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The Ferguson Debacle

One cop’s random thoughts on the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, and some of the people involved in them.

Jack Dunphy


August 26, 2014 - 10:16 pm
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The Media

About ten years ago, I learned a valuable lesson in how some news reporters operate.  There had been a series of racially charged incidents between black and Hispanic residents in South Central Los Angeles, and on this particular day the friction erupted in a chaotic scene at a public high school.  Scores of students engaged in a melee on the campus at lunchtime, requiring a large police response to restore order.  Anxious parents, already aware of previous incidents at the school, heard the sirens and the police helicopter and flocked to the streets outside the campus, which remained closed while officers sorted out the mess inside the gates.

Out on the street, I watched as a Los Angeles Times reporter worked the crowd, scribbling on her notepad as she moved from one group of parents to the next.  Finally she came to one woman, the loudest and most obnoxious in the entire gathering, who railed on and on with complaints about the school, the police, and anything else she could think of while the reporter did her best to scratch it all down.  When the story appeared in the Times the next day, this was the only person found worthy of a lengthy quote, this despite the fact that I had seen the reporter speaking with any number of calmer, more reasonable people.  The reporter, and/or her editors, made the conscious choice to present only the most inflammatory version of what had happened at the school.

What we have seen on television since the death of Michael Brown is this same media mindset but on a far larger scale.  It’s not that the reporting out of Ferguson has been deliberately false, it’s that so much of it has been sensationalistic and produced with the clear objective of furthering controversy.  Controversy sells newspapers and draws viewers for television news programs.  And in the present case, it gives New York- and Washington-based reporters the opportunity to get out on the streets in flyover country so they can later pretend to understand what has happened.

There has been a competition among people in the media to see who can find the angriest person and haul him before a camera and a microphone.  This has resulted in some awkward moments on the air, as when CNN’s Don Lemon interviewed rapper Talib Kweli, who felt the newsman, in failing to properly introduce himself, had not accorded him the proper level of respect.  It’s hard to say which of them came away looking sillier, Kweli for his childish display of entitlement, or Lemon for his acquiescing to it.

Even worse has been the willingness displayed by reporters and talking heads to perpetuate the poisonous myth that the greatest danger facing young black men on America’s streets is the threat of police officers looking to shoot them without provocation.  Examples abound, but perhaps the most egregious I came across was on (where else?) MSNBC, where an exchange between Hardball host Chris Matthews, columnist Eugene Robinson, and attorney Michelle Bernard descended into absurdity when Bernard spoke of America’s “war on black boys.”

“Is somebody going to shoot me?” Bernard quoted her 11-year-old son as asking.  And she went further: “My daughter watched the news and looked at me and she said, ‘Why is it that they only do this to black people?’”

Pity the children being raised on such foolishness.  Even if one accepts the allegation that there was no legal justification for the officer to shoot Michael Brown, there remains the stubborn fact that for every black male killed by a police officer in the United States, about 60 are killed by other black males.  I suspect that both Matthews and Robinson know this, but neither of them dared challenge Bernard’s patent nonsense.  But why let reality get in the way of a good myth?

This desire to propagate the myth is manifested in other forms, as well, such as the suppression, or even outright distortion, of information that runs counter to it.  Witness NBC’s editing of George Zimmerman’s 911 call to police shortly before he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, and CNN’s on-air speculation that Zimmerman used a racial slur during the same call.  How long did it take before we saw photographs depicting the extent of Zimmerman’s injuries?  And recall the Duke lacrosse case, in which exculpatory evidence was suppressed not only by the media but even the prosecutor himself.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Anybody else notice how this minor riot in a small ghetto suddenly blasted all mention of the Southern Invasion off the news? Almost as if it was used as a diversion...
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mr. Dunphy, your first instinct regarding the sniper rifle at Ferguson was correct.

They did not know what they were doing. Really. They had the weapon, but clearly hadn't read the manual for how to use it.

A blunder that any infantry leader would recognize. Where was that sniper?

We have all seen the images of a cop playing soldier with his scope and tripod equipped rifle, sitting on top of the armored vehicle at the barricade. Front and center, facing the mob.


