Eric Garner and Michael Brown had much in common, not the least of which was this: On the last day of their lives, they made bad decisions. Epically bad decisions.
Each broke the law — petty offenses, to be sure, but sufficient to attract the attention of the police.
And then — tragically, stupidly, fatally, inexplicably — each fought the law.
The law won, of course, as it almost always does.
This was underscored yet again Wednesday when a Staten Island grand jury chose not to indict any of the arresting officers in the death in police custody of Garner last July.
Just as a grand jury last week declined to indict the police officer who shot a violently resisting Michael Brown to death in Ferguson, Mo., in August.
Demagoguery rises to an art form in such cases — because, again, the police generally win. (Though not always, as a moment’s reflection before the Police Memorial in lower Manhattan will underscore.) And because those who advocate for cop-fighters are so often such accomplished beguilers.
They cast these tragedies as, if not outright murder, then invincible evidence of an enduringly racist society.
No such thing, as a matter of fact. Virtually always, these cases represent sad, low-impact collisions of cops and criminals — routine in every respect except for an outlier conclusion.
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