The residents of Ferguson, Missouri awoke on Tuesday to more devastation than anything wrought by protesters who demonstrated against police conduct in August.
Several businesses went up in flames. Whole rows of cars were torched by violent demonstrators. While there were no severe injuries, much of the property damage could not be stopped due to fears that first responders would be hit by errant gunfire. “The fire district does not feel safe coming out to put out fires because of the gunshots and the looting there taking place,” said the mayor of neighboring Dellwood, Reggie Jones. “So they are refusing, basically, to come out and put these fires out.”
This was the response from Ferguson’s contingent of protesters to a grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson on any criminal charge relating to the shooting death of Michael Brown. While a few on the left paid a passing tribute to the notion that violence is never justified, far too many engaged in a solipsistic quest to rationalize the inexcusable by intimating, or claiming outright, that a conspiracy to deny the Brown family justice was afoot.
Before county prosecutor Bob McCulloch had even announced that the grand jury had found no probable cause to indict Wilson, Think Progress editor Judd Legum posted a video featuring two legal analysts suggesting that the prosecution had tainted the jury by allowing them access to all the evidence in this case. That’s correct: Legum insisted that McCulloch had “rigged the grand jury” by allowing them to deliberate on all the evidence available to prosecutors rather than just a narrow set of facts.
This claim was dutifully repeated by those in the mainstream press who sympathized with the violent demonstrators.
“Many of us said we would be absolutely shocked if there was an indictment because he rigged the system to get the results he wanted,” ubiquitous legal analyst Lisa Bloom alleged in an appearance on MSNBC.
“I’ll bet you his two assistants did not ask for an indictment,” criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos theorized on CNN in an evidence-free condemnation of McCulloch’s conduct. “He showed exactly what his predisposition was.”
“This was a foregone conclusion,” Geragos added. “This was a rigged game. This is exactly the result he wanted.”
If you asked the average left-leaning pundit, it was not merely McCulloch’s nefarious efforts to exonerate Wilson that were to blame for the outbreak of vandalism and property destruction in Missouri on Monday night. It was also his conduct while revealing the grand jury’s verdict.
Speaking for nearly one hour, McCulloch disclosed the painful, granular details over which the grand jurors poured. He itemized the mountains of misinformation which investigators had to comb through, including a number of “witnesses” to the crime who did not see what they thought they saw – an indication of the deleterious impact of saturation media coverage. McCulloch patiently sat through questions asked of him by reporters, including fatuous, self-serving nonsense like one submitted by a journalist who asked for McCulloch’s thoughts on the fact that there is “not a single law in the state of Missouri that protects and values the life of” Brown.
If all that sounds rather deferential to the concerns of the press and the assembled protesters outside of where McCulloch was speaking, you’re not former White House advisor and CNN host Van Jones.
“The way that McCulloch was tonight was very, very provocative,” Jones insisted. “And you saw the crowd react to McCulloch’s tone.”
“I think they made a big mistake by waiting so late,” he added. “I think McCulloch missed a huge leadership opportunity to be a uniter tonight. I think McCulloch’s tone was very divisive tonight, and here we are.”
Oh, well, here we are. Point A to Point B, all due to the fact that the prosecutor spent nearly an hour laying out the facts of a criminal case and delayed that announcement long enough to allow those in Ferguson and around the country time to bunker down before the inevitable violence erupted. What a scoundrel.
For all the triviality of a recent CNN/ORC poll which asked Americans how they would rule in a case to which they had no access to any evidence, that survey did uncover one meaningful finding about the situation in Ferguson. That poll found that very few Americans saw this violence as justified. Only one in ten white Americans and one in five minority respondents told CNN/ORC pollsters they thought a violent response to a grand jury verdict was due.
Many on the left in the press are working hard to convince the public that violence was, in fact, warranted. It is a sickening state of affairs for which these individuals should be ashamed.