I have shied away from addressing the situation in Ferguson, Missouri partially out of lack of information and partially out of focus on what it is I’ve been attempting to accomplish with my articles. It was not till I felt a connection with what is happening there to the bigger global picture that I felt compelled to write about it.
Let me start by saying that the death of a young man of 18 at the hands of police officers is always a tragedy. Whether you make the argument that he was an unarmed teenager shot merely because he was black and on the streets or whether you make the argument he was involved in illegal activities and put himself into that situation, his death is a tragedy. However, despite the tragedy, the behavior of both parties since the events took place ironically magnify the morality that still exists in the United States in comparison to the global atrocities we need to fight.
The harshest reactions to this post will come from two opposing sides of the spectrum. Since I anticipate that, I will address them both in this piece. One side will say that this is another example of the injustice a young black man consistently has to face. They will say that there are too many out there, be it the average citizen or the law enforcement official that see a young black man and suspect him to be a criminal merely because he is black. The other side will say that the behavior of young black men has created this environment and that if the crime level in that demographic was not so high that people would not react that way.
Everyone who knows me well knows that my opinions are never determined by the color of one’s skin. They also know that I am a supporter of the police. That doesn’t mean I don’t recognize that there are both people of color and police officers that commit crimes. I say this because other than saying that Michael Brown should not have been killed, I am not using this platform to analyze the more detailed rights and wrongs of what took place here. The point to this piece is to bring attention to the relative greatness of our society.
This is where the critics on both sides are shaking their hands and wagging their fingers at me. “Tell that to Michael Brown’s mother”, one might say. “Try being a cop and never knowing if someone is going to pull out a gun and shoot you”, another might say. I’m not saying either is wrong nor am I ignoring the problems that do exist in this country, what I am doing is making a larger point. Other than the looters and rioters on one side and the racists on the other, this case has magnified the way Americans deal with issues. They scream and shout and protest, go on TV, look to their political leaders, have investigations and most of all, pursue justice. They don’t always enact justice, but the pursuit is allowed, not stifled for the most part, and not met with government sanctioned resistance. Yes there are still glaring flaws, and yes both young black men and police officers still have to endure unfair behaviors, but when push comes to shove we still see a society where people are relatively free to express their grievances, and that all that most decent people want is justice.
It’s far from perfect, but it still needs to be recognized and appreciated. Even by those getting the worst of it. Because in so many other places it would be, and is a lot worse.
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