August 20, 2014

Esquire Columnist: ‘We Are All Complicit’ in Ferguson

You had to know this was coming. The only question was who was going to be the first to do it.

On Tuesday, echoing the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil,” wherein the devil slyly tells listeners that “it was you and me” who “killed the Kennedys” (making everyone responsible ensures that no one is truly responsible, allowing evil to advance), James Joiner, the Special Projects Editor at Esquire Digital, pointed the finger of guilt for recent events in Ferguson, Missouri at all Americans. He claimed that “we are all complicit” in what has transpired, starting with the shooting death of Michael Brown in an altercation with police on August 9. Execrable excerpts follow the jump (links are in original; bolds and numbered tags are mine):


We Are All Complicit in the Warzone that Has Become Ferguson, Missouri
The President, our Congresspeople, the governor, the police, and maybe even you.

(Note: The “maybe” part disappears later. — Ed.)

Acts of despotism are being carried out, by a mostly white militarized police force, upon a mostly black, mostly lower class populace. [1] When our President addressed the situation in Missouri today, cutting short his vacation in part to do so, he said that the people of Ferguson should be calm and stifle the “small minority” who are undermining the peaceful protests with their violence.

Except that small minority is the police as much as anyone.

… When a militarized police force blacks out the press in far corners of the globe, the outcry is deafening. Our political leaders call for fire and brimstone, and rail against the injustice. But now, today, the past week, it’s here in the center of our country. In Middle America, where an unarmed black man was shot at least six times by an agent of the force that is sworn to protect and serve, and the rational frustration and anger of his community is being stifled with force. [2]

First the local police, then the state police. Now the National Guard. [3] The level of potential force keeps escalating, and with it the tension. Ferguson, Missouri is no longer a lower-middle class town in our heartland, but now an occupied territory in the center of America, held by a hostile force.

… A hostile force has taken an American town, prevented journalists from reporting, and are using chemical weapons on innocent American citizens. [4] It’s hard to believe that no one has the power to stop this.

… Maybe the governor’s hands are tied by his loyalty to the police or the votes their union wields, and the local congressmen and senators are crippled by the same political deadlock. [3] Influential “think” tanks in our nation’s capital are mocking Amnesty International and espousing America’s right to do as it pleases.

They are all complicit. [5]

… Every member of our government, and every member of populace who is not outraged at what is happening here, is complicit in not just the violations of these people’s human rights, but in the slow death of a hard won way of life.

… We are all complicit. (This bold is the author’s. — Ed.)We, the people, of that same supreme document mentioned before, have allowed this to happen. [6]

And we all have a duty—not just to another young, dead black man, and not just to a town in the middle of our country full of frustrated Americans, fed up with being beaten down for the color of their skin or the contents of their bank account [7]—to fix it.


[1] — Funny. What I see are acts of vandalism, property destruction, theft, assaults, and, until recently, inexplicably inadequate law enforcement.

[2] — Joiner failed to disclose the inconvenient fact, known for six days as of yesterday, that the police officer involved was injured in the incident. It turns out that the officer, Darren Wilson, “suffered an ‘orbital blowout fracture to the eye socket.’”

[3] (tag used twice) — As was done during the riots of the 1960s an 1970s with little if any objection, the first step after it became clear that local police had lost control should have seen Governor Jay Nixon call up the National Guard. That the situation festered and deterioriated for so many days is on him.

[4] — Given that “journalists” have swarmed the area and have been reporting virtually non-stop for over ten days, this whine rings particularly hollow. Oh, and the “chemical weapon” involved is tear gas, used for decades in quelling disturbances.

[5] — Nope. In this situation, Nixon’s the one who failed in his most basic gubernatorial duty.

[6] — Again, this is a failure of a likely white guilt-ridden Democratic governor to do what his job demands. Last night, this same governor used his bully pulpit to demand “justice” for Michael Brown and his family, effectively poisoning any potential jury pool should Darren Wilson go to trial.

[7] — I can’t even make sense of this. Perhaps readers can help.

One commenter summed up his disgust at Joiner’s piece succinctly: “What a stupid, thoughtless piece. I am not complicit. A criminal attacked a police officer and was shot. End of story.”

Cross-posted at


No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.