The Michael Brown Autopsy: The Truth Can Shine Through The Manipulation

     The official autopsy on Michael Brown, the subject of the shooting incident with police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO, is pretty well guaranteed not to make those who have been accusing Officer Wilson of murder very happy.
     The report shows that Brown was shot in the hand at very close range, supporting Wilson’s claim that Brown physically attacked him and try to wrestle his gun from him. A supplemental microscopic exam showed foreign matter “consistent with products that are discharged from the barrel of a firearm,” in a wound on Brown’s thumb. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch quoted Dr. Michael Graham, the St. Louis medical examiner as saying that this “does support that there was a significant altercation at the car.” This conclusion is also being confirmed by Dr. Judy Melinek, a forensic pathologist in San Francisco. She said that the autopsy “supports the fact that this guy is reaching for the gun, if he has gunpowder particulate material in the wound.” She said, “If he has his hand near the gun when it goes off, he’s going for the officer’s gun.” It’s been reported as well that Brown’s blood was also found on Wilson’s gun, further backing up the claims of a close quarter struggle and that Brown’s tissue was found of the outside of the driver’s side of the police vehicle, as well as his blood inside the vehicle.
     Melinek also says that the autopsy doesn’t support claims that Brown was shot while running away from Wilson. She says that Brown was facing Wilson every time he was shot and that, when he was shot in the forehead, he was either falling forward or lunging forward. The report also shows that Brown’s hands were not raised over his head in a surrender position, contrary to claims from witnesses.
     So what does this mean beyond the not so shocking thought that witnesses sometimes get it wrong or even outright lie? How about this: Maybe we should wait until at least some of the evidence is in before we start jumping to conclusions. I’m talking about both extremes in this case. There were those walking the streets, protesting and some even engaging the police who were pushing the narrative that Wilson was a murdering monster and Brown was simply a faultless, innocent victim whose only crime was the color of his skin, despite the evidence of his prior violent and thug-like behavior. On the other side were those who vehemently defended Wilson and the shooting as righteous despite having no evidence available yet one way or the other and as if there has never been cases of cops crossing those kinds of lines before. The fact is that, until the evidence started coming in, the claims of either side amounted to nothing more than throwing a pair of proverbial dice with no idea of what numbers were going to come up. It was irresponsible, a waste of time and, quite frankly, it only benefitted those who profit from racial division in America.
     Some of those who engaged in this race baiting included, of course, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. They both regularly cash in on instigating and encouraging racial division and, in this case, Sharpton has been especially prolific in Ferguson with his multiple trips to the city (another one planned for October 31) and his two-faced demands for justice and fairness in the case while, at the same time, denouncing and ridiculing Officer Wilson’s accounting of events with no other reasoning than, apparently, the Rev. Sharpton just knows better than anyone what happened there. Missouri governor, Jay Nixon, released a statement calling for the vigorous prosecution of Officer Wilson before any investigation was even started. Even Barack Obama had to chime in, speaking before the United Nations saying, “In a summer marked by instability in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, I know the world also took notice of the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri – where a young man was killed, and a community was divided. So yes, we have our own racial and ethnic tensions.” Where no evidence has shown any kind if racial element here, our president had no trouble pulling the trusty race card out of his deck once again. At least we haven’t had to be exposed to Obama waxing poetic about how Michael Brown could’ve been his son. Maybe he was too spooked at the thought of trying to ground that particular ‘son’ just to end up shoved into a magazine rack himself…just a thought.
     One of the worst parts of these kinds of situations is the fact that it illustrates how easily the majority of us can be manipulated and influenced by such a small number of political and social opportunists. I’m not talking about every single one of us when I say ‘we’, rather I’m referring to us in a more general reference. The truth is that most, if not all of us, have or will fall into this trap at some point. The important thing is not to make a habit of it. With that said, we buy into this narrative that’s been shoved down our throats for decades that America is an evil, racist place and there are bigots in power everywhere (with the exception, of course, of those in power who are telling you this…they’re different) just waiting to pounce and victimize other people; the darker their skin, the better. So many of us give in to that and start building up this huge resentment to “The Man”, even if we’ve never experienced or witnessed that bigotry ourselves. But don’t worry about that inconsistency. Liberals have that covered by creating this idea that, if we don’t get everything we think we should, then that’s discrimination. They’ve even found a target to blame all that bigotry on: Republicans. (Never mind that the source of all the organized and much of the unorganized racism and master/slave mentality comes from the party on the other side of the aisle, both in the past and today.) Then, there are those of us who jump every time someone brings up racism or vilifies a white person or even a “white Hispanic”…whatever that means…and we come to that person’s defense 100 percent, whether we have any reason to believe they’re innocent or not. Then, of course, when the first group of “us” sees this second group of “us” acting like that, then the first group of “us” feels more justified in the original principle that America is an evil, racist place. Is that last sentence a little confusing?
     Feel free to take a minute and re-read it again. I use “us” in both cases because that’s what we should be…one people…Americans, but that’s not how it’s been for a long time now. The real “them” in America is those who manipulate and lie and create false narratives designed to vilify some of us in the eyes of others of us. Are you a black man who feels victimized? Whose fault is it? White Republicans. Are you a veteran who feels pushed around and ignored? Whose fault is it? White, rich Republicans.  Are you a woman who feels abused and devalued? Whose fault is it? White, rich Republican men. Our communities and families are crumbling both socially and economically. Whose fault is it? Old, white, rich Republican men.
     If we want to know who’s really responsible for the negatives in our society, maybe we need to look at who’s doing the accusing and re-evaluate those they accuse. It’s an old and effective tactic to manipulate and control people through accusations. It’s been working ever since a certain serpent got what he wanted from Eve in the Garden of Eden by putting forth…an accusation. She was blinded by the accusation and didn’t bother to consider the accuser. Over the next several thousands of years, nothing’s really changed that much. So much of the time, no matter which side we stand on it, we still tend to focus on the accusations and not on the accusers. We need to learn to slow down, look beyond the superficial to see what’s really going on and what the real agenda is. We’ll have plenty of opportunities, too. I guarantee that these accusers aren’t about to admit they might  have been wrong or try to re-evaluate their positions. They’re just going to double down and continue spreading the same poison as always.
     Those of us who are feeling vindicated today because the evidence is pointing toward our assertions that Darren Wilson did nothing wrong, remember that: 1) All the evidence is still not in, so we really don’t know if he was blameless or not. 2) It could have just as easily gone the other way. We had no more assurance that we were right than those who claimed Brown’s innocence and victimization. As for those who pushed and continue to push the race baiting and the narrative of cops vs. minorities? They’re going to come out ahead, no matter how this case actually plays out. After all, people like Al Sharpton don’t really care about the specifics of a death in a community. They only care about how they can turn it to their personal advantage; how they can translate their involvement into ratings, money and power. Black, white, brown or any other shades in that spectrum? They don’t really care about any of that. The only color they really care about is green and they’ll step on any of us, no matter what our ethnicity, to get what they want. We really need to wake up and see through the con; start seeing the real enemies to our nation and our unity for who they are and quit aiding and abetting them in driving our Union further and further from the greatness we once all shared.
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Why vote for Susanna Martinez?

