You don't have to go very far to get heaping helpings of sanctimonious commentary about the shooting of Michael Brown, the grand jury's decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson, or the riots in Ferguson. Since the shooting in August, liberals and conservatives have set up camp in the predictable places: liberals on the side of the dead black man representing oppression of black people at the hands of racist cops; conservatives on the side of the white police officer representing law and order and the right to self-defense.
The grand jury's decision not to indict Wilson on any of the five counts presented has only exacerbated this division. Since the announcement on Monday, conservative media has been in full-on gloat mode, gleefully pointing to the riots as an example of how "those people" can't control themselves, while liberals are busy railing against the white supremacy embedded in our justice system and refusing to condemn said riots at all. At the end of the day, though, none of these people know what happened on Aug. 9 in Ferguson. And anyone who tells you they do, is full of it.
This take from Barstool Sports founder David Portnoy (El Presidente) stands out as a beacon of reason in a fog of self-righteously biased commentaries, as he first addresses the racist reaction to the riots, and then those who think they know exactly what happened with the shooting:
"The point of this blog is do racist people know they’re racist? Like there is nothing worse than people who are clearly racist using events like last night as an excuse to be racist while pretending they aren’t. It’s the same people you see on your timelines everyday saying borderline racist stuff with racist overtones. And just like clockwork they come out in a moment like last night because they think it validates their stance. They think they can say borderline racist shit now without it coming across as overtly racist. It’s almost an excuse for them. Like look black people are rioting and looting. It’s easy to say they are are savages now. But where were these people during the 100 other riots that took place this year? Where were they when UNH, Umass, Keene State kids were throwing beer bottles and rocks at cops? Where were they during the US Open of surfing riots? Where were these people when Vancouver burned their city to the ground? Where were these people when West Virginia wins a game at anything or Kentucky basketball riots?
"Bottomline is there are idiots everywhere. Doesn’t matter if you’re black or white or what. Truthfully the Ferguson riots were gonna happen whether Darren Wilson was indicted or not because everywhere you go there are morons who use big events to riot. That’s just life. It’s just so infuriating to see closet racists use this as an excuse to validate their racist ideology and be like “I told you so” on social media. No you didn’t. You were racist before this happened and you’re racist now. That’s how racists work..."
User "viciousretardation" didn't agree, and left this comment to try to set Portnoy straight. Note the upvote/downvote ratio:
Quod erat demonstrandum.
Portnoy added a postscript:
"PS – I don’t know how anybody can be on one side or the other about this [grand jury decision]. Who the fuck knows what happened? There is so much he said. Only Darren Wilson and the kid he was with know the real truth."
This is what we need in this discussion: less certainty. People are so damn sure that Wilson murdered Brown or that Wilson was justified in shooting Brown. Like Portnoy says, the people with the loudest, strongest, most outspoken opinions on this incident weren't even there, and it's not like the evidence presented to the grand jury that was released on Monday makes it clear either. To seize upon this tragedy as a validation of one's sociopolitical agenda --whatever it may be -- is to presume to know something that one simply cannot.