Ferguson comes to Columbia

November 15, 2015

ButlerMissouriIt is the lie that will not die; The “Hands up, Don’t shoot” meme born in the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.  White cop, black victim, the national media confirmation bias was so strong that objective reporting never had a chance.

And so it was that tensions mounted, anger fomented, and when a Grand Jury found insufficient evidence to charge officer Wilson, Ferguson burned.  While Governor Jay Nixon watched on, shops were looted and innocent business owners lost everything, but the media got some great video so the meme continued.

Not until a Department of Justice report months later debunked Brown acquaintance Dorian Johnson’s lie did the media mea culpa finally begin.  But the damage was done.  By the time Mark Twain’s truth was finally putting on its shoes, the “Hands up, Don’t shoot” lie had traveled the world many times over.

And by the looks of what happened last Monday, Ferguson has a branch office on the campus of the University of Missouri.  In an amazing display of cowardice, the Board of Curators forced out President Tim Wolfe and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, for what is becoming clearer each day, the “crime” of not responding in a manner that the Concerned Student 1950 activist group led by hunger striking student Jonathan Butler found satisfactory.

The same Jonathan Butler who in an interview with LA Times reporter Matt Pearce said that it all started with numerous trips to Ferguson (when the great lie was at its peak) and that “It was monumental in terms of how it influenced me,” Butler said, calling what came next “the post Ferguson effect”.

Butler described the “signature moment” of his MU student organizing as being one of the 11 who had surrounded President Wolfe’s car at the homecoming parade and being forced away by police after Wolfe didn’t talk to them.

The fact that 11 students out of over 35,000 can have their feelings hurt and in the course of less than a month foment an atmosphere that drives two people out of their jobs without hearing or due process shows just how upside down the world of modern America Academia has become.

That Jonathan Butler being from a family with a net worth of millions (The Omaha World-Herald reports that Eric Butler, lil Jonathan’s father is a vice president at Union Pacific and had compensation of $8.4 million in 2014 alone) now suddenly finds himself “oppressed” after 8 years on campus is to this columnist both laughable and disgusting.

He and the rest of his whiners don’t have clue what real oppression is.

In August, 1955, Emmett Till was a 14 year old Chicago boy visiting relatives in Mississippi when he was brutally murdered for the “crime” of flirting with the white wife of a local store owner.

Ten years later civil rights marchers on their way to Montgomery, Alabama were brutally attacked by local and state police on the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma.

Three years after that, on a calm April evening, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated while standing on the balcony outside his Memphis hotel room.

There has been real oppression and terrible racism in this nation and every man woman and child alive today lives a better life today because of the foundation laid by those who sacrificed before.

Do we as a nation still have issues?  Absolutely

Does cowering in front of the faux outrage and petulance passed off as “oppression” by the Butler’s of the world help solve them?  Absolutely not.

And if university administrators across the country do not figure that out sooner rather than later, the Mizzou fiasco is nothing compared to the chaos to come.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: An edited version of this column first appeared in the Saturday, November 14, 2015 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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