A sniper can effectively control a fairly narrow (but deep) field of fire. He can't effectively observe and engage targets off to his flanks, not without re-positioning, and especially not without a spotter. He's got to focus on what's ahead- in his sector.

If you want your sniper keeping the whole battle area in his sector, he's got to be deployed well behind the front, on a high point. If you want his sector to cut across the battle area, you position him on a flank. Positioning front and center and obvious is ridiculous. It's incompetent.

This isn't a brave public defender with the latest in gear.
Anyone who knows how snipers work sees a buffoon showing off his toy.

Now, you may say, hey, Swami, just because you know how to deploy a sniper on a battlefield doesn't mean you know how to use snipers when confronting a riot.

At which point I would say, read the Good Book, in particular, FM 3-19.15, Civil Disturbance Operations. Read about snipers and "lethal overwatch" and how and where they are deployed, and with what functions. I think the US Army knows a little more about use of snipers than these goons in blue.

The Ferguson PD's deployment of their sniper was so incompetent that it calls all their other skills into question.

26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's not rocket science; since the 60's Black America
Has Been freed from the slavery of the plantation only to
Be duped into another, more subtle but more
Sinister and diabolically lethal form of slavery, by
Enterprising Self interested black leaders, charlatans like
Jessie Jackson and ex-pimp Sharpie Sharpton. And worse
The Democratic Party. They have used the false narrative
Of perpetual victimization by racism to bind generations
Of African Americans to line their pockets and ballots, insuring
Full time luxury suites for themselves and their cronies.
The real hope for American Blacks can only be found in
Conservative Black spokesmen like Herman Cain, Ben Carson,
And growing numbers of other brave Black Souls who
Are hunted down not by night riders in white robes but
Chi-town political militiamen and left wing media hit men.
Fifty years of shameless enforced politically driven slavery.
Who indeed will take them to the promised land?
Not the Democratic slavemasters that's for damned sure!

26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (94)
All Comments   (94)
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I live on the East Coast. I went to a department store yesterday and when I tried to walk down an aisle there was a black woman with a stroller and a little boy standing next to her blocking the aisle. She wasn't paying any attention to the boy and I politely said "kind sir would please move closer to mommy so I may get by" He smiled at me and put his hand out for me to shake it and I reached for his hand. The mother suddenly turned her head and said "excuse me, excuse me, excuse me!!" She put her arm up as if to hit me before realizing where she was and that people had stopped to watch her. I said nothing because I realized it wasn't the fact that I spoke to her son that bothered her but that fact that I'm white. I'm a 55 year old disabled female so I couldn't have run off with him. I was actually embarrassed for her and the store security was on the spot asking if I wanted to call the police. I said no because I couldn't see what lesson this poor boy with such a lovely smile would take away with him.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Never Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste." Rahm Emmanuel's prophetic words since assuming Executive Branch status leadership in Obama's First Term in Office. Ferguson, MO is a case in point. Completely dominated all TV, Radio, Talk Shows and the like for weeks...literally wiped off the map any IRS, NSA, Benghazi, et all scandals surrounding this White House, its staff and advisors. Dovetailed with Congress' Recess and halting of committee investigations. When Congress comes back from recess, a new set of priorities and "crisis" will manifest itself for Congress' undivided attention and investigation. Folks, see a pattern in this administrations actions? Always keep We The People and its Representative form of government on the defensive. That's their game plan! Wear down the opposition with so much flimflammery, it obfuscates Obama's true "Domestic Agenda!" The "Collectivization" of America and Her Citizens. Wake-up to this "game playing" strategy by this largest, most pervasive international criminal organization yet foisted off on all mankind. Pray. Amen. God Bless America.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
18 Black animals Raped a 11 year old Mex girl in Cleveland Tx over a 3 day peroid in 2011 Not one negro family in Cleveland was burned out or racist parades againt Negros. All 18 were convicted. And no Jessie or Al showed up no Obama-that could of been my daughter and no racist Holder. Guess rape pillage and burn only happens in! Lack hoods
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Very good article, except for one sentence where even this otherwise sound author may have bought the leftie spin:
"It’s no doubt true that Officer Wilson was unaware of Brown’s role in the robbery minutes earlier. "
The latest story I heard is there were 2 phases to the confronttion. In the 1st, the officers told them to get out of the street, after some atitude they eventually complied, and that 1st confrontation ended. Then the officers heard about the robbery on the radio, and realized brown might be a suspect, and confronted him again for questioning about the robbery. That 2nd confrontation, where the officer already knew that Brown was a robbery suspect, and where Brown violently atttacked him, was the one that ended with a shooting.
So in the 2nd confrontation, far from shooting a guy just for jaywalking, the officer was confronting a known robbery suspect, who then violently attacked the officer, and after fleeing, then stopping, then turning around and charging to attack again, was shot.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Even if one accepts the allegation that there was no legal justification for the officer to shoot Michael Brown, there remains the stubborn fact that for every black male killed by a police officer in the United States, about 60 are killed by other black males. " Can you link to your source? I would be surprised that the ratio is not much higher than that, like 1 to 1000.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Tragically it is because too many human creatures are addicted to having extreme emotional stimulus gifted to them everywhere-not just news outlets but overly scaled sports, action flicks, hip hop etc. This is purely simian stuff, from the apes. Part of capitalisms misuse of science and the colluding lefts asssisted unravelling of self control and reason I fear. When they work together it is the worst. Educate your kids well. Keep them and yourself safe and in a good enclave.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
Getting rid of police unions would solve so many of these problems, and it is a consistently conservative policy.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I find it interesting that the people I use to identify with were appalled by the actions of the BLM and their militarization against Bundy Ranch are now defending the high handed militarized response in Ferguson.