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It’s that time again. Early voting has now started in New Mexico and one of the positions up for grabs is the Governor’s office. I’ve heard several people ask why we should bother to vote to re-elect Governor Susana Martinez. After all, she hasn’t been perfect in her job. Of course, I’ve never seen anyone who is, no matter what that may do, but I do get the point and it is valid. Now, I don’t presume to tell anyone who to vote for, but I can share why I’ll be casting my vote for Governor Martinez, so forgive me while I engage in a tiny bit of narcissism here. You see, I’m not completely happy with her, but it see politics as a balancing act: Does the good outweigh the bad or vice-versa?
For me, I am very disappointed in Governor Martinez for her support of Common Core. This is a program that threatens to exponentially accelerate the dumbing down of Americans that has been going on for decades, at the very least. Common Core will not make learning easier or advance our students’ educations; it’ll do exactly the opposite and, for some reason, Governor Martinez seems to have stars in her eyes when it comes to this program. Maybe it’s because of the close relationships she’s built with Republicans like Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, which I’m also not happy about. I wish she’d open her eyes to the dangers of Common Core and how her association with these milquetoast Republicans have muddied her image and identity as a strong conservative woman who stands on conservative principles, no matter what…the identity that won her the endorsement of Sarah Palin and a massive victory over Allen Weh four years ago. Before running for Governor, she served as District Attorney in my hometown and I knew her here in Las Cruces as fair and level-headed and I honestly believe that she does have an open mind that can be swayed on this issue.
That’s what I’ve seen as negatives in Susana Martinez and, if that was all there was, there is absolutely no way she would be getting my vote. Of course, like I said, it’s a balancing act. As far as the good she’s done as Governor:

