According to every reliable report, my young namesake Michael Brown was not shot in the back, nor did he have his hands up, nor did he utter the words, "Hands up, don't shoot." If any of this had been true, the Department of Justice would have nailed Darren Wilson, the policeman involved in the incident, since the DOJ was quite motivated to find fault with the police. Why, then, do so many black Americans believe (and repeat) the "hands up, don't shoot" narrative?
A few months ago, for the first time, I signed up for Google Alerts, where you get regular e-notices when your name is mentioned online. Of course, with a common name like mine, especially without my middle initial "L," I knew that most of the notices would be about others. There are a lot of Michael Browns out there!
But almost every day, the vast majority of notices I get are about Ferguson's 18-year-old Michael Brown. He is the constant topic of conversation, the cause célèbre when it comes to justice issues in America. Why?