Officer Darren Wilson (left, courtesy of St. Louis County prosecutor’s officer); Lesley McSpadden, Michael Brown’s mother (right, AP | St.. Louis Post-Dispatch, Robert Cohen)
Like many, I’ve struggled to find a way to come to terms with the grand jury’s decision to not indict Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown. The known facts of the case paint a wildly inconsistent picture. Despite indignant claims to the contrary on both sides, none of us know what truly happened that August day in Ferguson, Missouri. Due to the grand jury’s decision for the case not to go to trial, we probably never will.
When an acquaintance indicated to me a desire to have an open, sincere discussion about the situation in Ferguson and its aftermath, I welcomed the opportunity for dialogue and reflection. I made the deliberate decision to speak honestly and emotionally in an attempt to break through the barriers so many of us have built — barriers that help us shield ourselves from alternate viewpoints about the case and its implications.
I shared my pain at the thought of having to one day sit my beautiful baby boy down to explain to him that he won’t be allowed to make the same mistakes his white friends will — because of the color of his skin. In tears, I spoke about the fact that some people already hate my son, despite his incredible, loving spirit, simply because he is biracial. My baring of painful, personal emotions exposed in the wake of the grand jury’s decision was met with this response: “I don’t see race in this case.”
Read more »
National Guard stand in front of the Ferguson Police Department Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. Missouri’s governor ordered hundreds more state militia into Ferguson on Tuesday, after a night of protests and rioting over a grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, a case that has inflamed racial tensions in the U.S.
On Monday night, three days before a colossal NFL game between the Eagles and Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, a major news story began playing out making the game seem pretty small.
The situation in Ferguson involves all of us. We can’t hide from it and it can’t be swept behind a wall of conversation about a football game.
What I do on 97.5 FM The Fanatic is sports talk, but it’s really life talk — conversation among people of different races, creed and colors. And when an issue like this explodes in front of us, it is our duty to talk on it. Conversation fosters understanding; it’s the only thing that can foster understanding because it’s the only way we can hear and attempt to understand another’s viewpoint. So to the people who tweet me with nonsense like “I thought this was a sports station; let’s talk sports,” I have the following message: Open your mind, grow and progress, if just for the sake of your children and future generations who should live in a society that’s not always at odds.
Read more »
There was a video posted on social media the night that St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch stepped in front of a worldwide audience to deliver the news that Officer Darren Wilson would avoid trial. The video featured the diminutive Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown, stepping down from her perch outside the police station, amid a crowd of protesters, anguished and fed up.
For 109 days, McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr, the father of the teenager who was shot and killed by Wilson, waited for answers. They, like the rest of us, found out about McCulloch’s announcement by watching CNN.
It’s a curious thing, to make these types of announcements at night. It’s always curious to do anything in the dark of night that could just as easily be done in the day, especially when things are as tense as they have been in Ferguson. For weeks, the National Guard has been present among the people in Ferguson without any (public) disclosure of whether an indictment would fall; it took four days for the National Guard to arrive in the drowned city of New Orleans after Katrina.
Read more »
@FergusonPHL protest at 9 p.m., just before the findings were announced. Photo by Victor Fiorillo
UPDATE, 9:15 p.m.: The Ferguson police officer who shot Michael Brown last summer will not face charges in the case, a grand jury has determined. Robert McCulloch, the St. Louis County prosecutor made the announcement in a speech broadcast nationwide on Monday night.
“They are the only people who have heard and examined every witness and every piece of evidence,” McCulloch said, defending the grand jury’s work even as it became clear that the decision would trigger protests around the nation, including in Philadelphia. The protests in Philadelphia reportedly remained peaceful through the night.
The New York Times posted a full set of grand jury transcripts, forensic reports, and other documents.
Philly Mag’s Victor Fiorillo was at City Hall when the announcement was made:
Read more »
It was one of the most bizarre interviews ever on TV news. CNN’s Don Lemon, who used to work in Philadelphia at NBC10, asked one of the women who is accusing Bill Cosby of rape, why she didn’t do more to prevent it. He went so far as to basically ask Joan Tarshis why she didn’t just bite Cosby’s penis.
