Ferguson, Missouri. Who would have thought this little town, suburb of St. Louis, would bring so much attention and division across the country.
This is going to be short, because in my mind there isn't a lot to discuss here.
Here is how I see it. The Prosecuting Attorney went beyond what would normally be done in such a case. He took it to a Grand Jury that was already seated when the terrible events unfolded last August. They let anyone who wanted to testify to tell what they saw. They spent weeks, months on a case that ordinarily would be taken care of in a day or two. The charge to the Grand Jury was to see if anything rose to the simple bar of reasonable cause to indict Officer Wilson in his shooting of Michael Brown. It is as low of a bar as can be set. If there is any ... ANY ... indication that the officer may have done anything improper they would indict him. They charges they could indict him on ranged from involuntary manslaughter to first degree murder or, if they found no reasonable cause, not bring an indictment.
After all of the testimony and evidence was gathered, including forensic evidence, autopsies from three different medical examiners and the testimonies of dozens of witnesses, they found nothing that past the level set for indictment. Nothing. Personally I was expecting at least an involuntary manslaughter charge just because of the political and public unrest that the case had caused. They couldn't even come up with that.
The Prosecutor went a step further by doing something that is hardly ever done by releasing transcripts of all the testimony, the results of the forensics and autopsies to the public as a show of good faith that the situation had been completely studied and that the public could understand the reason the Grand Jury came forth without an indictment. It was an extraordinary measure to try to keep peace by being totally 100% transparent.
Still, Ferguson burned. They rioted. They looted. They burned businesses that had absolutely nothing to do with the case. It was shameful as far as I am concerned. Agitators from outside Ferguson came in to take advantage of what was surely to be a powder keg waiting to explode so that they could take advantage of the anarchy that followed the announcement.
Here's the thing. The system worked. Let me repeat that. THE SYSTEM WORKED. They set the bar as low as they could to get an indictment on Officer Wilson and the evidence did not rise above that bar. The step father of Michael Brown went out and stood on top of a car and urged the crowd to burn the place down.
A few players on the St. Louis Rams football team came out with hands raised to protest the decision of the Grand Jury. Again, shameful.
Now it seems that in spite of all the evidence gathered by the Grand Jury, in spite of the Grand Jury working hard to come up with the correct decision, Officer Wilson is still evil and Michael Brown is a victim. It is almost surreal. Where were all these protestors when O.J. Simpson was found not guilty even though the evidence screamed his guilt?
Major steps were taken by the Prosecutor to ensure that there would not be another situation like what happened after the Rodney King trial in Los Angelas. THAT was a miscarriage of justice just as much as the O.J. case was. The Ferguson case was not.
THE SYSTEM WORKED. If we want to continue making sure the system works, then we, all citizens, should respect and accept this Grand Jury's finding that there was not enough evidence to even bring up a small question that the officer acted in a criminal way. Not even involuntary manslaughter could be brought.
THE SYSTEM WORKED. In this country, the system works very hard to bring the guilty to justice. There should never be a situation where a man who a Grand Jury and a Prosecutor would put on trial a man that none of them thought was guilty of anything. That isn't the way it is supposed to work.
If charges had been brought against Officer Wilson when no one involved int he process thought that he was guilty the system would have failed. If that were to happen, then not one citizen in this country would be safe from false imprisonment or being put on trial for anything that someone said they committed.
THE SYSTEM WORKED. If ever there was an example of how the system worked, it was this case. The total transparency of the whole system proved that. It is best, at least in this case, to accept the Grand Jury's decision and be thankful that the system did work. Just because the outcome was not what you wanted, doesn't mean the outcome was wrong.
Accept the decision and be thankful that all of the evidence was made public and know that in the future, the system will continue to work so that any of us, all of us, have the freedom that is given to us in the Constitution.
There have been times when the system did not work, but this isn't it. Pick your battles carefully. Don't work to destroy the system that protects all of us.