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Ferguson, Fairness, and Justice

As you probably have heard by now, yesterday a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, did not find probable cause to indict Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown.

While a grand jury is not the same as a trial – different rules, different results – political pundits and residents of Ferguson alike reacted to the decision as if a verdict had been reached on Wilson’s guilt.

Neither you nor I know for sure what really happened that sad day in Missouri. Alongside the public outcry over the tragedy, many points have been raised in Wilson’s defense.

It’s worth wondering: if the grand jury had indicted Wilson, does that automatically mean that he would have been convicted?

Scott Shackford, writing on Reason.com‘s Hit & Run Blog, asks that and the following important questions:

Should we be upset at the amount of deference and effort made to find reasons not to indict Wilson in this case or should we be upset that the same doesn’t happen to the rest of us? Is the outrage that a grand jury didn’t indict Wilson or is the outrage that the grand jury indicts just about everybody else?

For me this case places front and center the relationship we should have with the police.

As a child, I was taught to find a policeman if I was ever in trouble. I would still do that. As a matter of fact, I have graduated my town’s Citizens Police Academy, and helped form my local block watch. I encourage my neighbors to call a cop even when they are not sure they really need one.

At the same time, I know personally victims of police brutality.

I know all about the “blue wall of silence” that surrounds bad cops. And personally, I would not hesitate to go after a rogue if people I know are being victimized.

Professionally, I go out of my way to try to get life insurance for police officers and other law enforcement officials. They put their lives on the line for the public welfare and that sacrifice deserves my full commitment to the protection of their families.

How do you think we can prevent police brutality and improve our relationship with officers of the law?