Thursday, August 01, 2013

A shot in the dark

15 of them actually.

Well isn't that special -- or maybe not.  We will have to wait and see if  this shooting of an unarmed black man at night in his mother's driveway, (and in Florida no less,) will have Al Sharpton inter alia out in the streets demanding justice and the media yelling about wake up calls and demanding that we revoke the right of the police to carry guns or defend themselves with them.

Roy Middleton took two or three steps out to his car, parked in a carport set way back from the street  to get some cigarettes at two O'clock of a Florida morning.  Fumbling around in the dark, he heard invisible voices screaming, as police are wont to do, to put his hands up.  Thinking at first that it was a neighbor pulling his leg, he hesitated, but then complied, but police, thinking that anyone black and out at night  entering a car must be a thief, opened fire and shot him 15 times, according to a CNN report.  Oops.

Of course the official explanation is that he didn't comply with the shrieks, often obscene, often unintelligible that we so often hear during attempted arrests, that often confuse and stun people into momentary inaction particularly when they're in their homes or just outside their door or in their car or at 2 in the morning. There's nothing worse and little more deadly than a nanosecond's hesitation.

15 times, although police claim it was only 7.  Actually 2 hits out of  15 or even 7 at about ten yards is pretty damned poor, which indicates that either the officers were panicked or could hardly see well enough to tell a pack of cigarettes from a weapon.  Either way. . .

Mr. Middleton, says his mother, had been on pain pills for a back injury and perhaps that added to the normal 2:00 AM sluggishness -- perhaps not.  A next door neighbor says he thought Middleton was complying although he couldn't see clearly, but woe betide anyone, and anyone black in particular if he fails to instantaneously and abjectly prostrate himself  at the first shouted syllable from invisible voices in the dark of night - and even then.  15  times. There are bullet holes everywhere, but fortunately no bystanders were hit and fortunately for Mr. Middleton, none of the fusillade of bullets hit a vital area although he'll have to have reconstructive surgery on his leg as the bone was shattered. His car will need a few thousand in bodywork as well.

Perhaps as his elderly mother says, God saved him. Perhaps he has insurance. I hope so, so that his mother doesn't have to sell her house to pay for it because 'Obamacare" is still a long way off and Florida's Medicare Fraud governor is hell bent on ignoring it.

The sad thing is the frequency at which such things happen and a sadder thing is how often we never hear, or hearing once, we never hear again, like the case a few miles from my house where a cop shot a black man who after being deemed a suspicious character for being in a restaurant parking lot after closing time attempted to drive away and instead of perhaps shooting out a tire, the cop decided to kill the driver with a shot to the head.  In the last few months, I haven't seen or heard anything more about it and nobody seems to care because the media didn't see the chance to make a buck as they did with the Treyvon Martin case.

It remains to be seen what happens in Pensacola, but my money is on nothing. I'm betting that the self defense claim will be upheld, even though the Stand Your Ground legislation is as irrelevant here as it was in Sanford and perhaps because it's just as irrelevant and the media and the race baiters have already overplayed their hand.  If a local Florida newspaper poll has any relevance over 80% think that the Zimmerman verdict was justified because the prosecution could not prove, beyond a reasonable doubt that it was murder.

Reasonable doubt. Perhaps that alone is enough to make zealots angry, because after all, we all know who's guilty and who isn't because we've seen so many TV shows over the years.  You get a sixth sense, you know and isn't it better that every evil be punished even if some innocents happen to go to jail or to the execution chamber and even if minorities are over represented that way.  Contradiction?  Cognitive dissonance?  You bet, but passion and justice and caution and many other abstract terms don't play well together even if they make CNN fat and people like Pat Robertson, Rush Limbaugh and yes, Al Sharpton millionaires.

So will this be another "wake up call" which the "whole world is (but isn't) watching" despite riots, revolutions earthquakes and royal babies?  Will there be crowds accusing the Pensacola Police of  hunting black people for sport?  Will the parents and wives of these cops be getting death threats like the parents and family of George Zimmerman are getting?   I think not, although this should be worth more than the slight mention it's getting in the press, but then I've heard countless cases as bad and worse and I've seen them fade away.  History has made me a cynic. What about you?

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