Disclaimer: My frustrations lie with the country’s reaction, not necessarily the jury’s decision. Keep this in mind, and please be nice.
I spent a good ten minutes composing a tweet that was meant to summarize my feelings on this Ferguson mess yesterday. Then I deleted it. Because I remembered I have a blog and there is no way I can release all my frustration in 40 characters or less.
Honestly I was not up to date at all on the Ferguson case until very recently. Some may call it irresponsible to ignore the news as much as I do, but you should try it cause it’s actually pretty nice.
To summarize: Michael Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson were walking down the middle of the street, shortly after stealing a box of cigars from a convenience store, when Wilson drove up and told them to move to the sidewalk. Brown and Wilson struggled through the window of the police vehicle until Wilson’s gun was fired as a result of the struggle. Brown and Johnson then fled in different directions, with Wilson in pursuit of Brown eventually firing several more times. In the entire altercation Wilson fired a total of twelve shots, Brown being hit by six, with the last being the fatal shot. Witness reports differ as to whether and when Brown had his hands raised, and whether he was moving toward Wilson, when the final shots were fired.
So an unarmed black teen was shot by a white cop. The white cop ‘got away with it’. Now there are riots in the streets of Ferguson, MO.
My problem with this is I know if Michael Brown had been white, this likely would have been viewed has a horrible tragedy, not a senseless act of racism. The truth is, no one really knows what happened in the final moments of that tragic night, and no one should claim to. Maybe he is a racist asshole, but maybe he was just doing his job.
A summary of some of the riots that have taken place in Ferguson recently: On November 17, the governor of Missouri declared a state of emergency in anticipation of protests in Ferguson following the announcement of the results of the grand jury.
On November 21, two alleged members of the New Black Panther Party were arrested for buying explosives they planned to detonate during protests. The same pair is also indicted for purchasing two pistols under false pretenses.
On November 24, the grand jury decided not to indict Wilson in the shooting death of Brown. A dozen buildings were burned down; there was gunfire, looting, vandalism, and destruction of two St. Louis County Police patrol cars, as well as burning of various non-police cars.
On November 25, the body of a man was found inside a parked car within a few blocks of where Brown was killed. Police initially classified the death as suspicious but later on November 25, and later ruled it a homicide
To conclude, I neither agree nor disagree with the grand jury’s decision to not indict Wilson. I disagree with the violent protests and uproar since the jury’s decision. At least one man was killed during these riots, and he had a family just as much as Michael Brown did. White or black, I don’t know, and I don’t care. What I do know is he will not get the attention Michael Brown did because there was no perceived racial injustice.
Blacks are set apart unfairly. They are pushed into ghettos, high crime, and low education areas and given no resources to escape. But reacting with violence is not the answer and will not produce desirable results. Living in the ghetto is not a choice some people have, but starting riots and violent behavior is. And it is behavior like this is that is not allowing our country to get any closer to racial equality. It is no different than a white cop shooting an unarmed black teen.
We are too busy pointing fingers at whose fault the racial divide is to get anything done. America may have a black president, but we have taken several steps back in regards to racism and sadly, I don’t see an end in sight.