The latest report, if true, really makes it likely that Wilson should be cleared–if gun culture is not dead yet. Fox News reported yesterday,
Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo., police officer whose fatal shooting of Michael Brown touched off more than a week of demonstrations, suffered severe facial injuries, including an orbital (eye socket) fracture, and was nearly beaten unconscious by Brown moments before firing his gun, a source close to the department’s top brass told FoxNews.com.
“The Assistant (Police) Chief took him to the hospital, his face all swollen on one side,” said the insider. “He was beaten very severely.”
According to the well-placed source, Wilson was coming off another case in the neighborhood on Aug. 9 when he ordered Michael Brown and his friend Dorain Johnson to stop walking in the middle of the road because they were obstructing traffic. However, the confrontation quickly escalated into physical violence, the source said.
“They ignored him and the officer started to get out of the car to tell them to move,” the source said. “They shoved him right back in, that’s when Michael Brown leans in and starts beating Officer Wilson in the head and the face.”
The source claims that there is “solid proof” that there was a struggle between Brown and Wilson for the policeman’s firearm, resulting in the gun going off – although it still remains unclear at this stage who pulled the trigger. Brown started to walk away according to the account, prompting Wilson to draw his gun and order him to freeze. Brown, the source said, raised his hands in the air, and turned around saying, “What, you’re going to shoot me?”
We are still waiting for official reports and investigations, but this seriously pushes back on the early narrative. My biggest problem with the police officer’s story was that I couldn’t believe someone would be stupid enough to attack an armed police officer. I still find that pretty unbelievable, but with the other witnesses and now this report, it is looking more likely that Brown was not acting rationally.
What have flummoxed me are various statements made on the internet that this story (if true!) wouldn’t exonerate Wilson. Somehow, with his cracked eye socket, this super cop was supposed to shoot to wound. Or else resort to his taser.
I know very little about guns, but this is the kind of thinking that would not only condemn Wilson, but would justify the prosecution of anyone who used a handgun in self-defense. It is entirely unrealistic. Critics might as well expect cops to shoot the guns out of the hands of criminals.
When you shoot in self defense you shoot at the center of mass. You do this because it is the easiest way to hit your assailant and, as an added bonus, not hit other people. I assume that is how Wilson was aiming and yet he never was able to hit his target. (Do we even know if Wilson realized that he had wounded Brown before he collapsed?) When you shoot at a big man who is rushing you, you have no way of knowing if you are going to stop him with a mere handgun. The idea that Wilson had the luxury of shooting to wound is Hollywood, not reality.
The taser option is ridiculous as well. This is true even if we assume it is rational to rely on a taser to stop a 290-pound plus man who is rushing you. Wilson had Brown at gunpoint when the youth charged him. How was he to know he had time to holster his weapon and draw his taser, aim, and fire it?
My fear is that we have too many people who have never held a real weapon but have seen movies or TV shows that display impossible shooting. Ignorance of real shooting is going to cause all sorts of mistakes in evaluating the behavior of others.