All of us are saddened by what has happened in Ferguson, Missouri. There are no winners on any side of these events. Rioting, destroying property, hurting others is wrong. It is not only wrong, it is stupid. It is also wrong to continue to ignore the hurts of others. Part of the problem is that I (being white) only see this as an incident. African Americans, see this not as an incident but about a system.
Violence is never acceptable. I feel for people who have been hurt in the violence. For small businesses that have lost so much, just because of their location. For lives displaced. For the stain and scar left on Ferguson. And it is certainly wrong for a step-father to say to an angry crowd, “Burn the place down.” There will always be the thugs in the middle of all troubles.
I feel for the young man’s family who was shot. It is never easy to lose a child no matter the circumstances. All of us know that we have a double standard in society. I believe it is changing, but much to slowly for people of color. It shouldn’t, but it does make a difference as to skin color. As Christians we have to work at changing this world and stop the racism. The years of not dealing with it, have to end.
I feel for the officer because his life will never be the same. Even though charges will not be filed, he will have difficulty making a career of being a police officer. He, even though he is innocent, will be a lightening rod. He will probably be sued for “wrongful death.” He will be looked upon as racist, even when he may never have been a racist. He becomes a Cain.
It sticks in my mind that the decision of the Grand Jury was unanimous. Even three people of color voted not to charge the officer. Many were outraged that the past of the young man was looked into. “It should have only been about the shooting,”they say. The past influences me! This happened because he was involved in a robbery. This happened because the young man had a police record. This happened because the young man showed violence. Regardless of a person’s skin color, we always judge a person on what they have a history of doing.
What would have been Jesus’ words, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12).” It remains for the Christian that you and I are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.