Ferguson, Injustice, Truth & Peace
Frustrated and sad. But frustrated above all things. That is how I would describe my thoughts about Ferguson. It should come as no surprise that my opinion of Ferguson falls somewhere in the middle and therefore likely satisfies no one. That is the story of my life whether it be theology, politics, people. I tend to not see things dualistically. Instead of “either or” my mind has always been drawn to “both and”. Its incredibly frustrating going through life like this because sometime in my early teens I realized that the vast majority of people do not see things the way that I do. I’m not sure why I am this way; I just am. Ferguson is the latest best example of my mind’s refusal to toe the dualistic line.
In my quest to come to a solid opinion on the matter, to choose a side so to speak, I decided to ignore the sensationalistic news reports, stop reading blogs and Face-Book post on Ferguson. Instead, I read much of the official evidence and testimony. Here is a link to all the evidence submitted to the grand jury. FERGUSON EVIDENCE It offers both sides of the story and gives every relevant party’s side of what occurred. I encourage you to read it.
Unfortunately, after looking at the evidence, I ended up where I began. Ferguson is a tragedy of epic proportions for everyone involved. The evidence gives us a young man who has lost his way and has just robbed a storel, that is undisputed. He, like almost everyone who has grown up in his environment, is distrustful and hostile to police. Not because he is a thug but because he has seen innocent blacks harassed, abused and arrested. He has seen to proportion of force used excessive toward black males when compared to while males. Finally, more than anything, he has seen a justice system that is unjust toward black males. Our justice system is terribly broken, and black Americans have the right to be angry and demand the injustice end. Too many sons, brothers and husbands have died or disappeared into prisons.
There is also a young cop who has a good record. There is no reason to assume this particular cop acted with malice unless you assume all cops do so. The worst possible thing he did is that he panicked while considering himself under attack. A large criminal, who had just robbed a convince store and accosted its clerk, came through the cop’s window and attempted to take his gun from him. He then refused to obey a police officer and dared the officer to shoot him. He then turned and charged toward the officer “like a bull” according to a black eye witness. He was shot. It’s sad. It’s unfortunate. It is devastating for the family and friends of Michael Brown, but it was not a crime.
The crime here is not Darren Wilson’s, and it is not even Michael Brown’s. The crime that MUST be addressed is our broken criminal justice system when it comes to black men. Dr. King’s dream of racial harmony and equality will never occur until blacks are treated equally when it comes to crime and justice. However, Ferguson is NOT the case to make the point, and I fear the cause may be set back and actually harmed if the case continues to be used in this way.
Who among us would not use force against a male attacker who is several inches taller and pounds heavier than us? Who would not use deadly force against this male when he has entered our car through the window and fought us for a firearm? Who would not shoot when the same male turns towards us and charges? If you go to the evidence through the link above these facts are indisputable as given by a number of black eyewitnesses.
I understand the anger. I really do, and I share it as much as a white man who has not lived it can. But let’s use this as a teaching moment to bring justice not inflict another injustice. Let us not act or speak for revenge but redemption, renewal, and restoration. Darren Wilson is not responsible for the criminal injustice many blacks have faced in our judicial system, and he should not be the scapegoat for it. No good will come from that. America is responsible for the injustice of our judicial system toward blacks, and it will take America coming together to fix the problem. Nothing will be achieved by our further alienating one another and stoking the flames of fear and hate.
Ferguson is a national tragedy, but it can be a tragedy redeemed if we listen, learn, and act. Let the change begin today.