Tonight, big news was made in Ferguson. As predicted, the social media platforms lit up with the opinions and perspectives of human beings basically reinforcing their own opinions and beliefs. I found myself wanting more. I wanted to engage this in a way that doesn’t just side with my own personal cry for justice, and doesn’t necessarily demonize or otherwise discount someone else’s perfectly logical yet somewhat insensitive opposing view. After a little thinking and reflecting, this is what I came up with. I posted it on Facebook–not something I normally do with any hopes of actually making any kind of difference in a public debate. But I find myself so persuaded by it, that I wanted to double down on this by posting it here on the blog, for further consumption.
If you find some way of disagreeing with what I have to say here, I truly do hope to hear from you. Because I don’t know how you can be a thoughtful person who cares about truth, justice, peace, respect for civil servants, Christian values, or patriotism and NOT see the logic in this particular argument. But please, try to prove me wrong…if that’s important to you.
From my Facebook status:
For anyone who doesn’t see what happened in Ferguson 3 months ago, and then again tonight as a big deal, please take a minute to use nothing but logic and news reports to think through all this: From the Washington Post: “Many experts say the governing law, established by the Supreme Court in the 1980s, allows police officers to shoot to kill as long as they believe their life is in imminent danger — which [Officer Darren] Wilson has said he believes was the case.”
OK. Let’s just assume that’s true. Then shouldn’t the next question be, “Why did you allow yourself to wind up in a life threatening situation with a suspect?”
The answer to that would be, “Because he stole a few cigars from a local convenient store, and I had him in my sight.”
And then anyone with the least bit of a conscience would find themselves compelled to ask, “So rather than calling for back up, and hanging back while waiting for reinforcements so the whole thing could be dealt with appropriately, you felt the need to confront a suspect in a way that would endanger both your life and his, because of a few stolen cigars?”
And then this officer of the law would have to say, “Yes, that’s correct.”
And then, even if a jury made the same decision they made tonight, that technically this police officer was well within his rights….at least we would then have a systematic way of declaring this particular officer as incompetent–possibly criminally so–incapable of handling a simple, low-stakes crime without causing unnecessary death and suffering. At the very least he would lose his job.
But tonight 12 people decided to not have that trial. They decided to not have a public forum in which, even if it’s decided there is no criminal action, there’s at least an individual with a lot of power and responsibility over the lives of others who engages in reckless and dangerous behavior unnecessarily…and is then held ACCOUNTABLE for his actions. This is what so many of us are infuriated by: There is NO reason for Michael Brown to be dead. Even if you take the side of “our police officers should be allowed to protect themselves”–a sentiment I completely AGREE with–there’s nothing about this situation that SHOULD HAVE EVER BEEN life or death. But Officer Wilson, as a sworn Police Officer, sworn to protect and defend, had ALL the power in this situation. And he chose a course of action that lead to him needing to choose between Michael Brown’s life or his own.
Yes, #BlackLivesMatter yes #PoliceLivesMatter YES #ALLlivesMatter, and what is completely incomprehensible about the decision announced in Ferguson tonight is that there’s ABSOLUTELY NO reason for us to be here in the first place. We should value the lives of everyone enough to INSIST that the people in charge of our public safety utilize their power responsibly so that lives aren’t even put in jeopardy–let alone LOST–because of something as stupid as a few stolen cigars. Michael Brown is DEAD because of a few stolen cigars??!! There should be no POSSIBILITY of that happening.
If YOUR kid stole something from a local store, do you think their life should hang in the balance for it? Of course not. No one thinks that. Except for, apparently, Officer Darren Wilson. Shouldn’t someone so out of touch with reality be taken to trial? Tonight a Grand Jury decided “no.”
If this bothers you in any way, then now you understand what the rest of us are infuriated about. #NoJustice #NoPeace “You know, O Mortal, what God asks of you. To DO Justice, to LOVE Kindness, and to WALK HUMBLY with your God.” –Micah 6:8