After teen’s shooting, Ferguson rocked by protests, opportunists

Ferguson map

Ferguson, Missouri (mapquest)

The small community of Ferguson, Missouri has been hit by protests and some opportunists in the wake of the killing of a young man, Michael Brown, by a city police officer. Reportage on the shooting blankets the U.S. at present.

We might not know about Brown’s death if he wasn’t black and the officer who shot him wasn’t allegedly white. The case is another above-the-fold story purely because of skin color.

Few facts about the case are being released. Brown’s friend has given his account to media, claiming the two of them were walking in the street when a policeman pulled alongside them and told them to “Get the f*** on the sidewalk.”

It all went downhill from there, although the witness-friend did say they told the officer they were “not but a minute away from our destination, and we would shortly be out of the street.”

In the aftermath of the shooting, protests were launched, and looting and vandalism were widespread. Opportunists like Al Sharpton showed up, and served little in the way of peace. The business owners who were looted in the area paid a price for something they played no part in.

Ferguson is a small town, with a population of approximately 21,000. The black population is more than double the number of white residents, yet the city police force has only 3 black policeman of 53 total.

Should race make a difference when it comes to upholding law? If America is truly a melting pot, why do conflicts and politics often revolve around the superficial and politicized element of skin color?

How much outside influence led to the violence that followed Brown’s shooting? There’s even a rally organized by a group on Facebook claiming affiliation with Anonymous—it’s being held in Phoenix, Arizona. The same group advocates for open borders, not realizing perhaps that we already have that in the U.S.

How many looters came to Ferguson, not because they really cared about the dead teen, but because they saw a chance for grabbing stuff?

At present, local officials refuse to name the policeman who shot Brown. Some witnesses, according to CNN, said the officer was a white male.

Ferguson mayor James Knowles has appealed for calm, and on the city government website, he said, “The St. Louis County Police Department is conducting an independent investigation of the events. We will provide further information as the investigation continues.” Officials have called for protests only during daylight hours.

President Barack Obama asked for calm as he did after the U.S. Dept. of Justice helped organize protests after a man who self-identified as hispanic shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Florida.

Whether political opportunists will attempt to use Brown’s death as they did Martin’s remains to be seen, although elections in November could lead politicians to magnify controversies as they have done in the past in hopes of increasing turnout.

Meanwhile, in Tucson after an officer stopped an illegal alien, protesters assembled allegedly via social media messaging in an attempt to obstruct federal officers from taking the alien into custody. National media paid little attention to that incident, although it is a troubling example of the breakdown of civil order in part due to open borders.

Are protests like those in Ferguson and in Tucson influenced by outsiders with an agenda that isn’t ethical? Of course they are.

A young man lies dead. He was supposed to start college this week. His skin color doesn’t matter.

What does matter? The facts of his case, including why the officer applied deadly force.  Looting and vandalism disrespect the dead and advance no one’s thinking. Hopefully if the federal government intervenes, officials will take a very hard look at who helped organize the looting and the possible involvement of criminals in the same.

And above all, as facts emerge, we should remember that a young man was killed in circumstances that warrant an objective and ethical investigation. Additional protests will serve no one’s purpose other than that of opportunists and politicians.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/August 14, 2014)

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About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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