Ferguson has become as much a political thing as it is a racial thing. In fact, when it comes to the question of whether officer Darren Wilson should have been indicted for killing Michael Brown, the gap between Republicans and Democrats is as big as the gap between African Americans and whites. And both gaps are massive.
So now that another grand jury has declined to indict white police officers in the death of another unarmed black man -- Eric Garner in New York City -- one might expect it to combine with Ferguson to create something of a political snowball effect.
But early indications are that this isn't happening. In fact, plenty of Republicans, as well as Democrats and minority groups, are crying foul on this one.
There's a reason for that. That's because, for all the similarities between the two tragedies, there are some pretty significant differences, too -- differences that might help take the politics/partisanship out of it.
(To clarify: None of this is to say one is more important than the other -- just that they are different from a political/partisan standpoint.)
First, there is video of the Garner incident, in which several police officers attempt to detain Garner and one of them puts him in a chokehold -- all over his alleged sale of tax-free cigarettes.
The political debate in the Missouri case is as much about exactly what happened before Michael Brown's death as it is about the use of force employed in response. Did Brown scuffle with Wilson in the officer's car? Were his hands raised when he was shot? Was he charging at Wilson? Ask people of different political persuasions, and you get very different answers.
The Garner video leaves little room for interpretation and deciding whom to believe. So, from there, it's a judgment call as to whether the use of force was appropriate. Chokeholds, as it happens, are against New York City police protocol. That's an important point that, for people of all political and racial stripes, has become hard to reconcile with the lack of indictment.
And finally, it's indisputable that plenty of Americans of all kinds don't totally trust the police. Skepticism of those in positions of power, after all, is part of what makes the United States the United States. It was part of this country's founding.
The polls bear that out. A recent Pew survey showed that just 30 percent of Americans rate the job being done by police as "excellent" or "good."
Similarly, just 30 percent say police departments are at least "good" at holding their officers accountable for misconduct, and 35 percent say they are at least "good" at using the right amount of force. More than six in 10 Americans rate them "fair" or "poor" at these two things.
That leaves plenty of room for skepticism when it comes to the officers' conduct before Garner's death. And we're already seeing many conservatives and Republicans joining in the questioning of the decision not to indict the officers involved.
HotAir recaps some of it here. Breitbart's John Nolte was among the most active in speaking out:
Yes, some conservatives still defended the grand jury's decision. And that's not surprising; a recent Gallup poll showed 68 percent of Republicans have high levels of trust in police, vs. 44 percent of Democrats. The GOP is simply more apt to believe in the actions of law enforcement, which means they are more likely to give the officers in the Garner incident the benefit of the doubt.
But in this case, there is plenty of dismay to go around. And although things certainly can change, this isn't as inherently politically charged as Ferguson.