Tag Archives: Michael Brown

Open Letter of Gratitude to Benjamin Watson

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Dear Mr. Watson,

Although I do not share all of your religious beliefs, I found your comments on the events in Ferguson, Missouri and subsequent Grand Jury verdict to be so beautiful, eloquent and constructive, I was compelled to write this letter to you.  Please don’t stop here. The country needs more people like you.  People who are looking for solutions, not scapegoats.  People who are looking for kindness, not hatred. People who are looking to unite, not divide. I wish to sincerely thank you, and out of the respect I have for you and what you have written I will make this very brief and just post your great words for others to read.

Thank you Mr. Benjamin Watson.

Sincerely,
David Groen

 

THE FOLLOWING WAS WRITTEN BY NEW ORLEANS SAINTS FOOTBALL PLAYER, BENJAMIN WATSON:

At some point while I was playing or preparing to play Monday Night Football, the news broke about the Ferguson Decision. After trying to figure out how I felt, I decided to write it down. Here are my thoughts:

I’M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.

I’M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios.

I’M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I’m a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a “threat” to those who don’t know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.

I’M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.

I’M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.

I’M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.

I’M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I’ve seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.

I’M CONFUSED, because I don’t know why it’s so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don’t know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.

I’M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take “our” side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it’s us against them. Sometimes I’m just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that’s not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That’s not right.

I’M HOPELESS, because I’ve lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I’m not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.

I’M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it’s a beautiful thing.

I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.

 

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Open Letter to Reggie Bush

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Dear Reggie,

I’m not even sure how to start this letter. Congratulations.  You’ve now entered the world of Roger Waters, Bryan Adams and George Clooney.  You are a high-profile celebrity I will no longer support in any way, shape or form. You’ve never had the ability or skill to stay healthy long enough to perform consistently as a professional, but you somehow had the intestinal fortitude to dig down deep and facilitate a comparison so dumb that you managed to insult the police, the Jews and the black people of Ferguson all in one shot. If only you were this good at football.

I do not like the fact that an unarmed man got shot. I recognize the tragedy of the situation and although I believe the grey areas in this case may very well have given credence to the Grand Jury’s verdict, this is indicative of some very serious problems that still exist in this country.  There are problems of race relations that can not be ignored as well as problems in the training of police officers that must be addressed.  If I am to be as objective as possible I may very well say that it is wrong that Michael Brown is dead and right that Darren Wilson was not indicted.  That’s a difficult statement to make, especially since it can bring on the wrath of both sides, but I am no coward and if, as I learn more facts I feel that way, I will be willing to make that difficult statement.  I don’t make simple divisive statements like: The Palestinian people know what mean to be shot while unarmed because of your ethnicity. #ferguson #justice.” 

Seriously Reggie? Do you realize how incredibly stupid that comment is? Apparently not because you posted a picture of a man holding that sign on your Instagram and followed with your own statement that read, “No matter who you are, what color skin you have, where you live, we are all in this together! This isn’t a Ferguson problem it’s a Global Problem! We need change NOW! What happened to humanity? #JusticeForMikeBrown.”

Well Reggie, you ask a good question.  What happened to humanity? These Palestinians you seem to feel comfortable comparing to the black people of Ferguson have thousands upon thousands of people looking to die in the process of murdering as many Jews and Americans as possible. Two Palestinians stormed a synagogue in Jerusalem last week and brutally murdered 4 Rabbis.  Palestinians have in their ranks people who blow themselves up with the hope, yes the hope of killing dozens of people.  They have people who drive into bus stops and murder a 4 month old baby girl. Let’s not forget how they celebrate in the streets after these murders.  Palestinian demonstrators throw rocks and Molotov Cocktails in the hope that they will injure or kill as many people as possible.  And of course let us not forget the additional Palestinian celebrations in the street after 3,000 Americans got murdered on 9/11.  Putting aside for one second how offensive your approach is to me as a Jewish man, if I was a black man in Ferguson who had knowledge of current affairs, I think I would be even more offended.  To even hint that there is a similarity between the people of Ferguson and the Palestinians may be the worst part of the message you are sending.

As a Jew I can not say I am surprised.  After all, it seems to be fashionable to criticize Israel and the Jewish people even when done by those who are clearly ignorant to the facts.  Abraham Lincoln once said,  “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”  Thank you Reggie for removing all doubt.

Incidentally,  I was such a fan I once had your picture as my icon during an entire Fantasy Football season.  All I can say now is that I am happy I didn’t trade for you this year when it was proposed to me.  Of course I didn’t because you are hardly on the field anyway.  I guess that is why you found the time to use social media to show the world your ignorance.

If you had merely made the comment you made I am certain no one would have had an issue with its intent.  Being someone who sees all Americans as being equal regardless of color or race, something everyone who knows me would corroborate, I might even have liked you more for the comment. After all, there is nothing wrong with expecting better of humanity.  But by showing the picture with that comment you went from portraying yourself as a man who cares to just another idiot with no clue.

Sincerely,

David Groen

 

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The Bright side of Ferguson

628x471I 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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