Ferguson Missouri has made national news this last week. Between the shooting of a young man (I refuse to call him a child), and the pursuant rioting, looting, and general mayhem the national and local news cannot seem to get enough. Arm chair pundits would like to place the blame on the feet of anyone whose skin color is lighter than that of the victim. White privilege they say is to blame for this mess. White people are to blame for the rioting and looting. Except it isn’t white people who are committing the crimes. It is our entire fault though; if only we hadn’t been born white then black people wouldn’t feel the need to break things, steal things, and burn down buildings. The shame of what is happening in Ferguson Missouri though has nothing to do with skin color and everything to do with entitlement. People who feel entitled to other people’s belongings without having to work for them are using the tragedy of a young man’s death to rob and pillage. Ads cropping up on Craigslist for items recently stolen now for sale tell the true story behind the kind of thugs that are now roaming the streets of Ferguson. The hard working folks who make up the town are being inundated with outsiders who were bussed in to stir up tensions, rob, burn, and break things. The police cannot handle the situation for fear that if they do their jobs the press will paint them in an unflattering light. It all comes down to racism though. White people are told that the shame falls at their feet.
News headlines “Teen Shot and Killed by Police” is used only to enrage the public and put shame on the police department. Would we feel the same anger if it said “Man shot and killed by police”, the teen that they are referring to is a 6’4″ eighteen year old. He was old enough to enlist in the military, to smoke, to move out of his parents’ house, in some things he would have been considered an adult but in his death he is seen as just a child shot and killed by the police.
This isn’t an article about whether the police officer was justified. The investigation is ongoing. The officer has been convicted of a wrong-doing in the eyes of public opinion. Eric Holder has requested a second autopsy for Mike Brown; apparently the Justice Department didn’t like the findings of the first autopsy. The article isn’t about justice for Mike Brown it is about a startling double standard by which we willingly live. A white man is shot in the back in Springfield Missouri and the officer is investigated and asked to resign from the police department. No rioting, no looting, no general mayhem. A black man is shot in Ferguson and a week later the city is still burning. Rioting, looting, and out of control mobs flood the streets. We make believe it is because Brown was a child, and he was a child someone’s son but he was also an adult legal to do most adult activities in all 50 states.
Is 27-year-old Eric Butts less important than 18-year-old Mike Brown? Butts survived his injuries but he was unarmed at the time of the shooting and will have to live the rest of his life with a colostomy bag. Where were the rioters after Butts shooting? Where were the demands for justice and the out crying of support? For that matter where is the outcry for justice when hundreds of black men, women, and children are viciously gunned down in Chicago, New York, California? When gangs kill innocent children in drive by shootings where are the protests, the rioting, and the looting? For that matter what does rioting and looting have to do with an innocent person being shot? What does QT have to do with an innocent(?) person being shot. The assumption is made that since Brown wasn’t carrying a firearm he must be an innocent bystander of an overzealous police officer. This isn’t an article about finding justice though it is an article about the sad double standard we are living in and who should feel shame in Ferguson.
Should the good people of Ferguson Missouri feel the shame? The people who daily have to clean up after the looting and rioting from the night before? Police reports state that the rioters arrested so far have been from out of town. There is no shame on the good people of Ferguson who have seen their town over run by hatred. The people, who own small businesses destroyed by these outsiders, should feel no shame it isn’t their fault at all. Should the white population of the United States feel shame? Is it a white person’s fault that rioters and looters are destroying this town? Absolutely not, unless and here is the kicker, unless the white person is doing the rioting and looting the shame isn’t on them. The shame isn’t on Ferguson. The shame falls all on the shoulders of the people who think that rioting and looting is a justifiable response to the death of another human being.