The hot topic of debate right now, is of course, the Ferguson trial. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’re probably living under a rock, but I’ll help you out anyways. Long story short, Police Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot 18 year old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9th of this year. Wilson says that he only fired his weapon because he felt as though his life was in imminent danger. These are the facts of the incident but, around that, controversy has grown. Many believe that the incident was due to racial profiling and discrimination on the part of the officer and that his life really was in danger. There were several “eyewitnesses,” however, their stories about what happened seemed to become significantly different as time went on, so their stories were discredited. I’m going to go out on a limb, as inspired by a friend on my Facebook feed, and state my opinion on the matter, which I know is completely insane.
In the past year, I have been out after midnight walking around a small-town area exactly three times that I can count. I am a white female. All three of those times, I was with my white male boyfriend. Two of those three times, cops stopped us to ask us what we were doing and if we needed any help. One of those times, the cop even asked us if we needed a ride home or anything because it was odd to see people out at night. When we insisted, he told us to stick to lighted paths and not to stray from the sidewalk so we did not get hit by a passing car. We did as he said and we were polite. Before I continue, I am not saying that racial profiling among police officers does not exist. Stop and Frisk in New York says more about that topic than I ever could, so I will leave it at that.
I was not there in Ferguson, Missouri on the night of the tragedy that resulted in the loss of Brown’s life. I cannot state what happened there. Analyzing the incident from the very beginning, I can say that the police officer had the right to say something to Brown and his friend. They were walking down the road, not the sidewalk. Sometimes, a police officer just wants to make sure you’re okay. You’re endangering yourselves and other driver’s on the road walking in the middle of it. Even if the officer said nothing about your well being and asked you to move to the sidewalk, he was still justified in doing that. I know that cars SHOULD see you and SHOULD move out of the way, but what if they don’t? Lives could be lost. That is not racial profiling, that’s a cop doing a cop’s job. There are several cases going on RIGHT NOW that supposedly involved racial profiling. Dillon Taylor was a white male that was fatally shot by a black male police officer. People are rallying to raise awareness about that murder in Utah saying that it was also a form of prejudice. I can find just as many articles with black on white crime, as I can black on black, white on white, or white or black crime. Crime is crime. Death is death. Yes, there are hate crimes still in this world. I don’t think that this was a hate crime. I think it was a terrible tragedy that we can never truly understand. Every time that a black life is lost, we cannot cry out that it is a hate crime. We, as a society, cannot trash innocent bystander’s shops and homes. Looting (stealing) and lighting fire to places of business is beyond asinine. Those people are innocent and can be proven innocent, but they are now losing their businesses and everything that they have worked so hard for. I understand that those people think that its fair because we are letting the cop get away with taking away an innocent man’s life, but the truth is, no one can prove that he was innocent. Brown did not have to have a weapon on him to invoke fear in a police officer that was much smaller than he. According to the Wilson, Brown came to the car and threw several punches, and he has pictures at the police station of his face completely swollen and bruised to accompany that accusation.
Let me put it this way. Say, my brother was the victim. He is also white, and he is younger than me, but very tall and generally large for his age. If he were killed in an altercation with a black police officer, I would want answers. I would be angry, but even then, I’d have to admit that my brother has the tendency to be angry without reason sometimes, and he doesn’t always react the way that he should. With all of the uproar about people being anti-police because all police are evil, I have no doubt that the thought would have had crossed his mind. I would have to admit the possibility that my brother could be wrong. That doesn’t take away my right to grieve at his loss, and to love him and miss him. That just means that maybe, had I been in the police officer’s shoes, I would have done the same. If there were bruises on the cops face, especially bruises as obvious as the one’s on Wilson’s face, I would have to at least come to the understanding that I wasn’t there, and that no matter what I do, I can’t bring my brother back.
Many of you will say that I’m only saying this because I am white and I have never experienced life as a black person. I don’t know. I don’t think some of my black friends have ever been jumped by five white people just because of their race. Right, that was me, being jumped by 5 black people. I don’t think that any of my black friends have ever been told that their opinion didn’t matter in the classroom, (in front of everyone) because everything that I said was only due to “white privilege” and then called a “white bitch” and told to just go home. That was me. Yet, I still hold out no resentment for the race as a whole. I just wait to judge character because, quite frankly, assholes come in every color of the rainbow. I don’t know the black struggle, and they don’t understand the struggles that I have had because I was white. Its that simple. Racism comes in every color too though.
Had I been serving on a jury, I probably would have voted in favor of the officer as well. There was enough evidence to entertain his alibi. For all I know, he was a racist asshole that sought Brown out and brutally murdered him, though I doubt that was the case. There was enough physical evidence in favor of his story, so he won. Case closed. Without extremely incriminating evidence, it is hard for a jury to determine the course of action that will affect someone’s entire life based on what the media says happened instead of the evidence right in front of their faces.
As a white person that completely supports the second amendment and intends to own at least one firearm for the sake of self defense, I fear that there may come a day that I am attacked by someone and I have to use that gun. I fear that the person will be black, because if they are, no matter what they did to me first, my life will be over and no one will believe me. That’s not okay.
Anyways, to wrap up this rant that has gone on for far too long already:
Stop hurting innocent people with riots and fires and looting in stores. No one is going to respect anything that you have to say when that’s the way that you say it. Take a few notes out of Dr. King’s book because he happened to get a lot done quite peacefully. If you want to eliminate racism, you have to give people a reason to want to listen to you. Showing them your primitive nature does not make you any better than the “killer” you think Wilson is.