That bizarre exchange gave birth to #DonLemonReporting, #DonLemonRapePreventionTips and #DonLemonQuestions, with tweets applying Lemon’s warped logic to other situations. It is the top trending hashtag on Twitter:
Read more »
You’re staying at a hotel. You get online. When you log in, you’re given a choice: You can use the free Internet service that the hotel provides or you can pay extra for “faster downloads.” Like me, you’re a cheapskate, so you choose free. And it works fine … most of the time. But how about first thing in the morning when you’re checking your email? Or maybe right after dinner? Notice something? Yeah, you did — it’s slower. Much slower. And I’m sure you can guess why. Every user of the free service who’s waking up or getting back to their rooms from the conference you’re attending are all complaining about the boring keynote speaker … .and checking their email. And because you’re all sharing the same, free service you’re all suffering from slower performance.
Welcome to net neutrality.
Read more »
I was in Las Vegas this week and the taxi driver taking me to the airport asked me what I thought of Uber, the company whose ride sharing service UberX is currently invading Philadelphia. Apparently, the company is also setting its sights on Vegas. After I told him (I’m a fan of the service), I asked him what he thought of Uber. He said, “I’m not entirely sure, but things are always changing in this world and we have to change with them.” Smart guy.
Which brings me to Taylor Swift.
Read more »
We’ve talked about Ebola’s lethality and the government’s staggering ineptitude.
Now it’s time to admit Ebola is here to stay. But not because it’s an efficient killer. It’s much more basic. Ebola will thrive because it is being enabled by America’s Big Three diseases which have been gnawing at our core for years: Arrogance, Incompetence, and Entitlement.
Yet we won’t use the antidote — common sense and intestinal fortitude — because of our denial that we are the problem.
Let’s look at the recent spate of mind-blowing developments helping Ebola gain a foothold:
Read more »
This is an article that I know full well most of you don’t give two dung heaps about — the midterm elections.
I know this because poll after poll shows that only half of the American public are interested in the upcoming election and about 10 percent of them are lying. In the last 10 midterm elections, voter turnout has been consistently around 40 percent.
The big national story in Tuesday’s voting will be the fate of the United States Senate. It is easy to lose interest in that narrative locally because our two local Senators up for re-election, Chris Coons (D-DE) and Corey Booker (D-NJ), are expected to coast to victory, as our area becomes bluer and bluer.
Of course, we have the Pennsylvania Gubernatorial election and there have been some signs that Republican Incumbent Tom Corbett is gaining ground. But President Obama’s campaign visit to Temple University on behalf of challenger Tom Wolfe is a sure sign that the Democrats believe they have the race in the bag. The President has only been campaigning for candidates who are far ahead in the polls. Candidates in competitive races don’t want the President anywhere near their campaigns, and some have even refused admitting to voting for the President in the last election.
Here’s why you should care more about the future of the Unite States Senate.
Read more »
Charles Barkley at the 2011 T-Mobile NBA All-Star Game, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA 02-20-11
Last week, Charles Barkley decided it was a good idea to say the following:
“We as black people are never going to be successful, not because of you white people, but because of other black people. When you are black, you have to deal with so much crap in your life from other black people.
“For some reason we are brainwashed to think, if you’re not a thug or an idiot, you’re not black enough. If you go to school, make good grades, speak intelligent, and don’t break the law, you’re not a good black person. It’s a dirty, dark secret in the black community.
“There are a lot of black people who are unintelligent, who don’t have success. It’s best to knock a successful black person down because they’re intelligent, they speak well, they do well in school, and they’re successful. It’s just typical BS that goes on when you’re black, man.”
My life must be pretty a-typical then. I have never had any experience with this “dirty, dark secret.” In fact, much to the contrary. I’ve always been supported by my community for achieving professionally and obtaining advanced levels of education. My blackness has never been put in question.
Read more »