I don’t know how exactly the altercation between Officer Darren Wilson and Michael Brown actually went down. To assume is dangerous, so I don’t. However, since Wilson has come out of hiding after the Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict him, there was something he said that really sat with me. He said he had a clear conscience regarding Brown’s death, and he would have handled the situation the exact same way if it were to happen again.
Regardless of how justified Brown’s death was in the eyes of Wilson, it is still possible to show a shred of remorse and sympathy. The fact that he refused to show any remorse is disrespectful to Brown’s family, who is left to grieve in as much privacy as the media will allow (which is none).
Their pain is a spectacle for the entire country, and Wilson’s failure to acknowledge that Brown’s life wasn’t worth losing sleep over seems evil, whether it is his fault or not. Unlike the majority of people who publicize their opinions on what happened in Ferguson, I’m on the fence. I wasn’t there. I don’t know who is telling the truth and who isn’t.
I dreaded hearing the decision on whether or not to charge Wilson because I knew that it would dredge internal conflict, but my opinion on the decision has nothing to do with my disdain for Wilson’s comments and attitude showed in his interviews.
According to Wilson’s lawyer, he has no plans to apologize to Brown’s family at all because it “won’t make a difference.” No matter how the Browns feel about Wilson or his hypothetical apology, it still would have shown honor that he reached out to say “I’m sorry for your loss.”
When we talk to someone who just lost someone close to them, it is common to apologize. Are you the reason the person passed away? No. Will apologizing bring the person back to life? No. While apologizing will not immediately help a mourning family, it is a universal sign of human compassion.
The only thing Brown’s parents are guilty of is losing a son, so to arrogantly sidestep any signs of humility toward them destroys Wilson’s partisan image of being a respectful man that was just doing his job.
While it was disrespectful to admit that an apology will never happen, it also wasn’t very tactful. In his interview, Wilson said he loved being a police officer and would want to return to law enforcement one day. If Wilson decides to return to law enforcement somewhere else, he is now twice as likely to be assaulted or killed on the job. These are real consequence to both his actions and his negative sentiments.
To some, Wilson was wrongly shoved into a national discussion about institutional racism. To others, he is a murderer. Either way, everyone knows his face and can recognize him wherever he decides to go.
Was he showing such callousness when he pulled the trigger? If so, that’s not a police officer I want protecting my family. The police are servants of the community.
To improve the publics relationship with law enforcement, officers like Wilson should act like humans with compassion and respect for human life.
Column by Carly Besser, Opinion Editor