Henican: Seeing is believing, as shown in Eric Garner case

Erin Garner is shown in this undated family

Erin Garner is shown in this undated family file photo provided by the National Action Network on Saturday, July 19, 2014. (Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS / Uncredited)

Seeing is believing -- or so we've always been told. But that moldy old canard has never been half as true than it is right now.

Thousands took to the streets of Staten Island Saturday to protest the death of Eric Garner -- the videotaped death of Eric Garner. The adjective is crucial. Had a bystander not whipped out a smartphone, tapped the camera icon and began to roll, it's hard to imagine that the death of a 350-pound, alleged street-corner loosie-salesman would have caused such a national police-brutality uproar.

But all of it was caught on video, right down to the dying man's plaintive cries: "I can't breathe . . . I can't breathe. I can't breathe."

It isn't that every controversy now arrives on digital video. It's that the ones that don't are open to endless interpretation, right down to the most basic disputed facts. See Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri. The media-centric demo-riots outside St. Louis generated their own handy slogan on Day 1: "Hands up, don't shoot." But a week and a half in, there is still no generally accepted street-level narrative.

Who was standing where? Who confronted whom? How close was the range of fire?

The autopsy and forensics are helpful. But without a video of the crucial encounter, the clash of eyewitness testimony and preconceived beliefs rumbles ever on.

"No justice, no peace," the ralliers have been chanting in Staten Island and Ferguson.

They may have to change that soon: "No video, no peace."

 

ROLL 'EM

 

1. Light

2. Speed

3. Camera

4. Action

5. Convict

 

ASKED AND UNANSWERED: The next time you see one of those brightly colored BIMBO soccer jerseys, will it remind you that the Mexico-based Grupo Bimbo baking conglomerate just shut down the century-old Entenmann's plant in Bay Shore? . . . Where does Ed Mangano's $2.4 million speed-camera ticket amnesty leave Nassau traffic safety coordinator Christopher Mistron? Didn't he just spend his week defending the school-zone tickets and reminding speedy drivers about the existence of summer school? . . . After this cool summer, who'd bet against the Farmer's Almanac prediction of an "above-average winter snowfall"? Any reason not to ready boots and shovels now? . . . Of the thousands who begin turning up Sunday at the Hamptons Classic, how many come to see the world-class horses -- and how many for the horsey celeb-watching, luxury shopping and other flashes of show-week extravagance? Ah, but dahling, why choose? . . . What lesson can be learned from the boat explosion that killed former Plandome Manor Mayor (and retired NYPD captain) Bob Hogan? . . . How does the Labor Day mothballing of Atlantic City's elegant Revel casino affect gambling dreams off the LIE in Medford? Despite AC's woes, backers note that the scruffy Resorts World racino at Aqueduct pulled in a cool $349 million last year.

 

THE NEWS IN SONG: I was there, and I saw what you did: Chris Daughtry channels Phil Collins, "In the Air Tonight," tinyurl.com/inair2nite

 

LONG ISLANDERS OF THE WEEK: NEW YORK JETS

 

They abandoned us all those decades ago, and we've never gotten over it. What do the New York(!) Jets see in the swamps of Jersey anyway? Who knows? But despite the ancient hard feelings, the die-hard fans -- 11,000 of them -- still turned out cheerily for Jets Family Night at James Shuart Stadium across Hempstead Turnpike from what was once known as Weeb Ewbank Hall. If you need explanations for those locations, you're no history-minded Jets fan. Mad they left, happy they're back (if only briefly), life goes on.

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