Darren Wilson was in the right
Debate Rounds (2)
Here are the facts,
-13 shots were fired at Brown, only a small number actually hit.
-Blood and DNA from Brown were found on officer Wilson's weapon and pant leg, as well as inside the squad car, supporting the argument for the altercation inside the vehicle.
-Brown had significant levels of Marijuana in his system
-The angle of the shots as well as gunpowder evidence from the weapon show that Brown was shot only from the front, breaking down the argument that Brown was running away or turned around facing away from Wilson
-Officer Wilson responded to a theft call and radioed that he had two men who fit the suspects' description and he was going to investigate. He also called for backup (Now why would a cop that supposedly did something wrong call in additional police to assist? Anyone that just committed a crime wouldn't call in the police on themselves)
-Eyewitness accounts that were proven to be true in a grand jury trial show that Brown charged at Wilson "like a football player" and never had his hands up, instead at his sides or in a running position.
-Brown, who was an "innocent little boy who wouldn't hurt a fly" had just robbed a convenience store of some cigarillos and assaulted the clerk, and was walking in the middle of the street with the stolen goods in plain sight. To say that this was racial profiling is a false assumption, Wilson was merely doing his job and then saving his own life.
Another important note is that Brown's "parents" were nonexistent in his life. His biological dad was divorced from his mom and had no been around. His mother and step-dad did not live with Michael, and Michael lived with his grandmother. He had little parental guidance, that, if you think about it, probably contributed to Michael's criminal behavior. Plus, to add to the list of bad influences on Michael, his parents were seen striking a relative and his step father is quoted as saying on that Monday night of the decision, "burn it down". If this didn't lead to a more violent young man that we knew, I don't know what did.
Thank you and good luck
Round 1 of 2
My opponent has chosen to argue that Darren Wilson was in the 'right' when he shot Michael Brown.
In order to argue this properly, we have to define 'right' in the context of action.
The definition I am using is found in the English Oxford dictionary:
Right - 'A moral or legal entitlement to have or do something:'
Thus, in order for Darren Wilson to be considered to be in the 'right,' he must be considered to have acted with both legal consent and in a way that could be deemed morally acceptable.
Did Darren Wilson act legally when he shot Michael Brown?
A Ferguson grand jury decided that Darren Wilson should not be prosecuted for the shooting of Michael Brown. That particular jury, therefore, gave their after-the-fact legal consent for Darren Wilson to shoot Michael Brown. However, that was simply one jury which was imperfect, as stated here:
'First, prosecutor Robert McCullough was in a no-win position. He didn't think there was probable cause to arrest Officer Darren Wilson but recognized the community would not accept his unilateral decision after questions had been raised about his affinity for law enforcement. That's why he turned to a grand jury, or as veteran criminal defense attorney Mark O'Mara described it to me, a "super" grand jury, where he presented all evidence without any recommendation. The net effect was a trial with little to no cross-examination.'
The same source then continues:
'By submitting all the evidence to the grand jury, he added to the perception that this process represented an independent evaluation of the evidence. But there is little doubt that he remained largely in control of the process; aggressive advocacy by prosecutors could have persuaded the grand jurors to vote for some kind of indictment.'
This makes the trial highly suspect, as do the claims of the eyewitnesses, some of whom reported that Michael Brown 'had put his hands in the air and said to Darren Wilson: 'I don't have a gun, stop shooting.' whilst others claimed that 'Mr Brown did not raise his hands at all or that he raised them briefly and then dropped them and then turned toward Officer Wilson, who then fired several rounds.'
This means that nobody can know for sure whether Darren Wilson acted legally or not unless they were actually there. Thus, it is impossible to say that Darren Wilson acted legally 'right,' but it's also impossible to say that he did not act legally 'right.'
Did Darren Wilson act morally 'right' when he shot Michael Brown?
As far as I'm aware, there is no system of clear and universally accepted objective morality. However, as close as you can get to it is on the subject of killing. It is almost universally accepted that killing is wrong. No matter what. Even in situations of self-defence which don't involve American police officers, the offender is usually still charged with manslaughter as self-defence is often not seen as a strong enough defence for having killed somebody.
Having said that, laws and morals have little, or nothing, to do with each other. Darren Wilson argues that he had to shoot Michael Brown or his life could have been in danger as Michael Brown may have wrestled the gun off of him and shot him with it. However, had Darren Wilson not had a gun in the first place, then there could have been no danger of that as Michael Brown certainly didn't have a weapon himself. But that's an argument for another time.
