Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Was This Video Verified? Was it Shown to Ferguson Grand Jurors?

I hadn't really followed the Ferguson nightmare closely until it came down to the actual indictment.

But even at the press conference, the facts as given by the prosecutor left the mind reeling.

Things just didn't add up to a justifiable homicide.

That press conference for the announcement of the verdict was at least as much screed and diatribe as it was pertinent facts.

And the facts that were on offer all seemed to be caught up in a web of  (deliberate?) misprision.

Learning the background of Prosecutor McCullough and how his father died, and some of the statements he made about why he chose the career he did, are all certainly food for thought.

I really got the sense from that press conference that McCullough was telling America, "This is local justice. It's different from justice at large."

I don't know if this video clip was verified, but if this is genuine, what possible explanation could there be for what these witnesses are saying and what they are saying they are seeing?

There is no way on earth they could have planned these clearly spontaneous responses, and nobody acts out lies as they watch a shooting. The horror is genuine and the response is natural. This is enough proof for me that after the scuffle in the police SUV, this was "payback." This was a rage killing, quick-serve vengeance.

I wonder if the grand jury even saw this video.

I remember McCullough discrediting witnesses who said Michael Brown was shot with his back turned. He said the autopsy didn't bear that out and used that "fact" to ridicule the witnesses who said this. But I think it is clear from this video that the witnesses stated Darrell Wilson shot at Michael Brown when his back was turned at one point. They didn't say that shot or those shots hit him. I think these additional shots fired at Michael Brown are precisely what made him turn back around. He didn't turn back around because he was going to "charge" the police officer. He probably turned around because he realized this man was going for a kill. And when he turned around, this played exactly into the police officer's plan to have Michael Brown facing him (a necessity) when he shot to kill.

I can't see this playing out any other way if this video is genuine.

You can see the video I'm talking about here.

I was trying to ascertain if this video was authenticated. I did find an earlier version of this clip without sound, and this revealed that CNN edited this video, cut off the lefthand portion of the frame a bit. Some commentators made much of the fact that when the clip is presented intact it appears that one of the two contractors who are the focus of the edited version of the video (the man raising his arms) is actually imitating a gesture a passerby (and presumed witness) is making as he enters the frame from the left (you can see him in the video emerging from left and then receding into the distance). Some of these commentators expressed concern that CNN's edit gives the impression that the contractor standing by his vehicle on the left in the edited version is imitating what he has just seen unfold a few moments or minutes before, and this might not actually be the case. Obviously, these were people trying to discredit this video. I understand this could raise questions and heighten concern about whether either of these two men were actually direct witnesses, or whether they were just somewhere in a chain of information flow whose "end" result may or may not be reliable . But the CNN clip, edited or not, has the man's statements as an eyewitness, which once again back up the version of events in which Brown is in a surrender or passive mode when he is shot to death. So, edited or not, there is still the immediacy of the witness's reaction, which is consistent with his statement of the observed sequence of events.

(where is a safe place to stitch our grief?)

Slave quilt and American flag.

First Three Hours, Productive

I woke up and, in the first three hours of my day, wrote five new poems and had five other poems drafted and submitted to magazines.

Then I fell into reading the rightly horrified reactions to Ferguson, and then that just led into the morass of celebrity existence. And celebrities mostly seem to spend their time hating other celebrities. So what a waste of time that is.

If you read between the lines of the President's speech last night, you can see he feels the same way as everyone else who was outraged.

That prosecutor really came across as a creep. He was so mealy-mouthed and condescending.

The main thing is the facts (for this viewer, anyway) seem to point to good cause for an indictent. The facts as given show us a confrontation that went down first at the police SUV itself, where the two shots that grazed Brown might have actually been panic and fear on Wilson's part that his gun might be seized. There might actually have been a perceived threat to life there.

