I interrupt the count down to my upcoming book to provide commentary about the happenings in a Missouri town called Ferguson.
Last summer, Michael Brown was shot several times by police officer, Darren Wilson. Yesterday, after months of investigation by a Grand Jury, the decision was: no indictment of Officer Wilson. In other words, a group of Ferguson citizens decided that Darren Wilson did not commit a crime during the encounter with Michael Brown last summer.
At the announcement of this decision, some citizens of Ferguson erupted in anger. This anger was evident in acts of violence, looting, and destroying businesses and the livelihood of many Ferguson residents.
Despite the very detailed list of evidence that was presented, there are many who believe the American justice system is broken and unfair. That may be the case in general, but I don’t believe it is true in this case.
Officer Wilson is a man with white skin. Michael Brown was a young man with black skin. Somehow these facts compound the unfairness in the minds of people in Ferguson.
What if officer Wilson was black? What if Michael Brown was white? Would those facts change the Grand Jury findings? I’ll let you consider the answer. The answer MATTERS.
The people of Ferguson who looted businesses, lit fires, and acted violently after the Grand Jury decision are asking the rest of us to accept that Michael Brown did no wrong last summer, and that their behavior is justified. They are asking us to believe that Michael Brown had a different mindset than they themselves have.
I don’t believe it. The acts of the protesters is proof to me that Michael Brown was very likely prone to act in the same manner. The protesters see an injustice, and they act out in violence. Michael Brown saw a white police officer meting out injustice, and he acted in violence.
I don’t believe that either case is an injustice. Michael Brown was a criminal. Officer Wilson was justified defending himself against clear and present danger.
Everything would be different if Michael Brown made a different choice on the day he died. He shoplifted, he resisted arrest, he assaulted a police officer. His final act was to resist arrest a second time.
Michael Brown had not acted in a way that would empower his life or his circumstance. His choices determined his destiny.
The protestors have not acted in a way that will empower their community or the citizens of Ferguson. Their choices have determined the destiny of many.
Everyone can be empowered no matter what challenges they face, and no matter what their circumstances. Personal choice is either EMPOWERING, or leaves you POWERLESS.
What will YOUR choice be?