Opinion: Mike Vernon, Mike Brown And The Crashing Down Of Big Ideas


AP Photo.

Florissant Officer Mike Vernon was ambushed by Brian Cannon, Jr, on May 28, 2012. Cannon was on a crime spree, and shot Vernon three times. Vernon is now paralyzed. There was no looting, destruction and violence in our streets and businesses. Vernon is white and Cannon is black.

So where was the outrage? 

It was another senseless act of violence. However, departments around the country took it as a clarion call that they were outgunned and outmatched on the street.

The departments got better armor, better weapons and better tactics.They were being killed in the street by criminals that were much better armed and had much less to lose – drug dealers who were faced with death on a daily basis from their own competition and their own people.

What we can learn from New York and Los Angeles

How quickly we forgot the 80’s and 90’s when the police where being gunned down in the streets of New York Cityand Los Angeles.I grew up near NYC when there were nothing but hookers and drug dealers in Times Square. There was no Disney Store and there was no Bloomingdales.There were criminals because no one could stop them. The NYPD fought back and got the equipment and manpower to fight the element.It was only then that Times Square became a destination again. It was only then did people go out at night in Times Square.

Police helped downtown St. Louis go from war zone to evening destination, too

The same thing applied to downtown St. Louis and in particular Washington Avenue. It was dangerous. Hell, they filmed “Escape from NY” on Martin Luther King Drive near downtown. It was a war zone.Now it’s a place for business and bars and revelers at any time on a weekend evening. Its’ where you go to lunch and damn if there isn’t a grocery store and apartment living in a place none of us wanted to go not so long ago.

Guns and armor help keep the peace

As one of the few remaining liberals in West County, I am happy that they have the body armor. Happy they have the guns they need to combat the brutality that simmers below the surface. Happy they have the training to combat the over 20 gangs that are active in Mound City.

I want these men and women who get paid like crap to have what they need to do a job I sure as hell don’t want to do.I am embarrassed by the helicopter media that came in here (I’m looking at you MSNBC and CNN – networks I used to admire) and told us how terrible it was that Mike was gunned down because he was black, while at the same time telling us we should be patient for the facts. 

I am sick of the hypocrisy that came with them and was happy to see them go.

I am happy to see Rev. Al Sharpton get up at Mike Brown’s funeral yesterday and exhort the crowd to look within themselves. This from the Washington Examiner:

"After a demand for broad reforms in American policing, Sharpton changed course to address his black listeners directly. “We’ve got to be straight up in our community, too,’ he said. ‘We have to be outraged at a 9-year-old girl killed in Chicago. We have got to be outraged by our disrespect for each other, our disregard for each other, our killing and shooting and running around gun-toting each other, so that they’re justified in trying to come at us because some of us act like the definition of blackness is how low you can go.”

“Blackness has never been about being a gangster or a thug,” Sharpton continued. “Blackness was, no matter how low we was pushed down, we rose up anyhow.”

Sharpton went on to describe blacks working to overcome discrimination, to build black colleges, to establish black churches, to succeed in life. “We never surrendered,” Sharpton said. “We never gave up. And now we get to the 21st century, we get to where we’ve got some positions of power. And you decide it ain’t black no more to be successful. Now, you want to be a n—– and call your woman a ‘ho.’ You’ve lost where you’re coming from.”

It took a lot of courage to get up and say that to his own people and I would have been on my feet with Spike Lee and MLK III who were standing and clapping. 

Again the Examiner:

“The cameras cut to director Spike Lee, on his feet applauding enthusiastically. So were Martin Luther King III, radio host Tom Joyner, and, judging by video coverage, pretty much everyone else in the church. They kept applauding when Sharpton accused some blacks of having ‘ghetto pity parties.’ And they applauded more when Sharpton finally declared: “We’ve got to clean up our community so we can clean up the United States of America!”

The community responded with exactly the kind of rage you would have expected. After all, they wanted to spend the morning believing that their community had nothing to do with Mike Brown.

Now let’s DO something

I am happy to that this should galvanize that community to actually vote.

Don’t like your Mayor? Vote for someone else. Don’t like the Governor, vote for someone else. Don’t like the County Executive, vote for someone else. I am hopeful that they see that they do have the same power as everyone else in the Government. That the 14th and 15th Amendments apply to everyone. You must insist on your rights, you must fight for your rights or someone will come along and take them.

So good on the people of Ferguson for taking to the streets in peaceful demonstration. Good on them for realizing that there is a way to change what happened. Good on them for making a good come from a tragedy, no matter who is to blame.

This is not to say that there is no blame for the events in Ferguson. There is plenty of that to go around, but shame on the rest of us for jumping to conclusions.Shame on us for assuming the cop was right because we want him to be. 

Shame on us for assuming Mike was guilty because we want him to be. Shame on the people that assume Mike was killed in cold blood because he was one of them. All without evidence, all on speculation.

The story will come out. Justice will be served. We may not like the outcome but our society has survived because the truth has come out. We have a free press to keep us honest, good and bad. We have freedom of speech to make sure our voices are heard. We have freedom from tyranny because of great men who wanted a better life.

Justice is in our national DNA and it started with John Adams defending a group of British soldiers because it was the right thing to do. It was the right thing to do in a free society.




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