For a country that operates under the moniker of a democracy, The United States’ government and other leaders certainly seem to allow certain acts to continue without any real effort to remedy them, I use the word ‘seem’ as for all I know the U.S. government may be devising a campaign to fight these injustices however they have shown no indication of doing so. If you hadn’t guessed from the title, the injustices I am referring to is the murders of black adolescent males predominantly in America, however this generally applies to the West as it has happened in the U.K. with the murder of Mark Duggan in 2011. The point I’m trying to get at is that a singular isolated incident could be passed off as an individual bigot enacting their own twisted sense of justice however the number of incidents involving white figures of authority (police or neighbourhood watch) killing black teenage males is seemingly on the increase.
To give you some background on why the murder of Michael Brown has sparked such outrage (other than the obvious reasons) I would have to detail a similar incident that occurred recently. The trial of George Zimmerman and his killing of Trayvon Martin commanded large amounts of attention in 2012 and 2013. Zimmerman being acquitted of this crime, after the neighbourhood watch member shot 17 year old Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012, seemed like an unfathomable decision. Zimmerman has had a number of encounters with the law previously such as being arrested for shoving a police officer which resulted in him having to take anger management classes as well as his ex-fiancée filing a restraining order against him after alleging domestic violence, both of these incidents occurred in 2005. However the judge dismissed these when they were brought to the forefront in Zimmerman’s trial, describing them as ‘run of the mill’, as far as I’m concerned crimes involving violence warrant a more severe label than ‘run of the mill’.
While peace prevailed in the aftermath of Zimmerman’s trial, the murder of Michael Brown by Missouri police officer Darren Wilson appears to be the proverbial ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’, turning Ferguson, Missouri into what the mainstream media describes as a warzone. However the media omits the peaceful protesting involving members of the black and white communities as well as Buddhist monks and people from all walks of life gathering together in harmony to mourn the loss of an innocent teenager whose life was cut short, choosing to show the incidents involving violence and rioting, which I am not denying are happening in a wide scale across Ferguson. The question of how justified people are in rioting remains, with protesting there is no question, for this was not a man shooting another simply for the purposes of self-defence, this was a police officer shooting a teenage boy of a different ethnic origin six times. Whilst neither are any less tragic than one another, the main difference between this case and the murder of Trayvon Martin is that George Zimmerman was an individual acting on his own, however Michael Brown was shot six times and killed by a member of the police force therefore he was a person who was not only acting on behalf of the rest of the police force (his actions were almost undeniably unsanctioned) and someone we trust to protect us and he has betrayed that trust.