I am a little (okay, very) alarmed by the Michael Brown case. The loss of life in any circumstance is intensely saddening, but the more perturbing aspect of this is certainly the aftermath. The media portrayal has sensationalized the story and placed a strong emphasis on the racial implications and allowed the already divisive nature of the topic itself to self-destruct. It has, as always, placed a dividing line between the American people. It happens time and time again; a tragedy happens, and where are we? Fighting each other and rioting in the streets are occurring instead of the rebuilding that could cleanse the nation as a whole. At this point we need it, in a time where a grand jury gets special consideration and Mr. Darren Wilson (who murdered someone, mind you) is getting paid exorbitant amounts of money to interview with news sites and has had over four hundred and thirty-two thousand dollars raised for his legal defense. This is is also someone that has stated on several occasions that he does not regret his actions and would not do it differently. The facts are shadowy and grainy in this case, but the devil-may-care attitude that Wilson possesses will do nothing but propel the aftermath into the stratosphere. It’s despairing to think that Michael Brown has lost his life and Wilson will essentially fade into obscurity after obtaining a minor celebrity status to people who stand behind his actions like some sort of badge of honor.
I suppose my biggest question here is how? How can we be expected to believe that this case should have been looked at as cut-and-dry when the grand jury was vastly different than anything that came before it? With over sixty witnesses providing testimony (there are generally no more than a few), the jury meeting for 25 days (cases are generally presented in one day), and Wilson testifying on his behalf for over four hours (does not generally happen at all), it is head-scratching to think about how this could possibly be considered as run-of-the-mill. It was anything but, and now we are left with the smoldering remains of yet another wasted opportunity to band together as a nation and prove that we are more than just a collection of strangers that live on the same streets as each other. It’s painful to think that there are people out there that actually started a fundraiser designed to create a billboard in Ferguson ridiculing one of the phrases that were used as a rallying cry during the protests supporting Brown. Over three thousand dollars were donated to this parody predicated by the idea that it was meant to oppose the violent outcries of protesters, which is quite clearly just a maligned attempt to create more division between the two “sides”.
Speaking of “sides”, the extremes on both ends are equally destructive. Twelve buildings have been set on fire, along with two police cars. The violence is dangerous and very real for all inhabitants of the town. The acts of destruction done in the name of young Michael Brown have done nothing but played into the hands of the people that have decried Brown from the beginning. What people need to be thinking about here is who stands to benefit from the way that this was handled. The county prosecutor released forensic reports and transcripts of the proceedings to the public, something that generally never happens. Mass pandemonium and an us versus them mentality have only created fodder for people to destroy everything in an unadulterated rage. Inarticulate, senseless rage instead of intelligent and caring discussion about how we stop this in the future. It is obvious that we need to take this tragedy and do something differently. Peaceful protesting and calling on the government to change how we as a people are able to monitor police forces would be nonviolent ways to ensure that this wouldn’t be able to happen again. What people are failing to understand is that it isn’t about the injustice that happened here. It has already occurred, and it occurred right in front of our eyes. The question that people should be asking themselves is how can we as a people ensure that this doesn’t happen again? How can we heal together from this and move on in a more unified manner? I urge you to think about this through a rational scope, because it doesn’t matter if you think that Wilson is guilty of wrongdoing or not; Brown could have been stopped without deadly force needing to be used. The man was unarmed on all accounts; the only thing he was armed with was squeaky clean record. Hatred is ugly and commonplace in the world that we live in; the best that we can all hope for is peacefully coming together to ensure that the world is less ugly when we leave it.