On Monday night and into the early morning hours Tuesday, we watched as some of Ferguson, Mo., literally burned to the ground.
We watched as rioters chanted, “hands up, don’t shoot,” as they set fire to businesses, stole merchandise and fired random gunshots.
All of this was supposedly designed to protest what the rioters felt was an injustice for Michael Brown, a black teenager shot and killed by white police Officer Darren Wilson. The narrative they are spouting is that Brown was a poor, innocent victim viciously executed by an uncaring, evil police officer with murder on his mind. And he was wronged when the grand jury decided not to indict Wilson in the shooting.
But what about the facts?
Clearly, the grand jury had more facts, more evidence and more witnesses than any of the rioters in Ferguson who believe they know the truth, or any of the media that has fanned the flames of this disaster.
What we do know is that Brown was an unarmed black male and Wilson was a white police officer who shot him to death. That sounds cut and dry, until you look at the evidence and conflicting witness testimony.
The fact is at least one shot was fired inside Wilson’s squad car. The officer and several witnesses testified the trigger was pulled during a struggle while Brown was reaching for Wilson’s gun.
We also know Brown ran away after he was shot in that car, then stopped and turned back toward Wilson. But witness accounts vary as to whether Brown turned back to surrender or to attack Wilson. Clearly, the grand jury, which listened to 70 hours of testimony from more than 60 witnesses, believed the latter.
Another fact we know is that a mother and father lost their child. No matter what the circumstances, no one can ever heal their pain.
And we know that a police officer doing his job had his life changed forever. How long will it be until Wilson can walk the streets and not fear for his life? Can he ever?
But the facts simply didn’t matter to the crowd that decided, long before the grand jury reached its decision, to riot, regardless of the outcome. These men and women came armed with weapons, booze, drugs and a thirst for revenge.
They spent the night destroying the livelihoods of innocent business owners and pelting reporters, including CNN’s Sara Sidner, with rocks.
In the days and weeks to come, you will hear Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan and a hodgepodge of race-baiting opportunists preach about how black lives matter. You will hear them tell you how racism in America is the cause of all the strife and grief black people face.
What you won’t hear is that black people are more often murdered by other black people than anyone else.
A 2007 U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics report showed that nearly 8,000 black people were murdered in America in 2005. Blacks accounted for 13 percent of the U.S. population but were the victims in approximately half the murders in the nation that year. In 93 percent of those cases, their killer was also black. That’s a sad set of statistics.
Yes, black lives do matter. They matter as much as the lives of any person of any race. But facts also matter, and it’s time we start using them more and using propaganda and hate speech less.
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