I have watched with indifference the events transpiring in Ferguson, MO. Not that they aren’t important it is just easier that way. I have never been to Ferguson, MO that I am aware of. I have been to St Louise a few times in my life. I have taken one of my kids to the airport to fly to my parents from St Louis. I have been to East St Louis, IL. I have been more than a little worried when driving through that suburb of St Louis, MO and so in my eye that is what Ferguson, MO is like.
I really didn’t expect the outcome from the Grand Jury to be different than it was. I actually hoped that it would be the way it turned out. I truly wish that the mountain of a man that was Michael Brown was still alive. It is a tragedy that his has died. I am sad for his mother and father; no one should have to bury their children. I wish them the best of feelings. I hope that they can find comfort in their lose.
I am tired of the political societal twist that comes with each news cycle. The sensational headlines nauseate me. I am not willing to call Michael Brown a teenager, by all measures of legality and stature he is a man, a troubled, immature, and defiant man. A man that committed, not allegedly committed, but committed assault and robbery; I have seen the video. That assault and robbery are undisputed facts, those are not teenager crimes, those are adult-man/women crimes. Do me a favor and quit calling him a teenager.
We try and convict hundreds if not thousands and tens of thousands of teenagers each year as adults because the crimes they commit are adult crimes. We don’t’ belabor their age. We don’t try to create sympathy or angst for them by constantly calling them teenagers. We don’t do that because we know that they really are adults and the fact that they are something less than 21 or any other number representing age doesn’t’ alleviate the fact that they are adults knowingly and willingly committing adult crimes.
I don’t blame society or a white police force for the death of Michael Brown. I don’t even think that Michael Brown deserves all of the blame for his death. There are plenty of reasons and excuses to go around. That Michael Brown is dead isn’t going to be changed by anything any of us can do. Maybe the best we can hope for is that all of us, black, white, yellow, red, or brown, can learn something from his death.
Maybe we can learn that actions have consequences. We can all see the consequences of Michael’s actions on the news each night. We know what the consequences are for Michael Brown and for Darren Wilson the consequences are still unfolding. I know that there are lots of people out there being the “Monday Morning Quarterback”; looking at the confrontation and saying what should have and shouldn’t have happened. It is easy for us to sit in the comfort of our homes or the riots of the street and argue about what “I” would do in that situation. I hope that we all realize that if we were in that situation with the split-second decisions to be made our own cultural biases were we in either role, Michael or Darren, our decisions might not have been any better or worse.
Your perspective is likely different than mine. My perspective is tainted by growing up in snow white State of Wyoming. I never saw a real live black man up close until I was 12 or 13 in a basketball game against in team from Rock Springs. I distinctly remember feeling like on of the little boys in the bunk house with Jebediah Nightlinger in the scene from the John Wayne movie, The Cowboys. I was raised to respect authority and not to talk back to those in authority. Even when I didn’t agree or didn’t like the choices that were presented and made I mostly kept my mouth shut and only muttered under my breath about how stupid that decision was.
I knew then as I know now that there are consequences to the decisions we make. Some consequences are immediate others take time to develop and become apparent. I often thought about those consequences over my life. I have looked at my career and my family and have realized that there are certain decisions that have changed the course of my life and my history. Some of those decisions are easily identified, if I had listened to my wife in the Spring of 1986 and kicked the US Navy Recruiters out of my house the first time then I would not be where I am at this very moment. Didn’t do that and I can see the path and course of my life because of that.
I am sure that in the months to come those in Michael Brown’s life will have the quiet moments to ponder and reflect things in their lives with Michael that might have changed his courses. Things that might have impacted his decisions on the last day of his life, the last hour of his life; things that would have changed the way he acted and reacted; things that would have changed those events and likely would have changed whether he lived or died.
I read the following headline today:
Darren Wilson: ‘No way’ Michael Brown had his hands up during shooting
I was reminded that what we see is often not always what others see. As a boy we lived about 200 meters (yards) from the main buildings of our little farm. There was a dog that was chasing our horses in the field about 500 meters (yards) from the buildings. The dog was likely to continue to do this and would have eventually caused one of the horses to become tangled in the barbed wire surrounding the field. The only solution was to remove the dog.
My dad got one of his hunting rifles and drove his little truck down in the field. The dog continued to chase the horses and ignored him. Dad finally honked the truck horn and the dog stopped and looked at him. Dad leaned over the truck hood with his rifle and shot the dog.
Now from our perspective some 500-600 meters away it looked like the dog ducked. You see, the speed of light is faster than the speed of sound. We saw the dog drop nearly instantaneously, the bullet left the barrel at nearly 4000 feet per second but the sound travels at 1125 feet per second (343 meters per second). That delay in the sound reaching us was long enough for us to say that the dog ducked. It was my first lesson in the difference between speeds of light and sound.
When I hear people say that Michael Brown had his hands up I wonder if it was actually the difference in how far away they were from the actual event. Were they far enough away that the sound of the first shot, had already had its deadly effect? His hands flew forward and up as he was falling to the ground, already dead. I think about how many bullet holes were found in the autopsy and where they were and I see a man falling forward as an officer fires several times, way more than the one that was needed but not likely more than I would have squeezed off if that mountain of a man were coming towards me after already punching me and trying to take my gun.
Hey, what do I know; some days I am glad I didn’t kick the recruiters out of the house.