Stephen Squibb in n + 1:
Before the cops bought Dylann Roof a burger after he killed nine people in a South Carolina bible study and before Michael Slager shot Walter Scott in the back after a traffic stop and then planted evidence on his body; before Daniel Pantaleo choked Eric Garner to death on camera and Jeronimo Yanez killed Philando Castile for legally owning a gun; before Sandra Bland was found hanging in police custody and Heather Heyer was run over by the fascist James Harris Fields, Jr., and the police told the media he was “just scared”; before Jeremy Joseph Christian told two young women of color on a train in Portland, Oregon to go back to Saudi Arabia and then stabbed to death two of the three men who rose to defend them—“I’m a patriot! This is what liberalism gets you!” he shouted in court—before James Harris Jackson came to New York from Baltimore for the purpose of killing black men and stabbed 66-year-old Timothy Caughman to death while he was collecting cans; before John Russell Houser killed two women in a movie theater for watching a feminist film and before Robert Lewis Dear, Jr. was captured alive after killing three people—one of them a cop—in a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood; before the police killed Freddie Gray in the back of a van and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in a park in Cleveland; after so many thousands of others but before all of these, officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown when he was standing in the middle of the street with his hands up in Ferguson, Missouri.
Wilson thought he was just killing an animal, an angry beast with the temerity to do something other than what he said exactly when and how he said it. The courts and his fellow officers agreed with him, and he was rewarded with early retirement. But Wilson wasn’t killing a creature like a dog or a pig whose complex emotional lives we routinely torture and destroy without consequence. He was killing a citizen of the United States of America, and these creatures are stubborn. They do not listen when you tell them that for 400 years reactionary violence has been part of the culture of this nation. They do not believe it when you point out that the Constitution has always been a hypocritical, contradictory, selectively-enforced document, only taken seriously by the weak-minded. They cannot be convinced that a garish rectangle set about with stars and stripes is just another piece of cloth. And so the protests began. In the streets, in the classrooms, and on the football field, when Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem to draw attention to the blatant, doggedly consistent violation of American citizens’ rights to life, liberty, and due process.
What did they expect would happen? That’s the part that has turned me against more beloved members of my family than I would have thought possible. It’s not that they approve of the killing, here or elsewhere, it’s that they apparently share the widespread expectation that after the killing there would be no consequences whatsoever of any kind.