Last week I wrote an article about mass shootings and the rush to point fingers at the other side of the political spectrum. It observed the propensity of politicians to lob blame at others for causing this country’s divide and creating a climate of hate—a climate which, as those politicians believe, incited a pair of separate deranged individuals to pick up guns and perpetrate murderous rampages.
I cited politicians—including the president—who use their many platforms to send messages to their base in order to score political points. But, admittedly, I spent most of the article focusing on individuals running for president on the Democratic side. I highlighted their reckless use of despicable words when referring to half of the country’s population. I chastised them for their incredibly irresponsible and dangerous accusations regarding our nation’s law enforcement officers. I denounced their habit of encouraging people to literally ignore and violate laws they themselves helped to enact.
Then, days later, two of those candidates threw fuel on the smoldering fire.
Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris decided to commemorate the five-year anniversary of Michael Brown’s shooting in Ferguson, Missouri by disregarding the truth, ignoring the evidence, and forgetting any semblance of moral decorum by calling Officer Darren Wilson a “murderer.”
Elizabeth Warren tweeted:
5 years ago Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael was unarmed yet he was shot 6 times.
Kamala Harris tweeted:
Michael Brown’s murder forever changed Ferguson and America.
To put it simply, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris lied.
I know that seems harsh, but one cannot mince words in this case; “lie” seems like the perfect descriptor.
I mean, what’s the alternative? Did they just make a mistake?
Well, if that were true, then you would have to believe that these two educated women weren’t aware of the several investigations which determined unequivocally that the shooting was justified. One such investigation by then-President Obama’s Justice Department verified through several autopsies, forensic examination, eyewitnesses, and DNA evidence that Michael Brown—at 300 pounds and well over six feet tall—violently attacked Officer Darren Wilson, leaving the officer with no alternative course of action.
The evidence is and has always been in plain view. So why say that he was “murdered”?
They are lying.
Why would they do that?
There is no other reason except political gain; political gain at the expense of truth and at the risk of adding to the volatile climate in this country.
The only other explanation would be that they chose not to (or were not savvy enough to) have their staffs look into one of the biggest powder keg events of the last quarter-century before using a word like “murder”—a word that incites, accuses, and demeans.
Either way, they should both be ashamed of themselves; which, of course, they are not.
Politicians and pundits continue to use inflammatory language for political, financial, and influential advancement. To hell with the truth.
They convict before receiving facts, ignore due process, disparage individuals with no thought of the consequences for those they smear and condemn an entire profession no matter what the latest and most comprehensive research shows.
Then, these same people pontificate about morals, ethics, fairness, and the like without a hint of self-awareness regarding their blatant hypocrisy.
Law enforcement has its problems—as does the country. Each have pasts that were at times cringe-worthy and shameful.
But where are we really right now? Where do we need to go? How do we get to be better versions of ourselves as people and as organizations?
I guarantee that law enforcement in this country is working hard to be better, do better, and to save lives. Yes, we have individuals who shouldn’t be wearing the badge, but that’s an incredibly small minority.
I constantly hear politicians acting as though they know—when they certainly don’t know—what the real problem is with law enforcement. I wince when I hear them speak on the subject as though their words are factual or that they have some special knowledge about the inner-workings of over 17,000 agencies.
Let me suggest this with complete certainty: not only do they have no such knowledge, but most of what they state as fact is pure fiction. But it fits the bill and helps them sell what they need to sell. It doesn’t matter to them that they aren’t disseminating the truth or offering real solutions.
So how about this: those of you have national platforms—all who have national platforms—stop lying! That alone may be a good jumping-off point as you try to get people to trust that your actual goal is to heal and not to divide.
Maybe then we can start working on real problems with solutions that have a chance of working.
In the meantime, why don’t you start by apologizing to former Officer Darren Wilson?
I won’t hold my breath.