Tuesday, November 25, 2014

One White Girl's Opinion on Ferguson

I get riled up.  I get upset.  And I probably should not put pen to paper (er...fingers to keyboard) but this time I can't seem to stop myself.

I am white.  I am a woman.  I have no idea what it is like to be a black man in this country.

I am white.  I am a woman.  I work in the pharmaceutical industry.  I have no idea what it is like to be a police officer in this country.

I have tried to put my own mind in the minds of Michael Brown and Darren Wilson.  I've honestly tried to look at the situation from each of their viewpoints. Please hear out my thoughts.

I am a young black man...recently having turned 18.  I just graduated high school 8 days ago.  I am young.  I am invincible, as most youths are.  Nothing or no one can hurt me, I am immortal, as most youths feel.  I'm with my friend and we're acting young, stupid, and careless.  We rob a convenience store of a box of cigarillos; perhaps to smoke and celebrate our new freedom...no more school...finally 18...let's celebrate.  We get away with the robbery and we're walking in the middle of the street.  A cop pulls up and tells us to get on the sidewalk.  I mouth off.  I'm tough.  I'm cool. I'm not afraid of no cop.  The cop is verbally abusive. I'm 6'4" and almost 300 pounds. It's daylight and there are people all around...he's not going to hurt me.  I confront him and put my arms in his car, scare him a little, and turn and walk off...

I am a young white cop.  I previously worked in one of the highest crime areas of Missouri.  There was so much conflict between white officers and black residents that the police department was shut down.  I was moved to the Ferguson police department.  Crime in this area was lower, "average" even. But there was still the tension between white officers and black residents.  In addition, as a cop, I am always suspecting and expecting the worst in people; it's the nature of the business.  It's how I stay alive.  This day I run across two teenagers stupidly walking down the middle of a road.  I tell them to get on the sidewalk.  They have the nerve to get mouthy with me.  I am the law.  What are they thinking?  I then hear a robbery report on my radio and the description fits that of these two boys.  I pull alongside them and curse at them to let them know I'm not kidding around.  One of the boys reaches inside my police car.  He's tall...the same height as me...and he has about 80 pounds on me.  He's a suspect in a robbery.  He's reaching inside a police car and blocking me from getting out...

I am a white woman.  What Michael Brown did was just plain stupid.  Who disrespects an officer of the law? Who disrespects someone you KNOW has a gun and the authority to use it.  Hell...forget the gun...a person who has the ability to put me in jail! I've just stolen from a convenience store!

Did Michael deserve to be killed?   NO ONE deserves that.  I am not justifying his death.  In a perfect world, if Darren Wilson really felt he was in danger, he should have shot to wound Michael and not to kill.  But Michael Brown should never have stolen from the store, disobeyed the officer who told him to get out of the street, or put his hand(s) in the police car.

Now.  What of the riots?  I completely understand WHY people are worked up over this.  A young boy is dead.  It's horrible.  It's sad.  It's wrong.  NO ONE deserves to die.  It is a fact that there is much tension between the white police and the black residents; something needs to be done about that.  Demonstrate.  Voice your concerns.  Scream out your pain.  Let your thoughts be heard!  But why are you being violent??  Why are you setting fires to your own community?  Why are you looting your local businesses? What in the world is that going to solve???  In all honesty...this behavior is making police even more afraid of what could happen to them on the job.  It's making tension worse.  And for God's sake it's not helping anything!!!!  My mind is blown.  I feel your pain...I do.  But these actions are dumbfounding.  I have no words to express my complete lack of understanding.  And as I type this, one of the latest headlines is "More Troops Deployed In Ferguson To Guard Against Fresh Riots".  Seriously.

I don't know what more to say.  I don't care if you are black or white or male or female or young or old or a policeman or a pharmacy tech.  This is wrong.  This is not helping.  This is wrong.

*These are just my opinions.  We are all entitled to those.  I'm not trying to start a debate or be hateful.  I'm protesting in my own non-violent way.  Please respect that.*

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."  ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

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