Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A snapdragon vine flower

with 23 comments

It’s not often I come across a snapdragon vine, Maurandella antirrhiniflora, so when I did in my neighborhood on July 11th I made sure to take a bunch of pictures. These are small flowers, averaging about 3/4 of an inch across (18mm). I don’t know about you, but whenever I see snapdragon vine flowers I always think I’m looking at a mouth with prominent lower teeth. The fact that they would be hairy teeth doesn’t dissuade my imagination.


Yesterday I mentioned a partisan who went on a television talk show and kept repeating a claim that the moderator of the show had shown wasn’t true. Alas, that wasn’t an isolated aberration. It’s not hard to find activists and partisan groups that repeat—sometimes for years on end—assertions which have been proven false. Consider the “Hands up, don’t shoot!” meme that has been around since 2014. It came from an incident that took place on August 9 of that year in the town of Ferguson, Missouri, outside Saint Louis. It began after an 18-year-old African American named Michael Brown grabbed some $50 worth of cigarillos from behind the counter of the Ferguson Market and pushed a worker who confronted him as he left the convenience store. A little later, as Brown and another person were walking down the middle of a street, a white police officer named Darren Wilson saw them and told them they should be walking on the sidewalk instead of in the middle of the street. An altercation ensued, during which Wilson ended up shooting and killing Brown. A rumor quickly spread that Brown had had his hands up and was trying to surrender when Wilson shot him. That rumor led, beginning the next day, to rioting, looting, arson, and the destruction of businesses. By August 16 the governor of Missouri had to declare a state of emergency and impose a curfew. When that didn’t quell the rioting, the governor canceled the ineffective curfew and called in the National Guard.

Things eventually quieted down. Later, on November 24, a grand jury that had examined all the evidence decided there were not grounds to indict Officer Darren Wilson. That led to another round of rioting in which at least a dozen buildings and multiple police cars were burned. To this day there are groups that claim that Michael Brown didn’t receive justice. The problem for those who say they want justice for Mike Brown is that the U.S. Justice Department, headed by Eric Holder, a friend of Barack Obama’s who is also black, did do a thorough investigation of the incident. The investigation showed that the narrative of Brown being an innocent victim wasn’t true. If you want to, you can read the full report on the Michael Brown incident, issued by the U.S. Justice Department headed by Eric Holder. Here are two relevant paragraphs from the end of the report (I’ve put some key statements in bold type):

In addition, even assuming that Wilson definitively knew that Brown was not armed, Wilson was aware that Brown had already assaulted him once and attempted to gain control of his gun. Wilson could thus present evidence that he reasonably feared that, if left unimpeded, Brown would again assault Wilson, again attempt to overpower him, and again attempt to take his gun. Under the law, Wilson has a strong argument that he was justified in firing his weapon at Brown as he continued to advance toward him and refuse commands to stop, and the law does not require Wilson to wait until Brown was close enough to physically assault Wilson. Even if, with hindsight, Wilson could have done something other than shoot Brown, the Fourth Amendment does not second-guess a law enforcement officer’s decision on how to respond to an advancing threat. The law gives great deference to officers for their necessarily split-second judgments, especially in incidents such as this one that unfold over a span of less than two minutes. ‘Thus, under Graham, we must avoid substituting our personal notions of proper police procedure for the instantaneous decision of the officer at the scene. We must never allow the theoretical, sanitized world of our imagination to replace the dangerous and complex world that policemen face every day.

