Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 :::

If you feel obligated to read something about the recent goings-on in and around Ferguson, MO, Jonah Goldberg's comments last night and this morning seem reasonable, which of course distinguishes them from many others. Particularly
  • One sympathizes with the Brown family. The loss of a son etc. in August can't have been easy, but being told that it wasn't anyone's fault is necessarily going to make it harder.
  • The actions of the prosecutor seem defensible, even reasonable, but one can see the point of people who question them; he was almost certainly in a situation in which any course of action was going to be second-guessed by someone.
Of course, I also sympathize with the innocent people of Ferguson who have had their neighborhoods smashed up — not just the shop owners, though perhaps especially them, but also their natural patrons. I'd also like to say, with the usual caveat that the jury followed this a lot more closely than I did, that an inability even to get "probable cause" on anything surprises me, though I agree with Goldberg that having a trial with a more-or-less obviously unattainable "beyond reasonable doubt" standard, even if it would benefit the community (and I rather doubt it would), would be unjust; many of the loudest voices calling for suspension of justice here would in other cases give much better lip service to the idea that the rule of law should especially protect politically unpopular defendants from the mobs that would threaten them, and I advise those mobs that that's not a principle they would likely, in the long run, want to throw away.  That Officer Wilson deserves justice is a point only more forcefully made by the argument that the criminal justice system is itself racist; he should be held responsible for his actions, but should not be the scapegoat for an institutionally racist system.

Update (7:47 EDT) I'll note, incidentally, that "wasn't anyone's fault" kind of takes in the following calculus: As a general principle, one should rob stores and/or hang out with robbers, punch police officers, or charge at police officers, and one probably improves one's odds of not getting shot by a police officer by avoiding those behaviors, and yet, as some people observe a bit incessantly, these behaviors do not merit death. Brown may well be more at fault here than the average driver who is "at fault" in a fatal car accident, but those are, for similar reasons, very frustrating as well; it's a high cost for what might in other circumstances seem like a minor slip.

::: posted by dWj at 5:01 PM

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Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

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