Nothing that happened on Monday night – neither the grand jury’s decision nor the riot that followed — should have come as a surprise to anyone following the events in Ferguson closely. Indeed, I was on the record in predicting both outcomes here on NRO last month.
For all the media hand-wringing on display in the months since Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown on August 9, the case was essentially a simple one, and though the grand jury’s deliberative process will remain secret in accordance with the law, my sense is that they had little difficulty in reaching the conclusion they did.
From the outset we were presented with mutually exclusive versions of the fatal encounter. One was that Officer Wilson fired in self-defense so as to prevent Michael Brown from taking his gun and using it against him. The other was that Wilson shot a harmless and compliant Michael Brown – the gentle giant – in cold blood, an act motivated by racial animus.
First to promote the latter version on the day of the shooting was Michael Brown’s companion, Dorian Johnson, who, in his desire to portray his friend to the world as the victim of an unprovoked attack, omitted the fact that Brown – and it could be argued that Johnson himself – had just committed a robbery at a local convenience store. Johnson lacked credibility when he first told the tale, and he continued to reveal himself as a liar by changing his story every time an inconsistency was exposed. And when the tape of the robbery was made public, only the most ideologically blinkered could have failed to deduce which of the two competing scenarios would most likely be borne out by the investigation.
And as for the riot, that too was a foregone conclusion. Why? Because the rioters, many of whom came from far beyond the St. Louis area, were looking forward to it as a child does to Christmas. They don’t care about Michael Brown, and they don’t care what the grand jury decided. They just like to steal and break things. Indeed, for the rioters, from the common street thugs to the Occupy types in their ridiculous Guy Fawkes masks, last night in Ferguson was like Christmas, Mardi Gras, and New Year’s Eve rolled into one: a big party, after which you went home with stuff you didn’t pay for.
They’ll be at it again tonight unless they’re stopped.
— Jack Dunphy is the nom de cyber of a police officer in Southern California.