Podzilla 1985

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thoughts on the Circus in Ferguson & Media Mentality

I consider Blogzilla 1985 to be an entertainment site, first and foremost. Whether we succeed or fail, the overall goal is entertain any reader who comes here with comical banter and observations. Our scope of interest covers everything, including but not limited to video games, sports, TV, movies, toys, politics, and whatever crazy story we dig up from the internet.

No matter what we discuss, it is our goal to entertain you, and for those of you who are entertained I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

With that said, there are the occasional stories that make my blood boil, and when I post about them on the site it isn't for fun or for laughs. I am an entertainment writer by trade, but a journalist at heart. I may not post about it all the time, but you can usually find my nose buried in the newspaper or on news sites like CNN. I like to keep up with what's current, and it isn't always funny. I try to avoid writing about those things, because I've gotten really good at burying that anger and misery deep inside. I don't want to focus on the reminders of why I secretly despise existence.

I thought that the angriest story I would write this year would be the ridiculousness of WWE using Vladimir Putin as a character in their story lines. I thought the saddest story I would write this year would be the passing of Harold Ramis, who was a Hollywood visionary and one of the biggest influences on my creative side.

I wish I could have been right on either accounts.

For those of you keeping up with the news, I probably don't have to tell you about the insanity in Ferguson, MO. But, for those of you who keep your head buried in the ground and concern yourselves more with booze and partying than the world around you, allow me to explain the facts as they are known right now.

Facts. Not speculation or hearsay. No matter what your heart tells you, there is a difference.

On August 9th, 2014, an unarmed eighteen year old named Michael Brown was shot multiple times and killed by officer Darren Wilson.


Those are the facts that can be proven. You've probably heard plenty of speculation on what happened from the bleeding heart celebrities or vulture media. I have heard the following from various sources, most of which I assume haven't looked into it themselves but are just repeating what they heard somewhere -


  • Michael Brown was a thug
  • Michael Brown was a saint
  • Michael Brown robbed a store before he was shot
  • Michael Brown was shot 10 times in his back
  • Michael Brown was shot 17 times in his back
  • Michael Brown had his arms up in surrender when he was shot a dozen times in his front torso
None of this, as far as I know as of the time I am writing this, has been proven. It's just talk around the water cooler, rumors on the playground, and fuel for an ever growing inferno.

The police say that Brown attacked the officer, and Wilson shot him in self defense. Witnesses at the scene say he was complying with the officer, who shot him for no apparent reason.

Oh, wait. There is a very obvious reason. Michael Brown is a black man, and Darren Wilson is white. Case closed.

Except, it isn't.

I'm going to play devil's advocate for both sides real quick. Try not to call me any names or burn my place down until you read both paragraphs.

Just because a white person shoots a black person, it doesn't mean it's racially motivated. Are white cops only supposed to shoot white suspects? If put in a life or death situation, is a white officer supposed to give a black suspect special treatment to prove he isn't a racist? That's ridiculous. That is utterly ridiculous. If an officer is doing his job, he shouldn't have to take race into consideration. He should do what he has to do in the line of duty, and he should not have his moral compass questioned based on his actions.

However.

In what world does a police officer have the right to shoot an unarmed suspect multiple times? The fact that Michael Brown was unarmed is not disputed. Even though he was a "robbery suspect," it has been stated that the knowledge of his alleged crime was unknown to the officer during the shooting. Michael Brown was an 18 year old kid, not a fully trained officer of the law. In what situation was Darren Wilson in where he was forced to shoot an unarmed man so many times?

Just like all of the people who have shot others in cold blood recently, such as Byron Smith and Theodore Wafer, Darren Wilson should absolutely be investigated and punished for any crime he may have committed. 

Did you notice how I didn't bring race into the discussion during the second paragraph? I do so because the race of Michael Brown should carry absolutely no weight when discussing this tragedy. This story should not be about a black youth being shot to death by a white cop. 

Is this a case of police brutality? My gut reaction says yes. But that won't get those sweet Nielsen ratings, will it?

If Michael Brown were an eighteen year old white teenager, would the media descend on Ferguson like some kind of plague? Would celebrities be writing songs dedicated to this dead kid and creating charities in his honor if he were a white man? Would Al Sharpton show his disgraced mug on television if Mike Brown were pale of skin? 