This issue has been hijacked by the left with "black vs white," and the right with "all cops are awesome, screw him, he's a thug."

This issue is so much broader. It's about government perpetrated violence on citizens.

Ten times more white people are either tased, shot, beaten or victimized by the police in this country than minorities. It's allowed me to see how so many "conservatives" have their head in the sand.

Just go to you tube and type in police brutality. You'll see 80 year old women being tased and beaten. White family men shot to death.

SWAT raids resulting in death due to a mistaken address. I could go on and on.

The conversation should be about how our government sees and treats us. Police are the front line of the state. The real face of government.

I would like to know if something like this happened to you or a family or someone you know if you would then be so quick to defend the actions Ferguson police force.

I speak from first hand experience as a white guy that grew up in Washington, DC but had the misfortune of a run in or two with police in the south and California.

It's not nice and you'll find yourself with several bruises and 18 hours to think about the "injustice" perpetrated on you.

I'll leave you with this famous poem by Martin Niemöller-

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
There was no warning for Bundy Ranch. The Federal Government showed up with all the trucks and gear out of the blue. The difference between Ferguson and Bundy is that there was no riot, businesses weren't destroyed and homes did not need to be protected from rioters. If the police had not been there how many more businesses, homes and people would have been harmed, robbed and burnt to the ground. If the cops had not been in Feruson in force the media and people like you would have been asking why they weren't protecting the citizens who weren't rioting. People like you are the reason the crap never ends.
25 weeks ago
25 weeks ago Link To Comment
"I find it interesting that the people I use to identify with were appalled by the actions of the BLM and their militarization against Bundy Ranch are now defending the high handed militarized response in Ferguson."
One big difference with Bundy, he was not looting stores nor attacking police. Once looting and rioting starts, I want a big police response, including SWAT. But we dont need a huge SWAT team to ask some guy to pay his grazing fees, just put a lein on his farm, have somebody there to take a cut whenever he sells some catttle, and attach his bank account.

26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
"...prosecutors are ethically bound to present all exculpatory evidence known to them..." Funny.
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
I must be really dense. I just figured out these continual incidents blown out of proportion by the media and our leftwing government. The leftist government believes that every crisis is a chance to radically transform America into a totalitarian Soviet state. The news media fans the flames of crisis for their own short term gains in viewership. It's a marriage made in heaven. Of course when the soviet state becomes a reality the media will become impotent repeaters of government propaganda. Or if they try to actually report the news they will be sent to the Gulag. I can see clearly now what so confused me before
26 weeks ago
26 weeks ago Link To Comment
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