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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ferguson Fiasco- Respect, Responsibility, and Understanding

No matter how you look at the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, it is a tragedy that a young person was killed. A life cut short is a sad thing- period.

I think the real issue here is a fight for respect. Many feel strongly on either side of the conflict that both men, Michael Brown and officer Darren Wilson were disrespected.

Let's look at how a simple lack of respect has caused so much tragedy:
Michael Brown started a series of negative events and consequences by not showing respect to the store attendant that he bullied and robbed. This event brought in the police. He then showed a lack of respect for the police officer when he ignored his directives and tried to wrestle away the officer's gun.

Now let's look at the police officer. He is a young cop. Never had to use his gun before. He now has a suspect who has violently robbed a store, has tried to wrestle away his gun, and keeps charging at him in an aggressive manner. Regardless of race, this violent confrontational behavior and lack of respect for authority, is necessitating some type of serious consequence from the policeman. But- with that said, could the policeman have wounded him instead? Could he have shot him in the legs instead? If Michael Brown was white, would he have reacted in the same way? Did he know that he was unarmed? Did he have to shoot him that many times?

The bottom line to me is that our society is losing its respect for one another. And perhaps worse than that, we are losing a sense of individual responsibility. We seem to always look to blame someone else for the mistakes we've made.

Michael Brown was an unarmed young man shot repeatedly and killed by a police officer- but he had also just robbed a store and assaulted a policeman.

In my opinion, regardless of race, if you rob a store, attack a policeman and try to wrestle his gun away- there is a pretty damn good chance that you are going to be shot- whether you are black, white, or purple.

Now, I'm a middle-aged white guy, and I will never know what it feels like to be a black person growing up in America. I will never feel singled out or unfairly profiled by my race in the same way. But as a father with a son, I can understand his step father's anger and his lashing out. I don't condone it, but I understand it. If Michael Brown was my son, no matter what he may have done, nothing would reconcile his death to me. I would never understand or forgive whoever took my son away.

As a nation, I think we need to understand the situation from all sides. We need to stop blaming, hating, or maybe worse ignoring each other. There is pain on both sides. There is no right or wrong here, no winner or loser. Forgiveness implies blame, what we need from each other is understanding.. What we need from each other is empathy.




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