Friday, September 12, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri - Justice Or Revenge?

It seems the incident of the Michael Brown shooting isn't going to go away anytime soon. Not that it should go away before the facts are known but what do the people of Ferguson want? They say they want "justice for Michael Brown" but what, exactly, does that entail? Isn't justice supposed to seek the truth and then mete out any punishment that is warranted? That doesn't seem to be the justice the protesters are seeking.

The governor of the state has already said Wilson needs to be prosecuted for the shooting - even before the investigation was days old. State Senators and County Representatives of African-American descent have been calling for Wilson's arrest and prosecution since the incident happened. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have called for hearings on the shooting. And of course, Eric Holder not only sent about 40 FBI agents to Ferguson to investigate the shooting but he went himself to talk to the protesters and the Brown family members. He said he will be investigating the Ferguson police department "get to the bottom of mistrust of police."

"Our investigation will assess the police department's use of force, including deadly force. It will analyze stops, searches and arrests. And it will examine the treatment of individuals detained at Ferguson's city jail," Holder said.

Holder bases his investigation on statements made by people on the street in Ferguson. Since only a small percentage of the protesters seem to be Ferguson residents, I hope he vetted those citizens from which he got information.

I can't find it anywhere at the present time but I have heard that the death of Michael Brown is the first ever committed by a Ferguson police officer. If that's the case, what "deadly force" is Holder going to investigate?

On a news broadcast last night I saw a sign carried by one of the protesters. It read:

Darren Wilson
You can't hide
We want justice
Dead or alive

Maybe it's me but those words don't sound like justice. They sound like a lynch mob. 

Over the weekend the protesters briefly blocked traffic on the Interstate 270 bypass, even after the Brown family asked them not to do it. At least they've stopped burning down their own neighborhoods. But what is to be accomplished by blocking the freeway? All that will do is anger the community against them.

The tragic thing is - if the pending case against Darren Wilson doesn't turn into an arrest and conviction protesters, state leaders, politicians and even celebrities have already stated their desire to not only continue the protests but to increase the violence and destruction. How is that going to help anything? Who will benefit from it? The black community? I don't think so.

If "justice" doesn't work out for the Ferguson protesters the way they believe it should and they become more violent, all they will succeed in doing is alienating the non-black community from their cause. Eventually people will tire of the violence and one of two things will happen. The black community involved will be shunned by the rest of the nation or there will be increased violence between blacks and whites - in which case nobody wins. Race relations in this country will go from 2014 to 1960 overnight.

I personally believe this is a situation within which President Obama should involve himself. Even more so than Eric Holder, President Obama should be talking to the people of Ferguson and asking for calm. As an African-American President he should be telling them that violence is not the answer even if they don't get what they want. He should be telling them that the incident is under investigation by numerous agencies but that according to the law Darren Wilson is innocent until proven guilty and the process must be allowed to be completed. He should be telling them that if Wilson is found by the grand jury to have not done anything wrong that increased violence not only is the wrong thing to do but will only cause more problems and hurt the community. 

But he's not saying anything. Being the first African-American President - Obama sucks at community relations between blacks and whites in this country. His comments often bring about discord between the two rather than harmony.

So right now we have people in Ferguson acting irrationally while trying to bring about the results they want, whether or not those results bring truth and justice. If it turns out Darren Wilson does not get charged, those people will never be happy. And I feel sorry for the sensible residents of Ferguson in that case. Their community may never recover.

No comments:

Post a Comment