More Questions About Ferguson

By YeOldeScribe ~ September 6th, 2014 @ 5:00 pm

In our last post, we were pretty harsh on the police officers of Ferguson and St. Louis. And, to be fair, understandably so. Our police officers are trained to protect and serve us, and the fact that they have taken several steps which seem to indicate they’re more interested in protecting themselves than protecting is is disconcerting, to say the least. But the police aren’t the only people we’re asking questions of when it comes to the Michael Brown shooting. The good people of Ferguson (or at least the people in Ferguson immediately following the shooting) also have brought about questions that demand answers.

The first and most obvious question is why did Michael Brown’s shooting justify the looting, vandalism and violence which sprung immediately after? Gas stations, Foot Lockers, grocers and other stores were under attack right away. Don’t believe us? Check this out:

The biggest threat in Ferguson directly after the shooting didn’t come from the National Guard, the police or any governmental agency. It came from the people in Ferguson who turned to violence in the wake of violence. And this was a strange type of violence: untargeted, unwarranted violence. The businesses that were looted had absolutely nothing to do with the shooting. Their owners weren’t tied to the police force. They didn’t supply the police or aid the government. Yet they were sacked. We said before we weren’t going to answer questions, but for this one we’ll make an exception: Michael Brown’s shooting didn’t justify the looting. Violence rarely justifies violence. The fact that this happened here is something we as a society should be ashamed of. Maybe if this didn’t happen, the response from the police wouldn’t have been so severe.

Next question: When you’re asking for justice, what are you really asking for? One of our writer’s friends was on the ground in Ferguson and heard people shouting “What do we want? Officer Wilson! How do we want him? Dead!” Almost everyone involved with the case was bemoaning that the officer wasn’t arrested on the spot and charged with murder. But is that really justice? Justice demands that due diligence be done, and that requires an investigation, which requires time and impartiality. By definition, if you’re saying that your peacefulness is tied to the outcome of a case, it’s not going to be impartial. Also, there’s a very good chance that justice could be done and Officer Wilson is not found guilty of anything. So is it really justice people want, or is it vengeance?

Finally, let’s talk about what change people can reasonably expect. Whenever something like this happens, emotion gets the best of people and they expect solutions to happen RIGHT. NOW. But the real world seldom works that way. The city should hire more police officers of color. But that means more blacks have to be trained. Which means more blacks need to apply. Which means they need to meet the educational requirements. Which means we need to invest in educational programs geared toward minorities. People think the solution is so much easier – hire more black cops. But there’s about ten steps we need to take just to attempt to solve this one little problem. If we want to solve other societal problems, that involves even more questions with even more complex answers.

But, in the end, it all revolves around asking questions. So now that we’ve taken our stab at it, what questions do you have?

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