We knew this would happen. We hoped that things would be different, but we knew.
We knew Darren Wilson wouldn't be indicted—that there would be no consequences for taking the life of a black male because gee, aren't they scary?
We knew Wilson would have some unsatisfying explanation for why he riddled the unarmed Mike Brown's body with bullets. We didn't know, however, how farcically absurd it would be.
The man described Mike Brown as a "demon" and "Hulk Hogan," while he stood 6 feet 4 inches tall and was armed with a gun. We knew that Darren Wilson's testimony would involve the dehumanization of Mike Brown—dehumanizing black people makes them easier to shoot without all those messy consequences and remorse—but somehow his words were still surprising.
We knew Darren Wilson was hidden away, safe somewhere under paid administrative leave and likely free from the worry of facing any serious consequences for his actions. But we didn't know that during that time he got married. He celebrated a joyous milestone in his life while Mike Brown's parents grieved and begged for justice for their child.
We knew that during the grand jury proceedings, the defense would cite Mike Brown's alleged theft of cigarillos, as if the punishment for such a petty crime is the death penalty.
It's unsurprising that prosecutor Bob McCulloch didn't give a damn about serving justice for Mike Brown. Still, who among us thought he'd stand up and give a rambling, insensitive diatribe about why Mike Brown deserved to die?
Of course they weren't going to indict Darren Wilson, no matter how how stunningly rare it is for a grand jury to do what Ferguson's grand jury did.
We knew Ferguson would burn. We prayed it wouldn't, but we knew that the protests that have taken place over the past 108 days have been an accumulation of emotion, deep disappointment, and anger. Last night, along with all the other days and nights in Ferguson since Mike Brown was killed, was a culminated response to years of violence and oppression and racism and injustice. You're a fool if you think protesters were only protesting against Darren Wilson. They were protesting for Mike Brown, of course, but also for Trayvon Martin and Renisha McBride and Danroy Henry and Fred Hampton and Medger Evers and Emmett Till.
We knew many would care more about the destruction of property and inanimate objects than the destruction of black people's sense of safety in this country. Still, it was hard not to be taken aback by the downright comical degree to which CNN lamented over a burned pizza chain instead of the dejection of a black community. How many reports did you see on this? The looting and arson was unnecessary, but it is not and never will be worse or more sad than police willfully shooting unarmed black people.
We know that that cops weren't here to protect us. They allowed people to break into stores and set fires because it furthered their narrative and the narrative of racists.
We thought the Ferguson police department had learned its lesson 108 days ago, but again they rolled out the armored vehicles and tactical gear like they were fighting a war. They still see us as the enemy.
And naturally there would be those who would plead with the people of Ferguson to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and practice nonviolence and forgiveness. A word on that: You have to be a special kind of ignorant, cherry-picking, no history-knowing ass moron to invoke Dr. King into this argument.
If you're going to drop that "at the center of non-violence stands the principle of love," quote, then you damn well better remember that Dr. King also said, "A riot is the language of the unheard." Yes, he did generally advocate for nonviolence, but he was still shot in the head, so maybe leave that tired argument alone.
It's amazing how you can be both completely floored and wholly unmoved at the same time.
We knew there would be more Mike Browns—but a 12-year-old boy holding a toy gun on a playground? Did we know there would be a Tamir Rice?
But we knew this, right? How this country sees us? How the system actively works to frame us in ways that prove how undeserving we are of humanity and compassion and understanding? That Mike Brown's killer would almost certainly not be brought to justice? Sure, we knew. But knowing that you're being fed poison doesn't make it any easier to swallow.
Image via Getty.