But I honestly believe that the street confrontation that followed was an altogether different situation, and that those other ten bullets were vengeance. I think that officer was firing from a state of rage. I have this strong feeling that Wilson made Brown turn back around and possibly even antagonized him to "charge him" (the words used by the prosecutor last night). Because, really, this makes no sense. Brown was leaving. It appears Brown was done with the confrontation. But I don't think Wilson was done with that confrontation at all. That panic he almost certainly initially felt was quickly transmuted to something else, to outrage and then worse. It really feels and looks all the way around like a rage, a revenge killing. I mean now that we have these facts. I think the jurors were overly swayed by the realization that Brown was indeed the initial aggressor (after Wilson's commands were issued to him about where to walk). But I wonder if even in that exchange there might not have been something really confrontational or insulting said by Wilson to bait Brown after he quickly drove the SUV right up on Brown and the friend walking with him. Wilson pulled right up alongside Brown, with the SUV nearly touching his body (according to Brown's companion and the closest witness apart from Wilson himself) when Brown failed to respond to Wilson's command to stop walking down the middle of the street. Perhaps there were words exchanged. Perhaps not. Brown was clearly riled up that day (going by the earlier video footage in the store where the petty theft had occurred).  It all comes down to how many feet of separation were between Brown and Wilson when those shots were fired. But you can't prove it if you have no consistency with witnesses or only that audio recording. If you're a grand juror, you see Brown is the initial antagonist and so there's that skewing the thought. But it seems unlikely that, twice grazed by bullets and walking away, Brown is going to turn around and re-engage this armed man when he knows he will lose, and possibly lose everything. That's what we are stuck with. That doubt and the unlikeliness of that "charge." Wilson describes Brown as like a "demon." Even these sorts of word choices point somewhere very disturbing, that sense of characterization. If Michael Brown had some insane sort of toxicology report, Wilson's version of events might make more sense. As it stands now, they look like quick-serve vengenance.

I'm not sure if it's recorded how far from his SUV Wilson was standing when he fired the fatal shots, but it's a fact that Brown's body was found lying in the street 153 feet from that cruiser. How can this fact not be evidence enough in itself to warrant an indictment? I believe there is that "twenty second rule" about lethal force; that is, if an individual who is a potential threat to life is within twenty seconds of striking, lethal force may be used. But if that even applies in that state, I'm sure discretion still always trumps that. No sane and moral officer wants to make an unnecessary kill. But I can't bring myself to believe Michael Brown was making any such threatening "charge."

Michael Brown's parents would like to see every police officer wear a body camera. This sounds like a good, fair idea to me. Some might see it as a little bit Big Brother, but hey, if you've got lethal force at your fingertips during your entire work day, why not? Here's further examination of this idea.

The "Human Barbie Doll" is now a Breatharian

I remember blogging about the bizarre beliefs of the Breatharians a while back.

Well, now "Human Barbie" Valeria Lukyanova has joined their ranks.

Don't all Barbie dolls subsist on air and light?

Most true Breatharians are of course ex-Breatharians, ex-everything, ex-alive.

Since it's a diet that's a little hard to cope with if you're not an epiphyte of some sort.

Let's hope someone sane enters her circle of friends before she reaches cardiac arrest at her young age.

Transcribed Dreams

I was enjoying C.W.'s book of transcribed dreams, and  I was curious to see if either of two particular poems existed in a video form.

I didn't find either of them, but I did discover the poet is also a singer. I had no idea.

It Started with Jasper Johns

Cool Tumblr I just found.

Maybe Don't

Maybe don't watch Pet Sematary II followed by 28 Days Later in the middle of the night.

One's so bad, it's good. And the other's just incredibly good.

But too much zombie action in one night.

I had seen the latter movie (2002) before, but I didn't even know of the existence of the former (1992).

I can't believe it's been twelve years already since that one came out.

The Danny Boyle film has a pretty great soundtrack to boot. Great use of William Orbit's Ravel piece in that one scene.

Clancy Brown does scumbag better than virtually anyone. I'm used to him doing that in Lifetime television movies. In Pet Sematary II, he makes zombie scumbag a thing. I don't think that was even a thing before that role. Usually, zombies just run after you and eat your brain (and other choice organ meat).. They don't usually try your patience first with their scumbag ways. I wasn't aware Mary Lambert had directed this tongue-very-much-in-cheek gorefest. But then, as I said, I wasn't even aware Pet Sematary had spawned a sequel. Eddie Furlong is very young and very creepy in this. He sort of looks like an Edward Gorey drawing throughout much of the film.