The city of Ferguson, Missouri is probably one you had never heard about, and possibly even now you don't know about the events there the past couple of days, but it's a story that needs to be heard. When I heard the news yesterday morning I immediately thought back to when Oscar Grant was shot and killed by a police officer a number of years back and I thought of the more recent incident when 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed after being shot by a Florida neighborhood watch organizer (who was acquitted of murder charges). This time it was a young man named Michael Brown.
Now I want to make it perfectly clear that I do not support lawlessness in any form. That includes the misuse of power or outright criminal activity by law enforcement persons. We don't know all the facts in this case, and I don't want to rush to judgment, but it breaks my heart to keep seeing all these instances of killing. There has to be something we can do about it. As horrible as these killings are, guess what we keep seeing afterward? Looting and vandalism. It happened last July after the George Zimmerman verdict was read (saying he was not guilty in the killing of Trayvon Martin) and last night in Ferguson there were people smashing car windows and carrying away armloads of looted goods from stores.
These are but a few of the cases that I can recall. There is a shooting. There is outrage. There is rioting or vandalism. Nothing seems to change. The pattern happens again. Last July I wrote here "I wish I had some great wisdom that could change all of this injustice and let us move onward. I don't though. I only know that we need to be committed to change or it won't happen. Together we can work toward good. We have to want to end racism though. We have to want to end injustice."
Is the problem though that so many American just don't care? We look on at images in our newspaper and on tv and think it someone else who should do something. Change though is something we do together. We can end racism and abuse of power and entitlement and we can end the illogical acts of frustration and we can forge a good and positive society if we all get involved. The ballot box of course is one obvious place to start and volunteering for community programs. In Ferguson this week we have been watching history repeat itself, but it doesn't have to keep repeating.