A friend of ours who spent some time several years ago as a guest of the federal government (read: inmate at a minimum security prison “camp”) emerged from the experience with a lot of entertaining stories and some useful observations about human behavior and development. One of them was:

“Big men tend to be stupid.”

This was a bit of an overgeneralized conclusion, as the “big men” he referred to also “tended” to be twenty-something high school dropouts and career felons, but his reasoning was interesting:

“You see this big dude swaggering around with a “get the f**k out of my way” attitude. People are afraid of him, because his reaction to any type of opposition is physical, or the threat of getting physical. Usually the threat is enough, but if it isn’t….

“So he never learns anything. No one can tell him he’s wrong, or that what he’s doing may be a bad idea, because everyone is afraid to say “Uh, hey….”

So now we are told about a young man who “was on his way to college,” who happened to be walking down the middle of the street when a cop told him to get to the sidewalk. What happened next is unclear still, but now the young man is dead, shot by the selfsame cop.

It emerges that a few hours earlier, this young man walked into a bodega, grabbed a handful of cigars and started to walk out with them without paying. Confronted by the shopkeeper, he shoved him out of the way, knocking him down, and left. The scuffle seemed almost comical, as the young man was 6’4″ and weighed 290 pounds, and the shopkeeper looked to be about half that size. But the big man took what he wanted, because he could.

No, that’s no reason to shoot him, but it’s the reason why he’s dead.

He’s not dead because white cops hate black people (and some do).

He’s not dead because America is still a racist society (and it is).

He’s not dead because there are only three black cops on a police force of 50 (and there are).

He’s not dead because there’s no justice (any lawyer can tell you there isn’t).

He’s not dead because he was black (and he was).

He’s dead because he was stupid.