Words have meanings.
Some words have very powerful meanings. They evoke imagery and stir emotion, especially when used in certain ways. It’s the reason poetry and literature have such a profound impact on people throughout the ages. It’s why we still read people like Chaucer and Shakespeare.
But words can be abused. They can be horribly misused. They can foster anger and mistrust. They can stir people into doing violent, horrible things.
Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren should be familiar with the concept. After all, haven’t they been abusing it while they spent the last two weeks blaming President Trump’s rhetoric for the El Paso shooting?
Yet despite that, Warren continues to misuse the English language to advance a false narrative about the death of Michael Brown.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) doubled down on her tweet that claimed black teenager Michael Brown was “murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri,” saying Wednesday what mattered was an “unarmed man” was shot in the street.
“What matters is that a man was shot, an unarmed man, in the middle of the street, by police officers and left to die,” Warren said. “And I think that’s where our focus should be.”
Warren and fellow presidential candidates Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) and Tom Steyer all used the term “murder” to describe Brown’s death in 2014 at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson. The incident set off a debate about police violence and racial injustice. Although the notion that Brown was killed with his hands up and begging Wilson not to shoot was apocryphal, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” became a mantra for protesters.
If our focus should be on the death of Michael Brown, though, that focus should be on the entirety of the events surrounding that death.
Those events included Brown strong-arm robbing someone, then attacking the police officer in question, going for his gun so that the officer had no choice but to fire his weapon, killing Brown.
This “unarmed man” was a walking mountain of a person and clearly violent. He went for the officer’s firearm, something even the Obama-era Department of Justice found to be accurate.
Our focus on this, as in all things, should be on the facts of what transpired that day. It shouldn’t be on false narratives that eventually led to police officers being murdered. While Warren has been part of the chorus trying to make the tenuous leap that President Trump’s tough talk on immigration led to El Paso, we know that the false narrative surrounding Michael Brown’s death has resulted in incidents like the Dallas Police Shooting and a number of officer assassinations throughout the country.
While I think everyone would have preferred for Brown to have simply been arrested, Brown’s actions were clear. He was a threat to the officer’s life, empty-handed or not. He was a violent thug who got what he had coming after attacking a police officer.
What’s more, Warren knows that to be the case. She’s just playing political games, trying to woo the Democratic base over to her. The question is, by renewing this lie, how many lives is she risking in the process?