Absolutely not. 

There will be people who say that they've had enough of police brutality and that Michael Brown is a symbol of oppression and injustice. I say those people are misguided and merely sheep following the crook held by the good shepherd Al Sharpton. Wait, maybe I mean they're following the crook Al Sharpton. Either one will do, I suppose.

Here's a fact for you. Police brutality exists in every facet or life, whether you're black, white, Hispanic, Asian, or otherwise. Oppression exists all around in the world in so many different ways. People die every single minute because life is unfair and people make stupid mistakes. You won't see Al Sharpton there, though. J. Cole won't write a protest song for all of the people who die unfairly. The talking heads won't point it out to you, because it's just not a juicy enough story for them.

It all comes down to the media mentality. Everyone involved with this tragedy saw what they always hope to see - an opportunity. Michael Brown is the next Trayvon Martin. He's a picture they can put on their channels, on their fliers, and on their websites. Michael Brown, much like poor Trayvon Martin, has become a character, and has lost his humanity. He's not an unfortunate soul who died unjustly. Now, he's a means to an end. He's a dollar sign. He's an excuse. 

And Darren Wilson? Forget his side of the story. Forget his inner torment at shooting a kid. Forget anything and everything he could ever say about what happened. He's a scapegoat now. He's a villain. He's a bogeyman.

It sickened me when they made Trayvon Martin's death meaningless by turning him into some kind of unnecessary martyr. He was great for ratings! They even tried to make it all about race, but unfortunately George Zimmerman was Hispanic. I'm sorry, he was a "white Hispanic." The networks still found a way to make the best out of their opportunity, though.

This time, a ratings opportunity has turned into a terrifying situation.

What's the best way to honor Michael Brown's legacy? Yes, he apparently has one of those. How awesome it would be for him to know that we'll never remember anything about Michael Brown other than the fact he was shot to death. 

The citizens in and around Ferguson have responded to tragedy by peaceful protest, peace rallies, and raising awareness for police brutality.

Oh, and rioting.

And looting.

What's the best way to honor Michael Brown? If you said burning down innocent business owners' lifeblood and stealing everything not bolted down, you'd be absolutely right!

In the same way I'm trying to wrap my head around how shooting an unarmed teenager multiple times could be possibly be justified, I try to understand how stealing can be seen as anything other than taking advantage of a tragedy for your own greed.

I can sort of understand the riots. When people are angry at injustice, they will fight back and sometimes there is collateral damage. But, breaking into a Shoe Carnival and stealing shoes? Stealing cigarettes? 

That's just pathetic, and it belittles the death of Michael Brown.

I can't say for sure what happened to Mr. Brown. I wasn't there. None of us were. And, even though our first reaction is to blame this officer Darren Wilson for the murder of an unarmed young man, I would ask that everyone wait for all of the facts to come out before they start to condemn. I would ask that the people who protest peacefully continue to do so, as they are the true heroes in this terrible situation. I would ask that the people who are using this as a chance to steal things while everyone is distracted, to please crawl back under your rock and make some attempt to contribute to society. 

Most of all, I would ask that we all keep everyone involved in this terrible event in our thoughts and prayers, if you're into that sort of thing. Michael Brown is not a symbol, or a ratings ploy, or the target of some super racist police conspiracy. The facts are that Michael Brown was an eighteen year old man with his entire life ahead of him, and he's gone now. That is the real tragedy, and while I hope we find out all of the truths and bring justice to his sad death, we don't forget who he was and why his loss is so tragic. He wasn't a black man who got shop by the cops, he was a man who died before his time.

And I will point my finger in shame at the good Reverend Al Sharpton, who never misses an opportunity to extend his fifteen minutes of fame and push his agenda at the cost of another unfortunate soul. 

I will condemn all of the celebrities who will use Michael Brown to gain recognition and bolster sales for whatever product they attach their plastic faces to next time.

And, as always, I will spit in the faces of the networks who cycle weekly through an endless selection of suffering to pop their rating. From exploiting airplane disappearances, crashes, civil unrest,  and genocide, to the very tragic death of a young man, they never fail to sicken me.

Don't be the kind of sheep these people pray on. 

Remember the dead, not the image.
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