In the wrenching days after the Grand Jury chokehold decision that even deep conservative Charles Krauthammer described as "totally incomprehensible," the case dramatized the racial ignorance of some public figures eager to be pathetically seen and heard on camera.
That Eric Garner died with a chokehold clamped against his throat while his head was pressed into the sidewalk was not proof enough for the doubters that he died of something more than natural causes. Nothing short of a beheading would stand a chance of removing their glacial skepticism. But we sell America around the world as a civilized society with benevolent leadership. Unfortunately, our credibility sank with the digital age videos.
Over at Fox News, Bill O'Reilly insisted that Garner would still be alive today if he hadn't "resisted" the cop's grasp. If you saw the film, that's a new one! Suspicion clarified.(As the author of books on famous people dying, will Bill's next effort be about Eric Garner?)
Rep. Peter King of New York joined the chorus by defending the police action, asserting that in this particular case a chokehold was not "Illegal". Oh. But he died anyway, Peter, so what does your opaque logic mean?
King, who may very well be a totally mad peacock, also bounded into the narrative of the Ferguson swamp and defended Darren Wilson, the cop who gunned down Michael Brown. He said it would be "very helpful" if President Obama invited Wilson to the White House to thank him for "doing his job". Meantime, Rudy Giuliani settled on calling New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio a racist for not mentioning that blacks kill blacks.
Some commentators lamely tried to explain a chokehold beyond its widely accepted meaning. Perhaps we should tell them about the horsecollar tackles in football that, unlike Garner's fatally administered deadly tackle, at least draws major penalties.
More about Ferguson: After MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell raised serious questions about the instructions to the Brown grand jury based on outdated law, Missouri Atty. Gen. Bob McCulloch admitted that the jury had been misinformed about the elements involved in using deadly force.
I'm not a lawyer, but it seems that O'Donnell nailed it.