid it on his behalf.

But I digress.

The reality of Ferguson is that a police officer, who just happened to be white and who earlier that same day never considered the race of a sickly black infant he helped save, was simply doing his job when a confrontation evolved with a suspect, who just happened to be black.

Recognizing a man much larger than he as a possible robbery suspect, Wilson attempted to make an arrest. The suspect resisted and a struggle ensued for control of Wilson’s gun. Just as he failed to think twice about the race of the infant he had earlier saved, Wilson was not focusing on this suspect’s race. His thoughts were on but one thing-survival. Not unlike a shark attack, the type of shark attacking is irrelevant to a victim struggling to escape its jaws.

But the example of the photo-shopped sign has been followed by other, real examples promoting the same message. Taken collectively, they are most disturbing-indicative of a society lowering the bar on acceptable behavior.
In Manhattan’s Union Square, a protestor held a sign calling for “Justice please before we see a lot of new Larry Davis(es)-1986 6 cops killed.”

The sign’s author was incorrect concerning the six law enforcement officers. Although Larry Davis had tried to kill them, they were all wounded while seeking to arrest the rapper-turned-drug dealer with an extensive rap sheet on suspicion of committing four murders.

Details concerning Davis’ life of crime were shared in Michelle Malkin’s recent article “The Cop-Killing Cult of Larry Davis.” This was a man who shot a woman in the face and used children for shields as needed, despite boasts he would go out with guns blazing should cops try to arrest him.

He ultimately met a violent end in prison-stabbed to death by a fellow inmate-while serving time for yet another murder. But today, post-Ferguson, as in 1986, he tragically is cited as a “hero” and “symbol of resistance” to be emulated by members of the black community.

Davis was not the only criminal miscreant resurrected by those seeking to give cult status to evildoers in the wake of Ferguson. Calls for emulating the hatred of 1982 convicted cop killer Mumia Abu Jamal and mass killer Christopher Dorner are being heard too. Interestingly, murderers such as these cannot be accused of discrimination-targeting blacks as well as whites.

Sadly, Ferguson protestors, by re-kindling hero worship for evildoers breaching societal walls guarded by police seeking to protect us, invite to live among us a new generation of violent criminals focused on doing us all harm-regardless of ethnicity.

The conduct of Denver protestors supporting those in Ferguson bore witness to yet another example of an unpleasant truth. When an officer escorting them was hit by a car and critically injured, they exhibited no compassion, instead applauding the incident. Ironically, had that car plowed into the protestors instead, that same officer would immediately have been tending to their medical needs.

Shocking too is the recent revelation that some Bronx public defenders participated in a rap video titled “Hands Up” encouraging violence against police. The video depicts guns held by blacks to the heads of police officers.

And what does President Obama do to downplay protestors’ perceived entitlement to raise the race flag? He fans the Ferguson flames.

In a BET interview, he stated, “Part of what I think is so heartbreaking and frustrating for a lot of folks when they watch this is the recognition that simply by virtue of color, you’ve got less margin for error. That’s particularly true for black boys.”

Further, Obama condemned the “deeply rooted” racism of police officers. Amazingly, while quick to condemn our police in this way, he still refuses to condemn Islam’s deeply rooted violence, repeatedly telling us it is a peaceful religion.

All of this flies in the face of a responsible Ferguson grand jury, more than adequately representative of America’s racial make-up, that interviewed 62 witnesses and was entrusted to determine whether sufficient evidence existed that a crime had, in fact, occurred.

Such evidence didn’t fit so the grand jury had to acquit. However, such a standard-acceptable to black communities when O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of a black-on-white murder by a trial jury-is unacceptable to them for a grand jury failing to indict a white accused of a crime against a black.

Ironically, one victim of Brown’s criminal act was twice burned. The owner of the convenience store Brown had robbed, leading to a BOLO (Be On the Look Out) report describing the physically-intimidating suspect Officer Wilson later attempted to arrest, was first victimized by Brown before later being vandalized by looters supposedly acting as Brown’s avengers.

Sadly, Ferguson protesters, as suggested by Colonel Jessep’s soliloquy, jumped on an unfortunate and tragic incident, using it as a “luxury” opportunity to “curse the police.” But promoting a message encouraging violence against police and encouraging blacks to emulate evildoers’ deeds only weakens the societal walls atop which those protecting us stand.

Should those walls come tumbling down and evildoers rush in, Colonel Jessep’s challenge to Kaffee as to who then will protect us is most prophetic: “Whose gonna do it? You?”

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