November 26, 2014

Reading the released transcripts from the Darren Wilson grand jury hearing is astounding. Wilson destroyed physical evidence by cleaning blood off himself and his uniform, and it’s unprovable whether or not Michael Brown grabbed Wilson’s service weapon — one of Wilson’s big claims about the altercation — because Wilson’s service weapon was not tested for fingerprints.

And Wilson’s first interviewing officer didn’t take notes or record the interview in any form. It’s unknowable how many times Darren Wilson’s story’s changed. The medical examination was also improperly recorded, with photographs of Michael Brown’s body not taken because a cell phone was not charged.

Whatever happened in Ferguson, the police department was an accomplice.

The most-watched news channel in the United States, Fox News, which plays itself off as an underdog, is of course reporting it as just another case of “Giant Negro.” Poor Darren Wilson, that grown-ass man with less-than-lethal weapons in his vehicle, he couldn’t help but grab his service weapon and end the unarmed Giant Negro Michael Brown’s life.

The scene of Michael Brown’s death
Darren Wilson standing over Michael Brown’s lifeless body.

This racist country’s come along way, though. It’s been awhile since we murdered a black kid for just whistling at a white woman.

Or maybe things haven’t changed at all, and both Emmett Till and Michael Brown were killed for not respecting their superiors.

Premise Four: Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.

Premise Five: The property of those higher on the hierarchy is more valuable than the lives of those below. It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control — in everyday language, to make money — by destroying or taking the lives of those below. This is called production. If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the lives of those below. This is called justice.

Two of Derrick Jensen’s twenty premises of civilization.