Wednesday, November 19, 2014

gun sales in Mo.

In Ferguson, Mo., and elsewhere, gun sales are on the rise in anticipation of a grand jury decision about whether a white police officer (Darren Wilson) should be tried in the shooting death of an unarmed  black man (Michael Brown).
"We're selling everything that's not nailed down," owner Steven King said. "Police aren't going to be able to protect every single individual. If you don't prepare yourself and get ready for the worst, you have no one to blame but yourself."

As yet there has been no widespread violence, but, in keeping with a burgeoning militarized outlook in the nation, the governor of Missouri has already called out the National Guard ... which probably helps gun sales even more. I thought states of emergency were declared after the emergency began. Is the governor's action statesmanship or pandering? I'm inclined to think it is the latter.

The grand jury is still pondering a situation that is woefully familiar. But those who fear that Wilson will not be indicted and brought to trial forget the pretty-much-true witticism of prosecutors everywhere: "I could indict a ham sandwich." Grand juries are not about balance: They are about investigation. Others may feel that the grand jury will do its white-guy duty and shield the officer. I doubt it: The justice system has its kinks but ... well, I suspect an indictment will be forthcoming.

It strikes me that the governor's pre-emptive calling out of the National Guard sends a couple of unintended messages. If a black, white or polka dot community gets put up against a wall -- if justice is too plainly missing or felt to be missing based on accumulated fact -- well, isn't that a time for action, a time that implicitly concedes the racism the minority community feels is true. If the justice system is so skewed that ordinary citizens feel that hitting the streets is the only option ... well isn't it time to balance the scales of justice? Such questions are pie in the sky, of course, but if you can't trust the justice system ... well, bleah. It is shameful, whatever the outcome of the case.

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