As discussed above, Darren Wilson has stated his intent in shooting Michael Brown was in response to a perceived deadly threat. The only possible basis for prosecuting Wilson under section 242 would therefore be if the government could prove that his account is not true – i.e., that Brown never assaulted Wilson at the SUV, never attempted to gain control of Wilson’s gun, and thereafter clearly surrendered in a way that no reasonable officer could have failed to perceive. Given that Wilson’s account is corroborated by physical evidence and that his perception of a threat posed by Brown is corroborated by other eyewitnesses, to include aspects of the testimony of Witness 101, there is no credible evidence that Wilson willfully shot Brown as he was attempting to surrender or was otherwise not posing a threat. Even if Wilson was mistaken in his interpretation of Brown’s conduct, the fact that others interpreted that conduct the same way as Wilson precludes a determination that he acted with a bad purpose to disobey the law. The same is true even if Wilson could be said to have acted with poor judgment in the manner in which he first interacted with Brown, or in pursuing Brown after the incident at the SUV. These are matters of policy and procedure that do not rise to the level of a Constitutional violation and thus cannot support a criminal prosecution. Cf. Gardner v. Howard, 109 F.3d 427, 430–31 (8th Cir. 1997) (violation of internal policies and procedures does not in and of itself rise to violation of Constitution). Because Wilson did not act with the requisite criminal intent, it cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt to a jury that he violated 18 U.S.C.§ 242 when he fired his weapon at Brown. VI. Conclusion For the reasons set forth above, this matter lacks prosecutive merit and should be closed.

So if you hear someone still chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot!” and saying that Michael Brown didn’t receive justice, or if you come across a website making that claim, or if that’s what you yourself have been led to believe, now you know it isn’t true.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 22, 2021 at 4:32 AM

23 Responses

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  1. That’s a fabulous colour.


    July 22, 2021 at 6:43 AM

  2. I can’t unsee the teeth now! But the purple is gorgeous.

    Ann Mackay

    July 22, 2021 at 8:27 AM

    • We might say I’ve implanted permanent teeth in your mind. And yes, the purple is gorgeous.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 22, 2021 at 8:44 AM

      • Sounds painful! And bitey!

        Ann Mackay

        July 22, 2021 at 5:24 PM

  3. I’ve never seen one of these! Not even in a cultivated garden. They do look like teeth! 😁


    July 22, 2021 at 8:57 AM

  4. Oh yes, hairy teeth! 😃 That reminds me of a German expression: a woman (it can actually be a man too) who is particularly difficult or who can be nasty is said to have hair on her teeth!


    July 22, 2021 at 10:28 AM

  5. What a vibrant color… and the flower itself reminds me a bit of the “Big Mouth” Rolling Stone logo.

    Thanks for posting the DOJ report on the Michael Brown case. There are many resources online that list statistics and data dispelling the lies that the activists, politicians and media are putting out there. I doubt many people stop to read a report of the crime, or really investigate what happened. I am quite appalled that many people are duped by the fake news.


    July 22, 2021 at 12:41 PM

    • I had to look up that Rolling Stone logo, which I see shows teeth on the top, with a stuck-out tongue covering the bottom teeth.

      Facts and accurate statistics reveal a lot. They’re a potent weapon against false narratives, though the people promoting the false narratives often keep on doing so in spite of the evidence. That’s an unfortunate characteristic in some people’s nature.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 22, 2021 at 1:23 PM

  6. Due to wildfires all around we have been evacuated. So I cannot write any comments until my wife and I are back home again. So sad!

    Peter Klopp

    July 22, 2021 at 2:11 PM

  7. […] the last post I provided governmental evidence to prove that the “Hands up, don’t shoot!” meme that some people still push […]

  8. I didn’t see teeth at first, but given your imaginative vision of the bloom, I’m wondering if over-served botanists might seek out a hair of the flower that bit them.

    What I did see was a pair of hands reaching up and over the edge of the flower. Combined with the white patch above, it suggested the old Kilroy was here drawings.


    July 23, 2021 at 7:15 AM

    • Well said: “over-served botanists might seek out a hair of the flower that bit them.” You’ve reminded me that with one dangerous native plant, bull nettle, the flowers are the only part that don’t “bite.” And leave it to your imagination to turn some snapdragon leaves into the Kilroy of World War II.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 23, 2021 at 8:08 AM

  9. […] that a policeman killed Michael Brown when he had his hands up and was trying to surrender. In a post last month I gave you the Obama Justice Department’s evidence refuting the “hands up, don’t […]

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