CultureHISTORY: #MikeBrown Funeral - August 2014
- Mike Brown casket w/ St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap
- Brown’s mother Lesley McSpadden at her son’s service
- Attendees united in song
- Funeral attendees
- Memorial including long line of roses at Mike Brown’s murder site
- A painting & memorial from Atlanta, GA
A Man Said to the Universe by Stephan Crane (1871-1900)
In a press release issued March 3, the day he died, the Louisiana State Police said Victor White III apparently shot himself in an Iberia Parish police car. According to the police statement, White had his hands cuffed behind his back when he shot himself in the back.
But according to the full final report of the Iberia Parish coroner, which was released nearly six months later and obtained exclusively by NBC News, White was shot in the front, not the back. The bullet entered his right chest and exited under his left armpit. White was left-handed, according to family members. According to the report, the forensic pathologist found gunshot residue in the wound, but not the sort of stippling that a close-range shot can sometimes produce. He also found abrasions on White’s face.
And yet, despite the contradictions – and even though White’s hands were never tested for gunpowder residue – the Iberia Parish coroner still supported the central contention of the initial police statement issued back in March. Dr. Carl Ditch ruled that White shot himself, and declared his death a suicide.
Thanks to that whole “mental” part, mental illnesses are often heavily influenced by the cultures and societies in which people live. Case in point: The way people with schizophrenia interpret their own hallucinations has changed over the course of the 20th century, keeping pace with changes in…
The rage on the streets of Ferguson is historical and systemic in both nature and origin. The rage in Ferguson is not rooted in the innocence or culpability of Michael Brown. And yet, that focus on Michael Brown will be the temptation of White America. Because if we 1) reduce the story to those three minutes and 2) find enough evidence of moral culpability then the narrative causally closes, the moral loose ends are neatly tied up and the status quo can remain intact.
In short, Christians must resist the temptation to reduce the racial issues in Ferguson and the US to the moral drama of those three minutes. We must, rather, consider how those three minutes are historically and systemically embedded in structures of oppression and injustice. Our view must be wider.
In theological language, the moral story of Ferguson isn’t about “flesh and blood.” The moral story is about more than those three minutes. The moral story isn’t about the relative guilt or innocence of Michael Brown and Darren Wilson. The moral story is about historical and systemic oppression and injustice, about the “principalities and powers” and “spiritual wickedness in high places.”