First and foremost, I’m sure the law abiding citizens who armed up before the verdict are thankful they live in a state that respects their right to keep and bear arms for self defense. No doubt the fires, looting and riots would have been much more expansive had the mob been unopposed by those willing to stand up for themselves and their community.
But this article isn’t about the common sense of being armed against a mob.
I read something this morning from a New Orleans Saints player, Benjamin Watson, who encapsulates the entire sentiment of the Ferguson affair in a level headed and objective way.
From Watson’s Facebook Page:
At some point while I was playing or preparing to play Monday Night Football, the news broke about the Ferguson Decision. After trying to figure out how I felt, I decided to write it down. Here are my thoughts:
I’M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.
I’M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios.
I’M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I’m a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a “threat” to those who don’t know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.
I’M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.
I’M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.
I’M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.
I’M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I’ve seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.
I’M CONFUSED, because I don’t know why it’s so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don’t know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.
I’M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take “our” side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it’s us against them. Sometimes I’m just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that’s not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That’s not right.
I’M HOPELESS, because I’ve lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I’m not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.
I’M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it’s a beautiful thing.
I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.
I think Watson encapsulated a lot of peoples feelings with his post. Personally, after hearing the evidence and the reliable first hand eye witness reports about the shooting, I think Officer Wilson acted appropriately. Of course with the media hyping the race war at every opportunity I can understand why some could view the decision as a miscarriage of justice. The media has a way of twisting the truth so people will accept what they are offered instead of what is.
But Watson continues to hit good points, real life isn’t like the movies and the culture that many urban youth are coming from is reality imitating art and unfortunately that will often times land you in trouble.
Is Driving While Black a “crime” in some parts of the country? It probably still is, but this also isn’t Birmingham circa 1963.
Are the looters and violent protesters an embarrassment? Yes. But the “leaders” like Sharpton and Jackson do nothing to curtail them. In fact, their sabre rattling race baiting is the fuel that gives fire to the rioters.
By all accounts Michael Brown was a criminal and a thug. Yet it’s ok to be empathetic to the family for their loss.
I share Watson’s confusion on physically challenging a cop. There are ways to go about challenging cops, in a court of law for civil rights violations and you can win. But charging a cop and calling his bluff that he won’t shoot you while you beat him? That’s just asinine.
Watson’s also right, unless things change, unless the culture and the leadership of “black America” changes and becomes part of just AMERICA these things will continue to happen.
He’s right too, things are getting better.
But Watson’s most eloquent remark is his last: “because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem.”
I’ve no doubt that if Michael Brown was white and did the same things to Officer Wilson he would be just as dead. The first hand eye witnesses backed up the officers story, Brown attacked him. When you have the size of a small giant you need to expect someone to take issue with you beating them to death.
Unfortunately though, our country, regardless of your color, too often our choices, our culture and our thoughts are influenced by television, movies, actors, rappers, singers and reality tv harlots.
Today is the day to give thanks for all that we have. But perhaps we should also be asking for something more. Help. Hope. Direction. Purpose.
Where do we get such knowledge? To quote Watson one last time:
God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.
A happy and safe Thanksgiving to you all.