After several months of following the developments in Ferguson, Missouri (both voluntarily and by being berated by the news), I must say that I have finally formulated my own opinions. Opinions that are not influenced by conversation or swayed by the media. My thoughts are strictly my own and have been formed by personal contemplation and watching the chain of events while obtaining the greatest amount of credible information that I could.
While I have not shared these ideas with anyone, things have come to a point where I am almost bursting at the seams with angst and tension. Many people who read this may disagree. That is perfectly fine. Just like the expressions of Steve Harvey, John Stewart, Rickey Smiley and any number of personalities who have a platform to speak and be heard, I choose to say what I feel on the platform that the internet has so graciously afforded me.
First, let me discuss the situation that led us here. Michael Brown a young adult from Ferguson, MO, was fatally shot several times by police officer, Darrin Wilson. While the series of events that led to Brown’s death is still unclear, one thing is for sure; a Caucasian police officer shot an unarmed African-American teen. This produced a plethora of problems socially.
The race issue is the obvious go-tom card to be played in instances of police violence in the inner-city and it seems to fit so well here that is seems second-nature. Wilson’s actions only added fuel to the fire of ethnic tension, however, I must honestly say that I don’t think it was totally a race issue.
Yes. We can say that if Mike Brown would have been white, his body probably would not have laid on the ground for 4 hours before being removed. We can also say that had the officer been black and the victim been an affluent white citizen, the wheels of justice may have turned a little more swiftly.
there is no doubt tension between law enforcement and the citizens of Ferguson – just like any other economically deficient area in the U.S. where the educational and occupational resources are depleted or never existed. Where there is no provision, the doors are open for criminal activity which is not a big proponent of law enforcement.
Additionally, the long-standing animosity between blacks and local law enforcement did not begin this past August in Ferguson. It stems from the earliest days of the Civil Rights Movement when many law-abiding citizens developed a sense of contempt for racist law officials.
that being said; I truly believe this came down to a struggle between two Alpha Males – neither of which would let their manhood be threatened or stand down in an extremely tense situation. It was, in this respect, a battle of wills.
It amazes me that Officer Wilson had not been trained on how to defuse the situation. I am equally puzzled as to the whereabouts of his partner. No news coverage, press statement or reporting has rendered the name of this officer. Perhaps I missed it.
On every police show I have ever seen in my life, there were two police officers assigned to one another. Yet, strangely enough, it seems that Wilson was alone to face this situation. Why is that? Where was the famous “Good Cop/Bad Cop” scenario played out so routinely on the big screen. Is it not true that art imitates life? If that is the case, someone has nominated Officer Wilson for the role of ultimate scapegoat.
Let me also submit to you that I believe that Mr. Brown, himself, may have played a role in his own murder. There is a video of him (allegedly) in a store, you see. The actions were the reason that the police were called in the first place. There was an obviously aggressive personality trait present in this young man’s character. A trait that the officer had no clue how to handle and, by his own admission, felt helpless when faced with it. This is not racial, it’s psychological and is prevalent in all races and creeds. This young man had a wild side and (maybe unbeknownst to his parents) he’d walked the streets with reckless abandon. A glitch that ultimately led to his fate.
Perhaps also, there were resources that were not made available to the parents. Maybe something happened that Michael never fully recovered from (a friend being killed, being left back in school, the split of his parents, etc). Maybe his reaction to some event was to lash out at authority.
Misunderstanding or Robbery, this is the incident that led to the police being called in the Mike Brown case.
While the thought of a “large, scary black man” coming toward you terrifies many in White America, there is a precedent set by law enforcement circles in many areas that says certain types of people are to be policed in certain ways. Maybe Michael acted like those hostile people who Wilson had been warned about and it got out of hand. The story, even after the investigation, is sketchy at best. Perhaps his normal teenage rebellion had gotten out-of-hand and was now accepted. No matter the case, I know young men of all races who face these mental challenges. Race had something to do with the case, but someone failed this kid. You can’t blame color for that! Truth be told, excessive force is excessive force whether on a routine traffic stop or in a case of resisting arrest. Michael’s actions may have led him to being shot, but I don’t believe he should have died.
Let me ask one more thing of Officer Wilson; isn’t there a line drawn between “shoot-to-kill” and “shoot-to-wound”. As large as Mike may have been, you could have wounded him enough to stop him. His legs would have sufficed. The upper body seems a bit extreme. I’m just sayin’! You weren’t’ shooting an elk in the woods, it was a young man.
Finally my attention is turned to the protestors. Many traveled from miles around in caravans of cars. This is reminiscent of the March on Washington or the Obama Inauguration. Unfortunately, the occasion was not as jubilant or uplifting. Rioting, looting, burning buildings, destroying property, overturning police vehicles and throwing canisters of tear gas. Why?
Why complain about the behavior of the police in your neighborhood and then turn around and vandalize your own community? What do you say to the shop owners who provide snacks for your kids on their way to/from school? What about the humble business owner who was out-of-town and returned only to find that the source of his family’s livelihood is gone. They had nothing to do with the shooting. Also, if Brown roughed up a store owner, what good would it do to destroy the store? That’s like a robber breaking into your house and then getting angry because you called the police.
My grandparents told me stories about the same thing happening after Dr. King’s death in the ’60’s. I personally felt uneasiness in the streets hour before the O. J. verdict. Had he been guilty, I have been caught in the midst of pandemonium.
What good does all this violence do. No amount of anger will bring Leslie and Michael Sr. their child back. You cannot March long enough or chant loudly enough to cover the screams of misery or outrun the grief those parents hear in their hearts every day.
Aside from that, schools in black and brown neighborhoods closed their doors in record numbers in the past three years. Public transportation in those same neighborhoods faced cuts in service and increases in price. There are companies who set up shop right in our own backyards but won’t hire the minorities tha live where they do business. Yet, no one marched for that. Not one car was overturned or fire was set when these things took place. Let me be frank; it seems that we have misplaced aggression. Things that affect our livelihood go without a peep. Then one young boy gets shot and the city is in an uproar. This is ridiculous. We should have been protesting like this when “No Child Left Behind” left us behind. I am as sorely disappointed in our reaction as I am to the incident that incited it.
I have rambled on much too long and so I will hang my hat here. What happened should never have happened. None of us were there, so we can only speculate. We only get to hear one side of the story because dead men tell no tales. There were a hundred scenarios played out that day. Not only between Darrin and Michael, but all the events that led up to it in the tragedy. Race had a part to play in it, but it is far smaller than we – the citizens, the government and the media, would like to admit.