Wednesday, August 20, 2014
My Thoughts on Ferguson Missouri, Racial Tension and Police Brutality
I've been watching a lot of media lately, mostly about Ferguson, Missouri. A black teenager was gunned down by a white cop which probably isn't that extraordinary as it happens most any day in the U.S. but this case was different. And the reason I believe it was different is that people didn't stand by and accept it. They protested. And protested and protested until justice is served.
Robin Williams had just died and that's why I was glued to CNN the last week or so but right after that, we hear about Michael Brown being shot by police and the whole town of Ferguson went on a rampage for revenge claiming he had his hands up in surrender and the cop still plummeted him with six bullets. I'd be pissed too. But then it became a race thing turning violent against the police mainly because the blacks were sick of not being respected and they were also sick of the police using physical force in dealing with them when they got arrested. Now...here's my thought on that. I grew up during the sixties so I'm a child of protest. I'm also very much against police brutality. Of course. Isn't anyone but Facebook has been bombarded (this is even before Ferguson) with police beating up people when arresting them. And I'm wondering if there is lots of this out there and we just never heard about it.
We need police. Without police, there would be chaos. And I know they are in the line of harm themselves but I'm thinking a lot of this is that they let their adrenalin get to the best of them and before you know it bam an unarmed teenager is gunned down in broad daylight. There were extenuating circumstances. The cop had just gotten a report of a local robbery and the teenager and his friend matched the description. So the cop is already on an adrenalin high. Add to that the teenager is combative, punches the cop in the face and tries to take the gun. Then flees. The teenager is ordered to freeze and according to the cop's account, the teenager charges toward him despite the fact he has been shot several times. For anyone to remain standing even after one shot to me signifies this teenager is pretty darn strong. There are so many accounts on what happened I can't judge right now. On one side you have the officer acting in self-defense and the other side the kid was trying to surrender and the cop shot him regardless.
Let me back up. When I was a young child, the first encounter with someone not of my own color was Rosie Zimmerman. Rosie was my mother and aunt's best friend and back in the early sixties, having a black woman as your best friend was kinda hushed. There was incredible racial tension back then. If you were friends with someone not of your color, you were automatically labeled. That's what whites have been fighting against and are still fighting against all these years. Blacks don't understand that. They just think that white people don't like them because of their color but it's not about the color of the skin; it's about society.
Fast forward to the present time and there's still racial tension going on which to me is incredible to believe.
But I think we can all deal with that. It just might take more time but my point is that - now this is my perspective and probably isn't the same perspective some others might have - but for one thing, police brutality has to stop. Just because they wear a badge, they have to have some decency. If a person is combative, okay I can understand using some kind of force, but don't display big bad boy crap when it only makes people like you less and of course the people at the other end are going to be combative themselves. On the other hand, Afro-Americans think whites are always out to get them and the reason why they think that is that they have gone through having their family or friends shot by white policemen and there are other incidences which makes them believe the only way they can change that it to let their voices heard which they have been doing the last 11 days since the Michael Brown shooting. But here's something else going on here which we have been battling for decades. While there has been improvement I feel, they still feel they have to prove themselves. A black teenager walking down your street at night, what are you going to think? If that black teenager was dressed in a suit, would you not think he was out to start trouble? So is it a matter of how you carry yourself? Yes. I'm not saying all black men should wear suits but that's the general attitude. If I were on the street at night, if I didn't get raped or killed being a woman, but I was dressed say in a mini skirt and high heels, the cops would pull me over in a minute. So is it the way you carry yourself? Sure.
The bottom line is these people want justice. I don't want to see the guy go to jail for self-defense but I have a funny feeling that if he's not convicted or charged with something that meets the expectations of the other side, something is going to go down and it won't be good.