Education:
While her current support of Common Core is a huge no-no, Governor Martinez has made improvements here for New Mexico. Since she took office, New Mexico has moved up to #1 in the nation for improving high school graduation rates. Those rates have jumped from 63% to 70%…still not as good as we need, but a huge jump from what we’ve had in our recent past, especially under Democrat governors. She has increased education spending, but, at the same time, cut funding for the education bureaucracy by 25%. In other words, she’s been trying to put money for education where it belongs: in actual education, not in more red tape and bigger government. While I don’t support the democrats’ approach of throwing more money at education, Martinez’s approach is more surgical; focusing and addressing the areas in need and cutting back from the areas of waste and abuse. Governor Martinez has focused on improving reading proficiency and increasing early education programs as well. I have to give credit where credit is due. We just have to continue to push the message: Governor, turn your back on Common Core.

State Economy:
From the second year that Governor Martinez has been in office, not only have we had a balanced budget, we have also had a budget surplus every year. George Washington University currently ranks New Mexico as 7th in the nation in budget health.  She also sold the state’s luxury jet and several other state planes in order to cut some of the abuse and extravagant expenses regularly racked up by previous governors. In addition, she got rid of the personal chefs at the Governor’s residence and lowered and capped the salaries of her cabinet secretaries. She also consolidated office space and re-negotiated leases for state buildings, saving taxpayers over a million dollars per year.

Taxes:
In 2010, New Mexico’s tax structure was rated as one of the least business-friendly in America. Governor Martinez changed that. She cut the business tax rate by 22 percent. She reduced taxes on New Mexicans 24 times. The Council On State Taxation has raised New Mexico’s grade on tax administration from a D to a B. New Mexico has also moved from 38th in the country in export growth to #1 by 2012. Our exports to Mexico are now at an all-time high. Six thousand new jobs have been created (Department of Labor numbers) just from that and many other jobs have been created due to the businesses that have been drawn in by the more relaxed tax rates.

In addition, Governor Martinez established a lifetime ban on government contractors convicted of corruption and she signed legislation allowing judges to seize pensions of elected officials convicted of corruption. She directed Her staff to film legislative committee hearings, legislative floor sessions, and other meetings and post the videos online and she signed legislation requiring agendas for public meetings to be made available 72 hours in advance and displayed online. She signed legislation that requires public records to be available in electronic format and posted salary information for all taxpayer-funded employees online. She’s the first Governor to use state email and posts her official calendar online and require all administration personnel to use state email when conducting public business.
Governor Martinez helped pass an enhanced Katie’s Law that requires all those arrested for felonies to provide a DNA sample to be used to solve cold rape and murder cases.  She vetoed a measure that would have allowed criminal records to be expunged and she eliminated the “Sanctuary State” policy that prohibited law enforcement from determining the immigration status of those arrested for crimes. She vetoed legislation that would have allowed child killers to avoid life sentences. She created the Fugitive Apprehension Team which captured 70 fugitives in the first two months alone and launched the #SAFE reporting hotline so that any New Mexican can easily report child abuse. She signed legislation enacting some of the toughest sex offender registration requirements in the country.
Governor Martinez opposes expanding Obamacare. She supports our 2nd amendment rights. She opposes higher taxes. She opposes pathways to citizenship for illegal aliens. She opposes unrestricted access to and federal funding of abortions.
So, for me, the good that Governor Martinez has done and that she is still capable of is more than enough to justify giving her my vote in this election. Add to that the fact that I see absolutely nothing good coming were Gary King to win (just higher levels of ineptitude and probably a resurgence of corruption), I have no problem casting my vote for Governor Martinez. I will also say that I’m very excited at the prospect of current Lieutenant Governor John Sanchez running for Governor next election. He’s incredibly impressive and has so far proven that he’s willing to stand on his principles fearlessly.
With all that said, while I’d love to see Susana Martinez re-elected, I can only talk about why I’m voting the way I am. I hope that anyone who isn’t sure or is thinking about not voting for her will consider what I’ve had to say, but, at the end of the day, each one of our votes is sacred and no one has the right to tell you how you must vote. All I can really say is this: Do not take the power of your vote lightly. Every single vote really can make a difference and we do have a responsibility to use our vote responsibly. When you have that ballot in your hand, the best any of us can do is to follow our hearts, our convictions and our principles. Do that, and, no matter which circles you choose to darken or leave empty, you’ve upheld the principles our nation was built on and fulfilled your duty as a citizen.