Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Common Sense: Ferguson Burns

In August a police officer shot and killed an 18 year old man. What made this national news is that the police officer is white and the 18 year old man is black and a witness, a friend and companion of the 18 year old man, claimed that his friend raised his hands and said don’t shoot after being shot in the back.

There are three things that set off the riots in August in Ferguson Missouri. The officer was white. The man was black. The report was that the black man was shot by the white officer In the back. Of those three things, one of them was not true. The 18 year old man was not shot in the back! His companion, lied!

The day after the incident, the 18 year old man’s family came out. Michael Brown’s mother said he was a good boy and that he was to start college in the coming weeks. Pictures were shown on national television of a teenage boy. However, that teenage boy, an 18 year old man, was 6’5 and weighed just under 300 lbs.

Over the next three months, the officer said nothing publicly. Al Sharpton, who was not there, said plenty. Jesse Jackson, who was not there said plenty. Both charged for their time. Jackson took the opportunity to raise money from the protestors and the rioters. Sharpton wanted to charge the Michael Brown family for his services.

A rallying cry was created. “Hands up; Don’t shoot!”

A few days following the shooting a video emerged from a store. It showed Michael Brown stealing some cigarello’s from the store. It also showed that when the clerk tried to approach him at the door, that Brown said something to him and pushed him back into a rack of what looks like various types of potato chips and then walks out the door.

The evidence showed that the officer was telling the truth, the friend of Michael Brown, Dorian Johnson, was lying.

The lie is what became the narrative in most of the news programs. Riots erupted in Ferguson.

The prosecutor, rather than saying that there was no cause for charges against the officer, Darren Wilson, decided to turn it over to the Grand Jury. Witnesses were called and at least six of the witnesses told the same story as Officer Wilson. While the other witnesses didn’t tell the same story as each other and in some cases, such as with Dorian Johnson, the stories changed. One of those witnesses finally admitted he wasn't even there and was only repeating what he'd heard on the news.  Officer Wilson was not indicted. One of the things discovered in the grand jury was that Brown’s hands never went up and he didn’t say “Don’t shoot”.

Once the grand jury came out with their non-indictment, the riots started again. Police cars were set on fire. Businesses were burned to the ground.

The above is pretty much already known by everyone. So where is the racism?

Our justice system is not perfect. But it is the best in the world. Through police work, testimony and forensic evidence just about every detail about the incident is known. Nobody can tell us what Michael Brown was thinking when he decided to attack officer Wilson in his car. That may be the only thing we'll never know. 

But we know from the forensic evidence and from the video in the store that Michael Brown was not the innocent boy that was portrayed. He robbed the store. He was walking in the middle of the street. The officer did tell him and Johnson not to walk in the middle of the street.

Wilson was not found guilty of any wrongdoing because he’s white and Brown was black. He was not indicted because he did his job correctly. He was not indicted because Brown robbed the store. Because Brown fought for Wilsons gun. Because he charged at Wilson and not with his hands up.

So why were they rioting? Is it because a black man was killed? He died because of his own actions. So how is the officer guilty? How does that justify people burning their neighborhood? How does that justify people stealing from stores in their neighborhood after breaking in? How does that justify burning down businesses in their own neighborhood?

Do you need to buy some meat for the week? You’ll have to find a way to the next neighborhood to do your business because you burned out the meat market! Do you need to get your hair done? I guess you’ll have to find another place to set an appointment because you burned down your salon in your neighborhood.

If someone is breaking into your house and you call 911, will you complain when the dispatcher says, “we’ll have an officer out as soon as possible. It may take a few minutes longer because he has to ride his ten speed since four police cars were burned up in the riots.”

Will you complain that someone is shooting up  your neighborhood with a gun stolen from one of the police cars that burned up?

We’ve all heard the talk about black on black crime. We’ve all heard the talk about how there is a disproportionate number of blacks in prison.

It’s time for people to start taking responsibility for their own actions. If you want less people in jail, get them to quit committing the bulk of the crimes. If you want less people dead, tell your kids to quit shooting their friends and neighbors.

It is a lot more difficult for a black child to live beyond his twenties than it is for a white child. 90% of the black people that are dying prematurely are dying at the hands of other black people. Not at the hands of white people. Not at the hands of white police officers.

One of the first things you might want to consider is that we’re all Americans. Not African American. Not European American. We are AMERICANS! You divide yourself into other groups, black or white and it’s no wonder we have differences based on skin color.

Get your kids home and in bed at a reasonable hour. It worked for my parents. It worked for my children when they were with me. Get your kids in school every day and demand that the teachers teach and if the teachers don’t teach, get new teachers. If your kid refuses to learn, punish him or her, not society.

The civil war was over in 1865. Slavery lost, freedom won. After 149 years, blaming slavery isn’t going to work. Rosa Parks fought for a bus seat in 1955. Freedom won. The civil rights act was passed in 1964. It’s been 50 years. Freedom won. If you’re going to keep whining about how you’re not given anything after 50 years of having equal rights that ship has sailed. It’s time to start joining your rightful place in American society and quit whining that someone else is holding you back and then setting your town on fire.

You have never been a slave.  Your parents have never been a slave. There’s very few, if any, who’s grandparents were slaves.

If you want to stay out of jail, stop breaking the law. If you want your children to stay out of jail, teach them to obey the law. Start looking at other human beings as viable people and have respect for human life. Maybe less will die violent deaths. If your kid acts up, punish them and no that doesn’t mean abuse them. It means teach them right from wrong. Take away their I-pods, their cell phones, and maybe even ground them for a week. 

Stop following people blindly. When President Obama says something stupid, start realizing he’s the President, not a savior, nor a civil rights leader. When Al Sharpton starts ranting and raving in front of large crowds, he’s not a motivational speaker. He’s inciting a riot. Motivational speakers tell you that you can improve yourself by believing in yourself and working towards goals. Rioters advocate violence.

Michael Brown would be alive today if he would have raised his hands and said “don’t shoot”. The St. Louis Rams players have it wrong. The Congressional Black Caucus had it wrong. But then, had he just obeyed the law by not walking in the middle of the street, by not robbing a store, and by not charging a police officer with his 6’5 inch, 298 lb body.

Michael Brown’s step father was caught on video at the riots screaming “Burn this b**** down”. Someone should have stood up to him and said, “NO!” Had common sense been employed, Ferguson might not have burned and Michael Brown might still be alive, and the New York Times wouldn't have published Darren Wilson's home address. 

You’re welcome to comment.


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