Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thoughts #15 - Rhetoric

Social media has been filled with some strong rhetoric and images the last 24 hours.  I've read things that I wish I hadn't read.  I've seen things that I wish I didn't see.  Living in Australia, I don't see all American news stories covered in the same way.  But, I read American news daily.  I believe that our news' sources can shape our thoughts about certain stories, so I try to read several different sources and points of view when stories of interest surface. 

From what I've read and seen, I think the death of Michael Brown could've been prevented by both Brown and Officer Wilson. Brown acted aggressively towards the officer. He definitely shouldn't have done that. When an officer gives instruction, you do what he/she says, whether you agree or not. And, you definitely don't act in a way that can be interpreted as reaching for the officer's weapon.
Did the officer over-react? I think there's argument that he did. I think six shots were unnecessary.
But it doesn't matter what I think. It was up to the grand jury. They made a decision. If the citizens of Ferguson want to protest that decision, that is their right, and I support it. However, I do not support looting, vandalism, setting fires, or further violence. I know we don't live in an ideal world, but I'd like to see us learn, grow, and evolve when such incidents take place. I don't think further destruction helps that cause.

Those are my thoughts, but I'd like to share the thoughts of someone else.    I had the pleasure of working with Danny for a few years. He is a hard-working, easy-going, father, husband, and friend. He is a black man who grew up in Houston, Texas, the fourth largest city in the USA.  Danny posted these words on facebook a few hours after the Ferguson announcement.  His words were thoughtful, heartfelt, and eloquent. They are worth sharing and thoughtfully reading. Read, and think. (But, please, do not use my space as a place to disrespectfully debate).
From Danny: "Today, we as a culture are dealing with centuries of negative mental programming and a culture of lack and inferiority that we are just now beginning to shed. We need to work toward the ultimate goal of unity and growth (spiritual,mental, and economic) if we ever want to move past where we've been. We got close during the civil rights movement, but were derailed by the efforts of those who hated us for no plausible reason other than heritage.
We have to do better and teach our children better if we want better. We cant loot liquor stores in our community because of civil injustice. If we're not happy with what's going on, we need to be effective not only.with our words, but with our actions. I just can't deal with some of these images I see. It makes it hard for those who can articulate the real problems to maintain any credibility when it's a stark contrast to the actions some display. Looting is not protesting. It's just that simple."
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