There is no way to argue that Michael Brown was morally right in his actions to steal cigarillos and then attack an officer. However, there is also no way to argue that killing somebody is morally 'right.' Darren Wilson could have simply waited for the backup that he called for and then confronted the two young men, instead of confronting them alone. Thus, the argument of 'self-defence' is not a moral justification for killing somebody. Darren Wilson brought a gun into the fight, which was the only reason there was any significant risk of loss of life, therefore the fact that there was a loss of life was Darren Wilson's fault. What Michael Brown had done to deserve arrest and prosecution was and is irrelevant as there is no justification for taking an action which significantly increases the risk of loss of life.
Back to you, Pro.
To begin, I would like to quote a point made in your argument, "Darren Wilson argues that he had to shoot Michael Brown or his life could have been in danger as Michael Brown may have wrestled the gun off of him and shot him with it. However, had Darren Wilson not had a gun in the first place, then there could have been no danger of that as Michael Brown certainly didn't have a weapon himself." Although you say that this is an argument for another time, what you had to say here highly pertains to the debate today. You say that had Wilson not had a firearm at the time of the shooting, (which by the way is a standard practice for all departments, that is, to carry a sidearm) that the risk for loss of life would be significantly less. While this is undoubtedly true for the side of Michael Brown, this is not true for Darren Wilson. Officer Wilson, without his sidearm, would have been at a disadvantageous position against Michael Brown. While you say that Brown had no weapon, he, in fact, did. A clenched fist is still a viable weapon. Someone punching another is considered assault with a deadly weapon, and can fall under both class B and C felony charges in the state of Missouri, to quote state law, assault is "attempting to kill someone or knowingly causing or attempting to cause serious physical injury to someone." Michael Brown charging at Wilson and also punching him repeatedly classifies under this, and a man can be killed simply from a brutal beating if he is given the opportunity. If Wilson were to do what you suggested and report for his job without his firearm and at the time of the altercation wait for backup to arrive would have provided an amount of time for Brown to continue beating Wilson and possibly even kill or severely injure him.
Thank you for using the Oxford definition for right, as it further proves my point. That definition states that one must have legal entitlement to do something. Under Missouri statute 563.031, "1. A person may...use physical force upon another person when and to the extent he or she reasonably believes such force to be necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful force by such other person". Wilson had clear justification to protect his own person. Also, I believe that you should use more sources closer to the area influenced by this event, not an article from a United Kingdom.
Another important point is that your "credible source" philly.com's article that you quoted twice actually is titled 'Close read shows Ferguson grand jury got it right'. You say that McCullough was biased, and he quite possibly could have been, and that is why he handed this case off to the grand jury. In addition, the jury personally asked to hear all the evidence in the case, to summarize what McCullough said, and that they often asked back several witnesses and eliminated all that had a drastically different story. They also examined physical evidence from the case which showed that Wilson was telling the truth. The autopsy ordered by the Brown family could also not have been accurate because all bodies are washed after the initial autopsy by the city coroner. any and all gunpowder and blood evidence indicating the direction of the shots and impact into the body would have been erased, meaning that that autopsy has no credibility. To quote also from your source, "Another unconventional aspect of this grand jury was that Wilson testified for 90 minutes without once asserting his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Experienced criminal lawyers will tell you this is unheard of and might dramatically confirm that Wilson knew he had nothing to hide." The combined evidence from multiple sides of the altercation and questions asked by jury members provide the cross examination.
As you also state in your position, many say that Brown had his hands up, and many say he did not. Since that was true and ONLY IF those sources were found to be 100% credible should they be accepted, and if they are not, be discredited. Without the evidence from the witness testimonies, you are left with physical evidence, which points to Darren Wilson as not being the instigator.
To further add justification for officer Wilson's use of his sidearm, we go to his testimony, which says that his baton is beneath him, wedged between the seat and his body. He also says that his pepper spray canister was on his left side, and to reach it he would have had to sacrifice his only defense from Brown's punches, his arm, to grab the canister, and by that time Brown would most likely had overpowered him. He says from there his only option was his firearm. In that circumstance, he used the only possible avenue to subdue Brown. If Brown would have listened to what Wilson had asked him to do at first, simply to get onto the sidewalk, and cooperated with Wilson from there on, he would still be alive, albeit probably in a jail cell for marijuana usage as well as assault on the store clerk and theft.
