I have noticed a pattern. Whenever a young, minority male is shot dead by a trigger-happy, non-black person, the shooter’s story always involves the kind of superhuman powers you see in a comic book or a video game.

Exhibit A: Weighing just 140 pounds, Trayvon Martin supposedly knocked down 250-pound George Zimmerman with a single punch before jumping on top of him to slam his head on the sidewalk like a Mortal Kombat fatality.


Exhibit B: Michael Dunn claimed that he shot Jordan Davis dead, and shot into Davis’s car at his passengers, because they all had huge guns in their hands — guns that he could see in the car with his Superman X-ray vision. Of course, the guns must have been Portal projectors, because Dunn’s alleged assailants made them disappear into another dimension before police or paramedics arrived.


We now add Exhibit C: according to the New York Times, Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson claims that he was pinned inside his patrol car and in fear for his life because black teenager Michael Brown was struggling for his gun.

Below is a photograph of a state trooper talking to a driver through his window. Can you see the problem with this narrative? Wilson hasn’t told us this story himself yet, but I for one would love to hear it from the horse’s mouth:


As you can see, for Brown to reach Wilson’s gun, he would need to have his head and shoulders inside the car. Brown was not slender, so this would be difficult, and he would risk being trapped by a deft use of the window lever.

By reaching across Wilson’s body for the gun with his own left hand, Brown would effectively be kissing Officer Wilson. No matter which hand Brown used to reach around Wilson for his gun, he would not be able to pull the weapon from its holster at an angle at which he could fire it.

Had Brown reached for Wilson’s gun with his right hand, he could have grabbed for the wheel with his left, but then he still could not prevent Wilson from using his accelerator — not without a third arm, anyway. The policeman remained in control of a large, heavy motor vehicle during this alleged assault.

Basically, if this is Officer Wilson’s story then he’s saying that Michael Brown was a close-combat contortionist with superhuman strength and arms that stretch like Dhalsim from Street Fighter. 


This display of superhuman powers not only put Wilson in fear for his life, it forced him to get out of the car to shoot Brown twice in the head, from behind, before his Dhalsim arms had enough room to stretch to their full length and grab the gun from Wilson’s hip. See how that works?

Against a normal human assailant, an act of self-defense in these circumstances would involve using the car to get away or even shooting through the window of the car. Exiting the car to pursue a human Michael Brown on foot and gun him down makes Wilson a murderer, however, so it’s obvious which story he prefers.

To get away with murder, perpetrators often try smearing the victim as a violent, powerful, inhuman threat in the hopes of convincing us that a monster ‘deserved’ to die at their hands. This is not an unusual phenomenon, but factors such as race, gender, and class can make it a thousand times worse.