There are some rumblings and rumors emanating from Ferguson, Missouri, where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot to death by Officer Darren Wilson in August. A grand jury has been examining all the evidence and hearing all the testimony, from people who were at the scene that day and from Wilson himself.
Former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch has confidently predicted that an indictment is highly unlikely. Sure, he may be biased in favor of the police officer, but even the New York Times, in a much-discussed article last week, seemed to be preparing its readers for a non-indictment.
According to leaked reports from inside the grand jury room, forensic evidence indicates that Brown reached into the car and tried to grab Wilson’s gun. What happened after that depends on whose account you believe, and we won’t try the case here because we don’t have all the facts. But all fair-minded Americans should agree: If Officer Wilson used excessive force, he should be indicted, tried, and convicted; if he genuinely felt his life was in jeopardy and fired in self-defense, he should be exonerated.
Unfortunately, we all know it won’t be that simple if the grand jury decides not to indict. The race hustlers will again descend on Ferguson to stoke resentment, and MSNBC will be at its round-the-clock, hand-wringing, teeth-gnashing best. That part is actually okay – rabble-rousing and protest are venerable traditions.
Far more ominously, there are already agitators vowing more riots if the grand jury doesn’t see things their way. One young man in Ferguson put it this way: “If there is not an indictment, all hell is going to break loose.”
The despicable recklessness extends beyond street thugs to public figures. Al Sharpton, MSNBC’s hustler-in-chief, is already sowing doubt about the grand jury’s judgment. And then there is Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed, a duly-elected official, who promised “havoc” if Officer Wilson is cleared. The senator managed to get herself arrested this week during a protest in Ferguson and spent Monday night in jail. She is demanding “justice,” which of course means only one thing: Indict … or else!
Whatever the grand jury’s decision, and no one really knows what that will be, Michael Brown’s death provides fresh kindling for America’s racial arsonists. The agitators will claim this shooting proves once again that America is racist to the core, a place where “white privilege” is this nation’s past, present, and future.
White liberals, who feel guilty that some minorities are not as successful as others, now have another reason to treat some groups like children, excusing bad behavior and ridiculing the notion of personal responsibility. For far too many people, everything is about race. Criticize President Obama? You’re a racist. Call for a travel ban to prevent the spread of Ebola? Racist. And the race mongers, white and black, now have the death of Michael Brown.
Indictment or not, they will point to this case and tell young black Americans that they just can’t make it, the deck is stacked against them. It is the perpetuation of that lie that keeps some black Americans from reaching their full potential. That is yet another tragedy to come out of Ferguson, in some ways the worst tragedy of all.
Bill O’Reilly is a talk show host on Fox News. His column runs on Friday in the Minden Press-Herald.