Round 2 of 2
My opponent begins by attempting to rebut the legal side of my argument. Whilst he correctly asserts that Darren Wilson would have acted in an out of ordinary way to not take his weapon to work, my opponent does not adequately explain why Darren Wilson could not have simply refused to engage the two young men until backup got there. My opponent states: 'If Wilson were to ... wait for backup to arrive [he] would have provided an amount of time for Brown to continue beating Wilson and possibly even kill or severely injure him. This is, however, untrue, as if Darren Wilson had waited for backup before engaging Michael Brown, as I suggested in my previous argument, then Michael Brown would never have had the opportunity to start 'beating' Wilson and thus the entire skirmish between the two could have easily been avoided. My opponent drops this part of my argument, however.
My opponent states: 'Also, I believe that you should use more sources closer to the area influenced by this event, not an article from a United Kingdom.' However only one of my 3 article based sources were from the United Kingdom, and an article from the Daily Mail about an event in America is likely to be less biased than, say, an article from an American newspaper which may have links to political groups which are either pro or anti gun control. My opponent also states this: 'A person may...use physical force upon another person when and to the extent he or she reasonably believes such force to be necessary to defend himself or herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful force by such other person".' The interesting part of this is that it clearly states that the person must use 'reasonably necessary' physical force. Darren Wilson claims that Brown charged at him, I am unsure as to whether or not somebody charging at you should be seen as a reasonable excuse to shoot them dead. I, personally, would not say that that is a 'reasonable' use of force. Even if it was, however, my opponent, as I have stated in a previous round, has no proof of what actually did happen at Ferguson as he was not there himself.
My opponent states this: ' You say that McCullough was biased, and he quite possibly could have been, and that is why he handed this case off to the grand jury.' This ignores half of my source which stated that 'By submitting all the evidence to the grand jury, he added to the perception that this process represented an independent evaluation of the evidence. But there is little doubt that he remained largely in control of the process.' My opponent concedes that McCullough was biased, and then refuses to rebut the fact that he was still largely in control of the grand jury that he handed the case over to. Thus my opponent drops this argument.
My opponent asserts: 'The autopsy ordered by the Brown family could also not have been accurate because all bodies are washed after the initial autopsy by the city coroner. any and all gunpowder and blood evidence indicating the direction of the shots and impact into the body would have been erased, meaning that that autopsy has no credibility.' Yet this is an empty statement, it is untrue. My opponent provides no sources for it to back it up, it is just his own personal opinion. In fact, my opponent, whilst eagerly criticising my sources, has not actually provided a single source of his own in the entire debate. This leads to many of his arguments being empty and subjective 'statements' with no actual proof of their truth.
It is worth stating now that my opponent has just stated that all evidence indicating the direction of the shots and impact into the body would have been erased, and then goes on to state this: 'As you also state in your position, many say that Brown had his hands up, and many say he did not. Since that was true and ONLY IF those sources were found to be 100% credible should they be accepted, and if they are not, be discredited. Without the evidence from the witness testimonies, you are left with physical evidence, which points to Darren Wilson as not being the instigator.' Yet my opponent has just discredited the physical evidence too, so he is accepting that the physical evidence should also be discredited. This further emphasises my point that we cannot know exactly what went on at Ferguson unless we were there ourselves.
My opponent states this: 'He says from there his only option was his firearm. In that circumstance, he used the only possible avenue to subdue Brown.' My opponent doesn't rebut the necessary 'moral' argument in this debate at all. He even cuts it out of the definition I gave of 'right' earlier. In fact, it would be correct to say that my opponent has dropped my moral argument which is at least half of the debate. This is relevant to my opponent's statement because my opponent has not explained why Wilson was morally in the 'right' to subdue Brown in the first place. Legally, Wilson was probably correct to arrest Brown as he was suspected of theft and assault. However, morally, what gave Wilson the authoritative right to suggest that his morals were somehow 'better' than Brown's to the extent where Wilson could physically interfere with Brown. This has nothing to do with the law but touches on a side of moral philosophy. As there is no universally accepted system of objective morals, we can only assume that Wilson had no moral right to attempt to arrest Brown as there is no proof that Brown's stealing cigarillo's from a store was morally 'wrong.' Whilst people may believe that it is morally wrong to steal, you can have no absolute proof of that, you can only prove that it is unpleasant for the person being stolen from. But if it makes the person stealing happier than it makes the person being stolen from distressed, maybe there is a positive net gain which perhaps makes it moral to steal on that occasion. Was this the case with Brown? Perhaps. However, as my opponent has addressed none of the 'moral' side of my argument, he essentially concedes this half of the debate.
I would like to make the point again that my opponent has not used a single source of his own in this debate, however he has quoted from them without actually sourcing them. This can be seen as plaguerism.
Thank you for debating with me, Pro.
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