It’s too easy to blame the victim. Got killed by police? Your fault that you didn’t listen to them, you criminal. Got raped? Your fault, you’re dressed too slutty and drank too much and were in a dangerous place you never should have been in. No job? You’re too lazy and why should we believe a lazy person when they say they apply and apply and apply with no results? Your life not where you want it? You just don’t work hard enough, dream hard enough, to make things better for you. Something bad happened to you? You just don’t think positively enough, or pray hard enough, or whatever enough.
Blaming the victim is an easy answer to the difficult questions when terrible things happen. No investigation needs to take place, no awkward questions, no nothing. The incident can be brushed under the carpet and hidden. In the unlikely event that someone does protest, lie about the incident. Make sure that enough lies are told in rapid succession, and are believable enough based on stereotypes, that any credibility the victim may have had evaporates and all that is left is the easy way out–blame what happened on the victim.
Americans hate the tough questions. They prefer the comfortable lie to the harsh truth. They want to believe that bad things can always be avoided because to think otherwise is to admit that those bad things can happen to them. They desperately need to believe that the people in Ferguson protesting Michael Brown’s death deserve the tear gas because they aren’t peaceful protesters–even though they are. If the Ferguson protestors don’t deserve to be shot with rubber bullets and tear gas and sprayed with pepper, then what might other police departments do to shut down a protest they might be a part of?
That is why protesters in support of Darren Wilson, the cop who killed Michael Brown, can chant “Shoot Shoot Shoot” at the counter-protesters who arrived (the most common protesters’ chant in support of Brown is “Hands Up Don’t Shoot”). Since it’s up to the victims to somehow make cops not shoot them, then it doesn’t matter whether cops pull the trigger or not–they will never be held accountable. Their actions will never be questioned by those in a position to punish them, since it’s in the authority’s interest to let the incidents fade from public mind and die down enough they can ignore them and continue carrying out the same fear-inspiring tactics that keeps the targeted community subdued, untrusting and feeling helpless to change the situation (Those that are trying to change the situation through the democratic process of registering people to vote are being called disgusting, and the safe places designated by the community for protesters are being raided by police. When stuff like this happens, trying to believe anything will change is difficult).