Have you been watching the news, following Twitter, listening to the radio talk show hosts lately? It’s all about Ferguson and it should be, but are you getting the whole picture? Probably not. You’re most likely getting a version of the picture as repainted by a talking head with an agenda. Beware.
I’ll start off by saying that I’m not angry about the shooting of Michael Brown. I don’t know enough details about the shooting, whether he was a threat or not. I’ve heard conflicting accounts, but that doesn’t mean anything. The truth is something that will come out in the investigation, which includes forensics, eye-witnesses, the officer’s report, time stamps, and recordings. The law will abide and it will comb every detail and it will answer the hard questions with answers we may like or that we may not like, but they will answer them. I’m willing to wait for those answers and accept them. That is, if the authorities leading the investigation can conduct it without outside influences. And just so we’re clear, I’m not talking about Ferguson PD as the authorities. For crying out loud, the State of Missouri and the Justice Department are vying for position here and the world is watching. There’s no room for covering anything up, assuming that authorities would attempt to cover up the details, of course. But that’s a large assumption.
Instead, what I am angry about is the handling of the protests. My anger isn’t reserved for one side, either. I am upset with both sides. I am upset that there are those that will take advantage of a tragedy for gain, for ideology, for crime, or just because they are bad people. I am upset that law enforcement is ran like a para-military group, goose-stepping across Ferguson, suppressing the media, unable to isolate the bad guys, strong arming innocents and making a mockery of the Second Amendment and the American way.
There is no doubt that law enforcement has mishandled the protests. They should be embarrassed, even held accountable. However, the protesters, the organizers, the people that truly care about rights, about justice, who want nothing but the truth and who want their voices heard should also be embarrassed. There are wolves among the sheep and the sheep welcomed them with opened arms. The wolves are not working for them, but they are working against them, using the sheep for their own personal gain. They darken the silver-lining and remove true hope and community then eventually turn the sheep on one another, while placing the blame on the “other side”. The wolves want only chaos, because in chaos they gain power.
I am also upset that there are those on the sidelines, watching on their televisions that have strong, uninformed opinions, spreading half-truths while making bold declarations. Nobody knows anything even when they think they know everything. The color of our skin does not make us experts on any subject, white or black. We are only experts on ourselves, our experiences, our hearts and we project those things upon what is happening around us and somehow think that makes us right. It doesn’t. Only the facts will clear the air and by the time the air clears, no one will care. We will have moved on, latching onto some other national tragedy or agenda. The only people that will care are the family and friends of Michael Brown and the officer that shot him. We get to go on with our lives, forgetting all about the chaos. They will live with it forever. It will keep them up at night. It will hit them at odd moments throughout the day, weighing them down, reopening wounds they thought time had healed.
You may be angry now– We may be angry now, but we get to move on with our lives, free and clear of guilt, lasting anger, heartbreak and pain.
So, while you are spitting your venom at the police or at the protesters, take a second and gain a little perspective. There are real people involved here, not characters in a story, not just organizations, but real people. They have real losses to deal with and it isn’t about the big picture that worries the rest of us. It’s about their small world, their neighborhood, their lives.
And the truth will prevail when the storm quiets.