The Ferguson sniper's tale

It was a mistake anybody could make, right?

So Jeffrey Williams, the 20-year-old man under arrest in St. Louis and charged in the shooting of two police officers in Ferguson early last Thursday, is apparently claiming that he was aiming not at the officers, but at someone else.

Well, that changes everything, doesn’t it? 

I mean, if that's the case, the authorities should be a lot more understanding.  The guy was just doing what he had to do, right?  The cops were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It was just a simple mistake on Williams's part, the kind that anybody could make.  And for the cops, it was clearly a case of "workplace violence."

Besides, the speculation that the cops were deliberately shot by someone who was protesting in Ferguson unfairly impugns the character of Mr. Williams and of the throngs of folks who were out there protesting.  They’re all peaceful folks, none of whom ever wished for any harm to come to law enforcement personnel.

And there’s no reason to believe that Mr. Williams, or anybody else in Ferguson, would lie.  After all, the witnesses’ accounts of the original confrontation between Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson were all scrupulously honest.

If Mr. Williams is tried before “a jury of his peers,” there’s no way he’ll be convicted of the attempted murder of two police officers, because the jurors will understand that the cops weren’t his intended targets.  They’ll probably just sentence him to a remedial marksmanship class.

I'm reminded of the story of the guy who was arrested for rape.  His defense consisted of the following:

"I wasn't there.  And it was too dark that night for the witnesses to get a good look.  Besides, the clothes I was wearing that night were different in style and color from what was reported by the witnesses.  And anyway, that's not even the woman I raped!"

It was a mistake anybody could make, right?

So Jeffrey Williams, the 20-year-old man under arrest in St. Louis and charged in the shooting of two police officers in Ferguson early last Thursday, is apparently claiming that he was aiming not at the officers, but at someone else.

Well, that changes everything, doesn’t it? 

I mean, if that's the case, the authorities should be a lot more understanding.  The guy was just doing what he had to do, right?  The cops were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It was just a simple mistake on Williams's part, the kind that anybody could make.  And for the cops, it was clearly a case of "workplace violence."

Besides, the speculation that the cops were deliberately shot by someone who was protesting in Ferguson unfairly impugns the character of Mr. Williams and of the throngs of folks who were out there protesting.  They’re all peaceful folks, none of whom ever wished for any harm to come to law enforcement personnel.

And there’s no reason to believe that Mr. Williams, or anybody else in Ferguson, would lie.  After all, the witnesses’ accounts of the original confrontation between Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson were all scrupulously honest.

If Mr. Williams is tried before “a jury of his peers,” there’s no way he’ll be convicted of the attempted murder of two police officers, because the jurors will understand that the cops weren’t his intended targets.  They’ll probably just sentence him to a remedial marksmanship class.

I'm reminded of the story of the guy who was arrested for rape.  His defense consisted of the following:

"I wasn't there.  And it was too dark that night for the witnesses to get a good look.  Besides, the clothes I was wearing that night were different in style and color from what was reported by the witnesses.  And anyway, that's not even the woman I raped!"