I’ve avoided talking too much about the murder of Michael Brown, because there really isn’t much to say. It is very much like school shootings: these are avoidable tragedies, but the power elite aren’t interested in doing anything about them. I did write an article about it last week, Michael Brown Murder Uncovers Deeply Flawed Local Policing. In that article, I compared Michael Brown to Andy Lopez, a young man in my home town who was killed by an officer who mistook his toy gun for a real one.
In the article, I noted that the officer shot Lopez seven times in six seconds. When the shooting was investigated, the authorities found that the officer acted appropriately. But here’s the key, “And if you check the internet about the killing, most of what you will see is that Lopez was high on cannabis, as though that has anything to do with the situation.”
So I was not surprised when I read in the Washington Post, County Investigation: Michael Brown Was Shot From the Front, Had Marijuana in His System. This has no obvious relevance to the shooting. Just like the release of video from a convenience store robbery, it is being used to tarnish Brown’s reputation—to throw doubt into the public discussion.
Note how callous this is. The unstated message is that Michael Brown was a bad kid (or might have been) and therefore it was justified to kill him. And for a large swath of America, their only real experience with cannabis is government propaganda that is one step up from Reefer Madness. For them, someone under the influence of the drug could have done anything. It’s like all those old scare stories about PCP. So suddenly Michael Brown was some wild man who could have broken out of handcuffs.
To make matters worse, the man who did the autopsy for Brown’s parents, Michael Baden was on Fox News speculating about the toxicology report that he hadn’t seen. The whole thing is very much the way that Fox News wants to push this. Greta Van Susteren asked, “Does the fact that they found marijuana, does that exclude the fact that there might be other drugs in his system or even that the marijuana was laced with anything?” We don’t even know that the cannabis levels indicate that he was high. It is possible that the drugs are from days or even weeks before.
This is all so predictable. It’s like they teach this in police training, “After you needlessly kill a young man, do everything you can to vilify him, even if you have to make stuff up. Then wait a few months, release a report that exonerates the officer. And hold a press conference about starting a dialog and the need for healing.” It is sickening in its premeditation. It is boring in its familiarity.