America is drowning under a racial divide. Some people are shouting “racism” while others shout “reverse racism.” Although this is an ongoing ordeal, it has come back to the forefront of the national conversation as a result of the police shooting of Michael Brown and the riots that took place when a grand jury decided not to indict the officer that shot the unarmed black man.
Brown’s autopsy showed that he was shot from a distance, and that he was shot in the hand at close range.
The officer, who was attempting to arrest Brown for his alleged involvement in a robbery, says there was a struggle for his weapon near his vehicle and that’s when Brown was shot in the hand. He said the shot that killed Brown occurred when he supposedly charged at the officer.
There are two sides to every story, and it’s always hard in these exceptionally difficult situations to deal with the fact that only one side can be told because the other person is dead.
While the grand jury has already spoken, it has led to a fiercer public opinion of the state of race and police in America.
Cars burn at the Auto Buy Credit dealership at 10250 W. Florissant in Dellwood, Missouri., on Nov. 24, 2014. Protesters took to the streets, erupting in mass looting and confrontation with riot police throughout the night, after a grand jury did not indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. (D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group/TNS)
The announcement that the police officer would not be charged led to a fiery, albeit predictable, riot in Missouri, and other places around the country, including Oakland and San Francisco.
Some business owners in Ferguson, Missouri, took the preemptive action of boarding up their businesses, but it didn’t help much. Many businesses were burned to the ground, taking the financial livelihood of many innocent shop owners with them.
“We can’t let all that happened in Ferguson and Dellwood and the community die. Everyone who is responsible for taking away people’s property, their livelihoods, their jobs, their businesses – every single one of them needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told CNN.
While the right to protest injustices is vital to our nation, mindless violence and destruction in the form of riots is purposeless.
Rioting causes the public to lose focus on the issue people were protesting in the first place.
If you become the violent mob, you’re doing a disservice as you become the media focus instead of the important issue – in this case, race and the criminal justice system.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, one in three black men will go to prison in their lifetimes. That is an important fact that we should address as a nation. Rioting only lessens a valid argument in an otherwise rational conversation.
The talking heads of television news love drama and would much prefer to broadcast a sensational riot rather than ask the hard questions of why blacks are much more likely to see jail time than whites, or how to fix the poverty gap between blacks and whites.
Peaceful protesting is the only way we can effect change in our broken system. When protesting an issue turns violent, you make yourself the problem.