Monday, November 24, 2014

Ferguson's Pickalili Circus--plus update

This is going to be a short commentary on the major production roll-out of the grand jury ruling on the killing of Michael Brown, as this is my immediate reaction to that.  Yup, you can gather as much from the title of this blog entry, if you know what piccalilli is made of, and you know of a certain demographic that prefers those to be fried.

I was in the regional neighborhood for the race riots in Cairo, about a war zone...and one would think that this nation has made a lot of progress since then...but because of personal experience even  in this day and age, I know better. Just like I know better about the so-called "long way, baby" that women are presumed to have benefited from.  Nah.  Same snit, different day, and this is what it took to get things to change, back in the days of Cairo, Birmingham and Memphis, and even now.

The question is, how long will the progress last before the non-evolving neanderthals try to resurrect and restore ante-bellum Jim Crow Brigadoon again.

News outlets are no doubt combing over what materials are being made public, but there's also no doubt that there's bias in such gate-keeping of what's withheld, too.  Nonetheless, a hearing and judgment in The Court of Public Opinion is the only hope that powers that be in Ferguson have left, and it's not looking good.  So far.

Tuesday UPDATE, Nobody's Listening/Nobody Wants To Hear It/Now Hear This edition:
Washington Post report

The calling for a grand jury to hear only one side shows that nobody's listening; the wide range of eye witness accounts showed the need to sort out which accounts were reliable, which weren't, compared to physical evidence cited.  But the conclusions arrived at while evaluating the physical evidence involved some extrapolations without cross examination.

The calling up of the Missouri National Guard in advance of a ruling that occurred, per some reports, at 2pm but announced at 7pm (times vary with what time zone you're hearing/reading the various reports, filed in different time zones, while the difference in number of hours between ruling and announcement remains a constant),  but failing to actually deploy the called-up troops, was justified when you consider that Missouri was criticized for calling them up when they were called up, and then criticized for failing to deploy them after all that criticism.  Nobody wants to hear it.

Now Hear THIS: McCulloch's presser after dark, coming down as an edict from on high as a verdict rather than a ruling even though there was no trial.

Sorry, folks, but proper argument is required here, as well as good listening skills that come with understanding the point of view of the other...which is the first casualty of massive distrust on both sides.  The first order of business when it comes to talking and listening is to sort through what's valid and what's bogus excuse, as evaluated by cooler heads than are currently the case.  For example, a police officer who views any unarmed teen as a superman who causes such a fear in a police officer to the point where the officer feels like a child is a police officer who should find a different line of work.  A police officer who uses the excuse that he was fearful of an unarmed teen to cover for his undisciplined fury should find a different line of work. His credibility just got shot down.

A prosecutor whose performance is that of defense attorney definitely needs to be dispatched to a different line of work.

Note to my Egyptian and Turkish friends: Yes, this is the Tahrir Dilemma, too--criticism for calling in the military is inevitable whether or not you actually send them in or don't. The ONLY answer to such criticism is a clear statement of the mission: protection of public safety and property.  If that isn't your mission going in, you have already lost the argument. What does Tahrir in Egypt have to do with Turkey? The role of the military in protecting the public, that's what. If it weren't for Turkey's military, ISIS would have already taken over what's supposed to be a secular government, which is something President Erdogan's actions and philosophy is clearly against.

Note to China: this is why your idea of harmony isn't a good one.  Arguments are necessary in order to establish the best path toward harmony, and imposing YOUR idea of harmony on others is not harmony but a superficial and false veneer.  Without arguments and without the ability to hear out the people who disagree with your idea of a good path forward, you proceed as a blind man on the hope that your next step won't land you in a pitfall, and China has already experienced numerous pitfalls due to its self-inflicted blindness. Talking without listening is unforgivable. Being a good listener is essential, especially when you don't want to hear the person who disagrees with you. The greatest oratories of history are arguments; the best laws are crafted from persuasive arguments. Argument as oratory is an art form, noticeably absent in your nation.  As you think you show your courage and might by rankling your neighbors in the China Sea, EVERYBODY knows how cowardly you cringe at the sight of a free pen.

Kill the argument with the excuse of harmony and you kill inspiring oratory. Kill the argument in a lawmaking session and you get stupid laws.  Kill the argument in science and you kill ideas of merit and thereby kill the brainstorm session and science with it.  Therefore kill the argument and you kill your own progress and growth as a civilization.

Wednesday UPDATE: After all the appeals for peaceful demonstrations, we still got molotov cocktails. Ferguson is racially mixed, so I'm wondering of white supremacists were behind the fires, especially given that the church that the Browns attended got torched.
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