The voice of Amanda


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Darren Wilson should be on trial

I sat in my car, patiently waiting to hear the announcement whether Darren Wilson would go to trial for the murder of Michael Brown. My body almost vibrated in anticipation, hoping that there was some chance of justice prevailing in what seemed a pretty clear case of excessive force. As the steady voice droned through my speakers, his words sunk in and I realized we hadn’t turned that corner. It is still okay for cops to gun down unarmed people of color.

Darren Wilson clearly has no remorse for what he has done, evidenced by his television appearance. Even in self defense, shouldn’t you have a modicum of feeling for ending someone else’s life? He also has the benefit of time to rehearse how he tells his story, to fine tune his wording to insist he felt imminent threat on his own life. That’s the trouble. All we have are his verbal statements, but we cannot get into his state of mind. We have to take his word on it. And if he was afraid, was his fear racially motivated? Did his own bigoted ideas influence his decision to act with his weapon? That’s not justification.

As for Wilson’s assertion that Brown beat him severely, evidence photos showed he had no bruising and just a slight pinkness to his cheek. He also said Brown tried to grab his gun. If Brown was so physically assuming and powerful, why didn’t he get the gun?

So what about the forensics. Michael Brown had one close wound in his hand. Everything else was from a distance because he was running away. How is it okay to shoot him to death when he is running away? Where is your imminent fear for your own life in that moment, Darren? Wilson claims Brown turned and started charging him, claiming Brown looked like a “demon.” Brown’s family insists that is ludicrous. Who would charge at the person shooting?

I know not to expect a guilty verdict, but I was hoping to at least see this case go to trial. There must be some consequence of killing an unarmed teenager. If Wilson was afraid of an unarmed 18 year old, maybe he never should have been a cop in the first place. If his natural reaction was to shoot, maybe he never should have been a cop in the first place. Police are meant to serve and protect their communities, not gun down its residents. With all the evidence that has come out, the only thing that seems to make it justified is Wilson saying he feared for his life. How do we disprove his claim? The forensics don’t paint a picture of imminent threat, but the grand jury felt inclined to believe the four hours of testimony from Wilson. Too bad dead boys don’t talk.

There are too many loose ends for this to be considered a closed book. My hope is that a civil case will take the money given to Wilson by the KKK. He is not the person who lost something that day and he certainly doesn’t deserve to profit from his deadly action.


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My love-hate relationship with Facebook

I have a confession to make. I might have had a bit of a Facebook addiction. Don’t worry, its users are slowly helping wean me away from my obsessive habitual timeline checking by doing what online users do best- being assholes.

The faint moment of happiness for the random girl in my 2004 sophomore English class getting a really great Starbucks latte has a way of disappearing when I see people I’ve spent time with posting racist garbage. Maybe our personal encounters were on the light side; a joke here, a beer there. Facebook has opened up the dark part of their character that also happens to dislike anyone who is dark…skinned.

My childhood in rural Idaho was quiet and comfortably white for its citizens (minus the steady gunshot deaths that somehow escaped everyone…but I’ve already spent time on that subject in prior posts). The demographic represented a color palate ranging from mildly pink to the blaring white of our annual snowfall. I somehow escaped the fear and hate of anything and anyone different, even without cable tv! I read a lot of books with varied characters, showing how humanity transcends beyond color or religion. That coupled with my parent’s laid-back approach to diversity allowed me to see someone new with curiosity and friendliness.

Moving to a densely populated city has only furthered my views. I’ve gotten to meet so many people, hear so many stories, eat so many great meals…it baffles my mind that people I grew up with wouldn’t want to enjoy this connection with the world, too.

Sometimes I groan in disgust and simply pass by the comments and pictures hell bent on destroying Muslims or trying to prove how Hispanics are ruining the economy. Sometimes I am so disgusted I can’t help but put in my two cents and point out what they are truly proving- how racist and isolated they are. How can these small town folks call for the eradication of an entire group of people whom they have zero experience with personally and not call it what it is? It sure as hell isn’t the patriotism they claim.

So here’s my challenge. You know that whole “see something, say something” deal? Let’s do that with racism. If you hear someone telling a racist joke, asks why it’s funny. If you see someone posting hateful comments about an entire ethnic or religious group, ask how many people from that group they know. If you see the illogical, take the time to be logical. It may seem pointless, but you never know what random person will hear you or see what you say and realize that they are all out of reasons for their racism.