Dec 05

After Ferguson, Where Do We Go From Here?

NoHateI have been watching with growing concern as the events have unfolded in Ferguson, Missouri and around the nation following the announcement of no indictment for Darren Wilson over the shooting of Michael Brown. You may note that I made no mention of the ethnicity, occupation, or physical characteristics of each person in the preceding statement. This is the way it should be reported. By doing so no bias is attached. Incidents such as this would gain much less attention if the media would report only the facts without building in the bias. Of course that would sell far less for the paid sponsors of the media without the sensationalism. But I digress.

As mentioned before this is causing great concern for me. It truly bothers me that an entire segment of our society can be so totally disenfranchised with what the United States has to offer. If white police officers were actually targeting black teens for no apparent reason, I could understand. But that is not the case. If the Police were militarizing for no other reason but to fear and intimidate , I could understand. But that is not the case. I must admit that it is frightening to many to see a squad of Police Officers clad in utilities, flak jackets, and helmets. But not as frightening as the prospects for those same officers if they were not so protected when they encounter the many who desire to murder them where they stand. This is a valid concern as over 100 police officers are murdered in the line of duty each year. The questions that need to be answered are, are the people truly disenfranchised, and if so, what should be done about it, and who should do it?

It is important to note that this is not a racial issue. The revolts occurred in Ferguson, Missouri where the police department was predominately male white, but they also occurred in Cincinnati, Ohio where only 55 percent of the Police Department was male white. So then the lines blur a bit and the two elements become the generic police and the citizens, mostly black, who resent the fact that police officers are required, on occasion, to defend themselves, or others, with the use of force. A use of force that is stringently regulated by policies, procedures, and numerous court decisions which authorizes, but limits how this force can be applied. What may not be realized is that most often, the police officer must make a decision to use the force in a split second, and either escalate or de-escalate the force as quickly as necessary in an ever evolving situation. The Officer does not have the luxury of unlimited time as does the grand juries, the Citizen Complaint Authorities, or even the Professional Standards Groups to insure the decision was the right one. What the Grand Jury took weeks to decide, Darren Wilson, and many like him, had only a split second to decide. If the Grand Jury had decided to indict, he would have stood trial, and possibly spent a great portion of his life in prison, all because he made a bad decision when judging how much force he needed to use to protect his life in that split second. That is asking a lot of any person. Maybe it should be the cops who are marching and protesting.

What bothers me most is to see people taking sides in what is being considered a racial issue but as I have demonstrated, it is not. I would like to see a full set of statistics published that tell the whole story. So far, the statistics have been biased and unfair. It does not tell the entire story if one only points out that blacks are killed by police at a greater rate than whites if one does not also point out the fact that blacks are more likely to engage in behavior that puts them in such an at risk situation. For those who are squirming in their chairs, that is not a racist statement, that is a fact and crime statistics show it to be true. Unfortunately, in our society, far too often any statement that cast a negative shadow on any segment of society remains unspoken because of the fear of being considered a racist. I will put both of my hands on a bible while standing on my Mothers grave and tell you I am not a racist. I am also not afraid to speak the truth.

Pretty much, people need to calm down and quit the hate rhetoric that is building up on Facebook and Twitter. Instead of looking for an instance of a black cop killing a white person, look instead for an instance of a black cop saving a white persons life. That happens all the time. And while you are looking, find some examples that help to make all cops look less like genocidal maniacs and more like the humanitarians they really are. I am willing to stake my reputation on saying that I am confident that no cop, white or black, considers the ethnicity of any person while they are trying to save their lives, or on those unfortunate times when they must do the opposite. Also, lets post some articles that cast a positive slant on the protesters and what is their message and what do they hope to accomplish. I need to point out that when I speak of protestors I am not speaking of those individuals who choose to act out by rioting, looting, and burning. Those people are not protestors, they are criminals and thugs, and should be dealt with accordingly. It would go a long way if people would stop seeking the bad in each other and start seeking the good. Yeah, I know, there I go again with my “pie in the sky” mentality. But you know, it can’t hurt.

 

Those are my thoughts, what are yours?

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3 comments

    • Mark Sherman on December 5, 2014 at 10:05 am
    • Reply

    I hear what you’re saying. At the same time it’s hard to watch a video of someone getting strangled for a relatively minor offense and not come to the conclusion that something went horribly wrong. If you saw that sort of thing happening to your peers, you’d probably get pretty upset too. Coming right on the heels of the St. Louis thing, it seems to show a pattern.

    1. Mark,

      Thanks for commenting. I would respond by saying that violence, in any form, is ugly to watch. If there was video of the 107 police officers killed in the line of duty this year, I would think that too would be hard to watch. The problem is, people tend to not go far enough into the back story before becoming outraged. There is always a reason the police have contact with an individual. If a person is placed under arrest, and the subject refuses to comply, force will be used. The law is clear, the force is used to counter the resistance, and once resistance has ceased, the force must cease. Death from positional asphyxia or “choke holds” do occur. It is an unfortunate side effect of the force used to overcome the resistance. However, had the subject not resisted, the force would not have been used. I feel confident that Darren Wilson did not arbitrarily select Michael Brown as target to shoot and kill, and I feel confident that Daniel Pantaleo did not arbitrarily select Eric Garner as a person to choke to death. They had a duty of law to overcome the resistance and effect the arrest. The “relatively minor offence” became secondary to the occurring offense of resisting arrest.

      I agree with you. It does show a pattern. it shows a pattern of disrespect for the authority of a police officer. I believe that should the number of people who resist arrest decrease, so will the number of in custody deaths. It is really just that simple.

    • Gerry Geisel on December 6, 2014 at 11:44 am
    • Reply

    Great thoughts.

    Tom, take a look at this. It sounds as if NYPD doesn’t have an FTO program.

    I like the decorations!

Feel free to comment, why should I have the last word.

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