As I read the media accounts of the grand jury on the shooting of Michael Brown, I am surprised that there is so little coverage of how a grand jury is supposed to function. All a grand jury has to do is see if there’s enough evidence to indict someone. It’s not supposed to weigh conflicting evidence, or examine conflicting stories, or assess what the most likely scenario of events was. It’s simply there to determine if sufficient evidence exists to reasonably conclude that someone may have done something.
This grand jury acted as if they were in a trial, but that’s not how it’s supposed to go. And the district attorney acted much more like a defense attorney than a prosecutor, which is very odd to say the least. The trial is where the evidence is supposed to be weighed, not a grand jury.
The joke is that most prosecutors could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. So you can see that the unwillingness to indict the police officer is a bizarre outcome and clearly reflects that something else was going on. I don’t think it’s very difficult to figure out what that was.
It’s really not complicated. According to this grand jury, and many others as well, African American life is worth less than white life. And many jurisdictions view police as judge, jury, and executioner. We are no longer a of laws, but of people. Of course, that’s anti-constitutional, but the situation will improve only when people rise up, protest, and force change.
We are so proud of the freedoms we have in this country, but what is the state of our freedom really?
I am certainly not a pacifist and would not agree with the protesters on several matters. This includes the notion that we can just unilaterally stop having nuclear weapons or that we should stop using drones.
Further, I expect protesters engaging in civil disobedience to be willing to accept reasonable punishment (which apparently these ones are). These sentences, however, seem retributive and excessive. How do we put individuals like this away for so long when we allow CEO bankers who have engaged in presumably criminal activity and thereby done infinitely more damage to millions of people and to the well-being of our nation and world to go scott-free? Not only do they have their freedom, but they even get to dine and schmooze with leading politicians, including the president, and other glitterati. There’s something wrong here.
Perhaps the government was simply embarrassed by their incompetent and ineffective security around the most powerful weapons in the world.
In any case, we apparently have a two-tiered society: one for the privileged, and one for the rest of us. This will have to change for us to meet our ideals.
The linking of banks with off-duty police in full uniform is a perilous development for our freedom. Corporations and public security join forces to potentially oppose the will of the people. What’s happening to our freedom and democracy?
We prosecute NSA whistleblowers, while we let major scam artists and criminals go free.
Bob Dylan has the largest influence on U.S. judges of any cultural icon.
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