Monday, November 24, 2014

National tragedy

Everyone has their say on the Ferguson decision tonight, so I hesitate to add much except to say that I see the whole sad affair as a national tragedy for America. The tentacles of this will reach so far in so many directions. When you are distant from the facts, didn't see what went down, and aren't privy to the Grand Jury deliberations, it's foolish to voice opinions. But I still have some.
Yes, I think Darren Wilson probably feared for his life--but he was the one with a gun and with police training and, supposedly, discipline. He blew it. On the other hand, Michael Brown tempted fate--unarmed, he shouldn't have threatened the officer (do we know that he did? Stories conflict).  But the story goes far beyond those two men--one trained and armed, one young, maybe impetuous, and unarmed.
I've heard many black mothers say how they worry every time their sons leave the house. They are targets--for gangs, for police, for all kinds of violence. I worry enough when my innocent Anglo and well protected grandchildren leave the house. Can you imagine that kind of fear? Living in a society that forces that fear on you? Clearly, as President Obama said, we in America have a lot of work to do. He of all people knows that racism is not dead.
I'm sure to the African-American community of Ferguson--and perhaps around the country--this decision supports what they already believe: black lives don't matter. Our society tells them that every day--in wages in social situations, living conditions, etc. And it's not just African-Americans; it's the poor of America. While the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Bernie Sanders says revolution is coming, and I saw a post on Facebook that predicted that a storm is coming. I pray that Ferguson is not the spark that ignites it, but I also remember riots after the assassination of Martin Luther King, jr., and the beating of Rodney King. I fear for America.
To counter that thought, the black population needs to work to improve their situation themselves, shed the deliberately "in your face" resentment, do worthwhile work, get off welfare--each of us can make our life better if we try, and the color of our skin doesn't limit that. We have countless examples.
Darren Wilson, new bride and all, is a doomed man. He will live with this episode--probably nowhere near St. Louis--the rest of his life. It will follow him, tarnish his reputation, limit his future options.
There is no justice, and once again I pray for America, land that I love. Can you tell I'm still trying to figure out how to interpret this?


Anonymous said...

"Darren Wilson probably feared for his life--but he was the one with a gun and with police training and, supposedly, discipline. He blew it"
You agree he feared for his life, ok. He had a gun: some people are under the assumption that when pointing a gun at a person that person will automatically give up; hardly, that's how homeowners get killed with their own guns, they use the gun as a tool to scare someone but when the perpetrator attacks, they are unable to react properly and end up dead. One who carries a gun or owns a gun must be mentally ready to pull that trigger when the time comes.
The training you spoke about gives the officer the confidence and sound judgment to make a life and death situation in a nanosecond. His life was threaten and the only possible outcome would be the suspect’s death or the officer’s death. The good guy went home to his family.
Now, about that training. What training could he possibly could have had that could have led to a different outcome? This is not the movies where suspects go down with a single punch or some karate chop. I have heard many calls for better "training" or more “education” or other words that are often used in sound bites, but the bottom line, not a single person has come forth to give an alternative action in a case where you have a 6'4 275 pound assailant wanting to kill you or cause you grave harm.
Blew it? If he would have "blown it" like you said Mrs. Alter the officer would be dead. Maybe an officer can let the suspect get a free shot before he/she may respond? Maybe that would be what would make some police detractors happy: dead cops.

Judy Alter said...

I published this comment in the spirit of fairness, though I don't think it is helpful toward solving the problem. Perhaps my comments weren't either--opinions have changed on reflection. That was written in the heat of the moment, always a bad idea.
I do think such opinions lose force when the writer doesn't identify himself or herself.