Most people agree about the wrongness of police brutality, if not about whether a particular police action is an example of it.
But what about protester brutality? Again, most oppose it. Still, skeptics on this point have been particularly loud and insistent lately. Some even suggest (or scream) that violence against the innocent is fully justified if that’s what it takes to protest injustice.
But the existence of police brutality does not justify protester brutality, protester vandalism, protester indifference-to-evidence, or any other violence or irrationality.
The grand jurors in Ferguson were not dealing with injustice in the abstract, but with a particular incident and the relevant evidence. They were not asked to determine whether police ever wrongly shoot or kill, but whether there was evidence that a particular officer had done so, enough to justify a trial. Even assuming legitimate grounds to disagree with their conclusion, too many commenters declaim as if the evidence is irrelevant and the jurors’ motives not possibly honest. The man had to be indicted regardless.
Of course, had Officer Wilson been tried, on this assumed-guilty approach only one outcome would have then been deemed acceptable, regardless of evidence: conviction. Absent that conviction, violence against the innocent would still have been rationalized.
No injustice is properly fought by either sweeping aside facts or by attacking the innocent in the name of protecting the innocent. If we ignore the requirements of justice in order to advance a Cause, how can that Cause be justice?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.