All the voices in my head seem to be having some endless committee meeting about their press statement regarding the events in Ferguson, and so far nothing coherent has come out of the conference room. So I’m sending in more coffee, and in the meantime I’m going to present the different pieces that have caught my attention and hope that someone else can put the puzzle together.
What actually happened on August 9, 2014? Did Michael Brown surrender or was he charging Darren Wilson? Did Michael Brown rob the convenience store or not, and does it matter? Would the same thing have happened if Michael Brown was white? I have to say I personally believe that no child (or adult for that matter) should be gunned down in the street, and I believe that Darren Wilson overreacted, but since I’ve never been a cop, I’ve never held a gun, I don’t know how I would react in the same situation – either as shooter or victim. Was it all about race? I don’t know. Was it about power? I’m suspect it was. What I do know is that almost every media outlet has reported an exaggerated, extreme version of events with little regard for the whole truth.
Pharrell Williams, during a CNN interview on 9/11/2014: “There are good policemen and there are bad policemen, there are good kids and there are bad kids. I am disappointed with so much peaceful protesting going on, what the media chose to cover most of all and highlight was the random few people that threw Molotov cocktails.”
Two quotes from Mark Twain that apply, and let’s face it, there’s always a Twain quote that applies:
- “Truth is mighty and will prevail. There is nothing the matter with this, except that it ain’t so.”
- “A lie can run around the world six times while the truth is still trying to put on its pants.” (I also like the Terry Pratchett version of this quote – go look it up and enjoy…)
What does the country think? Read the comments from any article on the shooting of Michael Brown and the events that followed, and you will find a huge split down the middle. Along color lines? For the most part, but it’s hard to tell from the cartoon icons and overblown language. What’s equally as distressing as the divisiveness, is that calls for tolerance have drawn almost no response. On the Huffington Post website, every article about the shooting or the riots has hundreds, literally, of comments. Some have over a thousand. Orlando Jones’ challenge to himself to “listen with an open mind” and “reverse the hate” drew 91. Ninety one!
Michael Jackson said “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.” Me: I’m starting with the white, middle aged, suburban mom in the mirror. Hedy Epstein, a 90 year old holocaust survivor, was arrested during the protests for blocking the entrance to a federal building. Yes, it was a peaceful protest. Yes, she was blocking a federal building which is a federal crime. Yes, she did it deliberately to draw attention to the situation unfolding in Ferguson. Good for her. Next time I hope I’ll have the courage to stand next to her.