Ammo Grrrll returns with DAYENU – Meditation on the Anniversary of Michael Brown’s Death. She writes:
As has been pointed out many, many times recently, when dozens of young Black men a week get killed by other Black men, it doesn’t even make a ripple in the Black Lives Matter crowd. I once saw the following one-paragraph summation in the Chicago paper on about page 32: “A 16-year-old youth was killed Saturday night when he was stabbed in the head with a screwdriver by his friend in a fight over who would get to drive the car they had just stolen.”(Screwdrivers kill. Clearly, they should be banned. Not for nothing is my house a Screwdriver-Free Zone.)
But let that same “16-year-old youth” (who could easily be 6’2” and 250 lbs.) get shot by a cop of a different color, pursuing the stolen car and it’s “he only had a screwdriver and some Skittles!” So let’s revisit the original incident where this year-long round of riots all began. I have a few additional thoughts on the Michael Brown disaster if you will bear with me. They are not amusing ones, I’m sorry to say. Some days there’s just nothing funny to say, your mission as a Friday humorist, notwithstanding. Next week, I promise.
Near the end of the Passover Seder, the celebrants sing a song called “Dayenu” which means “It would have been enough.” It goes on for roughly as long as I was in labor, (17 hours, in case it comes up on a quiz show) but the idea of it is a hymn of praise and thanks to the Almighty saying, “If you had just brought us out of Egypt” Dayenu. It would have been enough. “If you would have only parted the Red Sea,” Dayenu. It would have been enough. “If you had only given us the Torah.” Dayenu. You get the idea.
This song came unbidden to my mind as I thought about all the chances Michael Brown had to save his own life.
If he had only shot some buckets or played a video game instead of getting high and deciding that filching some smokes from a convenience store was a bright idea, he would be alive. At least until the next time he decided to commit a crime. Dayenu.
If The Gentle Giant had not decided as a parting shot to rough up the store clerk who was half his size. Maybe the clerk wouldn’t even have called in the theft. What’s a few cigars? Dayenu.
If, after stealing and assaulting, he had just walked away as unobtrusively as a 300-lb. Man can and not swaggered down the middle of the street, he would be alive today. If, when the officer approached him in his car, he had answered politely, and moved out of the street, he would be alive today. Dayenu.
If, when the officer approached him in his car and noticed that he fit the description of the shoplifter who assaulted the store clerk, he had said, “I’m sorry, officer, I was loaded and acted stupid. Here’s the cigars and I want to apologize to the clerk,” he would be alive today. Almost certainly he would have been able to plead down the assault charge to 5th degree and if he returned the stolen merchandise, they would have let that go, too. “Justice” today is all about plea-bargaining. And several hundred “last chances.”
If, once he made his decision to go after the cop, he had slugged him once and not grabbed at the gun, he would be in seriously deep do-do, but probably still alive. Now, he’s got assaulting an officer to go with shoving the clerk and the petty theft, but Officer Wilson was clearly no hothead. If Brown backs up, hands up, as the narrative pretends to go, and says, “I’m sorry; I’m sorry, that was stupid, I won’t resist any further,” he is probably alive.
If, after he grabs for the gun, it goes off, and he begins to run, he stops, turns, raises his hands and goes down to his knees or prone on the ground, waiting to be arrested, he might get roughed up a bit upon being “helped” into the squad car, but he is alive.
Even after he charges again and again and is shot multiple times, if he had stopped, gone to the ground with his hands locked behind his head, he is probably alive, headed for a hospital at taxpayer expense and then warehoused for a lot of his life, also at taxpayer expense. Apparently, it was the final head shot that killed him.
A senseless pointless crime. Cigars that could have been purchased for a few lousy dollars. Compounded by escalating stupidity of responses on Brown’s part. A young man, with people who loved him, is dead. Another young man’s life and career are in tatters. A town is in misery. Businesses are looted and burned. The social fabric is rent once again. The forces of division and evil are doing their best to widen the rift from the highest reaches of political power to looting thugs – yes, thugs! – who just couldn’t live without that can of purloined Pringles.
For awhile there, morons were invading brunch places and confronting white people who had nothing to do with Mr. Brown or any other dead criminal of any color. The plague spreads. To Baltimore. To Texas. Where next? The ginned-up, sometimes hired, rage is stoked – for political gain, for jockeying for position, for profit in “Hands up” t-shirts; for fame on the talk shows; for a platform for Sharpton. To keep Black voters angry and mobilized. For professional race-baiters to write about as evidence of white people’s endemic racism. Ah yes, my healing President, it’s just in our DNA. Since you are half-white, how’s that racist DNA going for you?