Tabs

8.28.2014

Battleground: Ferguson, MO. There is no victory.


"The limitation of riots, moral questions aside, is that they cannot win and their participants know it. Hence, rioting is not revolutionary but reactionary because it invites defeat. It involves an emotional catharsis, but it must be followed by a sense of futility." --Martin Luther King, Jr.
Every death is tragic. Whether the decedent was young, elderly, male, female, chronically ill, perfectly healthy, black, white, rich or poor. 

So, yes, I am deeply saddened by the shooting death of 18 year old Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. His death is tragic, not because he was unarmed or because a police officer shot him. His death is tragic because he was human. He was our fellow man. He had a mother and a father. He had a future.

However, in life, our actions and decisions often times determine our destination. Mr. Brown's death was avoidable. Tragically avoidable. Mr. Brown, at the age of 18, was an adult. Yes, he was young, but he had reached the age of adulthood and was therefore responsible for his actions. He could have been at home or at work instead of taking part in a riot. His decision to be part and parcel to the protests, looting and rioting put him in harms way. He chose to be there--unfortunately.

We are never going to have a FULL understanding of what occurred in the moments leading up to the shooting death of Michael Brown. The scene was chaotic. The aftermath has been filled with racial tension, continuous protests and political fighting. Accusations, scapegoating and political pandering have turned the tragic, yet avoidable death of this young man into a three ring circus. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are NOT Martin Luther Kings and their divisive antics are fueling the flames that will continue to burn and destabilize the city. The police are defensive and exhausted. The governor is not helpful. The citizens are mad and unsure as to what will happen next. And our Dear Leader is playing golf.

A young black man, with no criminal record, was shot and killed by a white police officer, with no record of inappropriate behavior or reprimand. It appears Mr. Brown was unarmed. But it also appears that he robbed a convenience store moments prior, and was part of a mob that attacked a group of police officers. It appears that Officer Wilson was attacked and suffered an orbital fracture.The autopsy reports, one privately requested by the family of Brown and one provided by the police, provide differing conclusions as to the wounds of the victim. The general consensus however, is that Mr. Brown was shot 6 times in the front of his body. 

So, based on those limited facts, why is this automatically a racially motivated situation? I have spent the last few days reading about crimes and criminals. And what I found was a majority of murders with black victims are perpetrated by black offenders. And that according to the FBI, each year more black people kill white people than white people kill blacks. And serial killers are almost always white and male.

So, again I ask...why is it always about race when a white person kills a black person? Why isn't the discussion about criminal behavior and law? Why isn't the discussion about ways of improving the local situation that drove the protesters into the streets? Why isn't the conversation about the tireless, honorable efforts of a vast majority of law enforcement officials, white officers and black, and the service they render to our communities on a daily basis? 

Listen, I know our country has a dark blemish on our history because of slavery and racism. I am not trivializing the suffering of those who suffered oppression based on their skin color. Just like I would never diminish the suffering of those who have suffered discrimination or abuse because of their gender or religion. At some point in history, most of us have been subject to harm and hatred. But nothing this generation or future generations can do will correct the wrongs and erase the past of racism in America. We can't undo what some in our nation's past did. And, before you send your nasty notes to me, I know that prejudice still exist today. Yes, it resides in pockets of people and in the minds of some, but let's be honest, there is prejudice on both sides--in both races. I know that there is inequality. But life is filled with unfairness, and sometimes inequality is simply inequality, and not a well-organized conspiracy of one race to oppress another. Life will never be perfectly fair. We live in a fallen world filled with sin and deception. Hate isn't about skin color or creed, it is rooted in sin. Hate and prejudice are the products of fear. And the LORD that created us with our differing colors, didn't give us a spirit of fear...a mutual, destructive enemy has done that. 

But let's be real: things are infinitely better today than they were fifty years ago. Each and every day, each and every year we makes incredible strides in becoming a more diverse, racially tolerant society. If you disagree, you are simply wrong. Open your eyes. Look around you. Our nation is a great place and people of all colors and faiths enjoy tremendous opportunity because they had the good fortune to be born an American. 

However, there are those among us who cannot let go. There are those among us who can't move forward because they are constantly looking back. There are those among us who make their living and have devoted theirs lives to stirring up strife between blacks, whites, and Hispanics. There are those among us who like and profit from the racial tension and don't want improved race relations. Politicians, activists and media pundits who fan the flames of racial division are harming our nation, people of all races and our posterity. Individuals who perpetuate racially divisive narratives are self-serving and ignorant.  

It is incorrect and stupid to assume and/or argue that every black person who is arrested, questioned, or shot by a white police officer is the victim of racism. The truth of the matter is: Some cops are white. Some criminals are black. When white cops apprehend black criminals, they are doing their job. And vice versa. When black cops arrest, question, or shoot white criminals, I don't think they are racially motivated, I think they are performing their duty. I don't see it as a matter of color or race. Because it's not. In fact, the idea has never entered my mind. 

I believe that a vast majority of people who choose to be in law enforcement are doing it for the right reasons. I believe they have good intentions and are committed to upholding the rule of law. I believe they possess a servant's heart and serve their communities with honor and pride. Again, I don't know all of the facts of this case. And if it comes out that Officer Wilson acted unethically and shot Mr. Brown without reasonable cause, then he should be fired and prosecuted. But until then, he is innocent and should be treated as so. Because the reality of this situation is: Michael Brown's behavior that night was criminal. Video evidence proves that much. However, Officer Wilson will be the individual who is condemned. He will always be known, whether vindicated or not, as a racist and a murderer by those who subscribe to the politics of racial warfare. His service and devotion to the community of Ferguson will forever be over-shadowed by the death of Michael Brown.

There is no victory in Ferguson, MO. The protesters haven't accomplished anything. Michael Brown is dead. Officer Wilson's life is forever changed. The city is in ruin and more divided than ever. This morning, when I searched Yahoo! headlines for updates on Ferguson, the only story I found was about the Governor coming under fire for not having a racially diverse staff. Again, race. So, he appointed a black man to oversee something. I'm sure that black man really feels as though he got his new job based on professional merit...whether he did or not. Justice in this case could look many ways. Each judicial conclusion resulting in the happiness of one side and the devastation of the other. Justice may be blind-folded but chances are she really isn't blind. The inflamed passions and flesh behaviors surrounding this situation will make true justice almost impossible to obtain. Death, on the other hand, is unbiased and completely blind. Death strikes without discrimination. It cares not what color one's skin is, what language you speak, what reproductive organs you possess or what profession you hold. If only the rest of us could be so blind...