Looting. Rioting. Arson. Assault with Intent to Kill a Peace Officer.
These and many other things are occurring nightly in Ferguson, Missouri. I understand the desire for justice and how the reluctance of police to release everything they know as they know it can feed into our imagination’s need to fill-in-the-blanks with our own prejudices.
18 year old man, 6’4″, 300 lbs, lies dead in the street of multiple gun shot wounds. A police officer admits pulling the trigger and claims it was in self-defense. It just happens that the dead man is black and the police officer is white. A thorough crime scene investigation is conducted at the scene of the shooting and then the rumors begin (thanks to another 18 year old man who happened to be at the scene – more on him in a minute).
The white cop had it out for the black guy. Racism!
He executed him!
And that’s how the ball got rolling. Our imaginations are powerful things. When we don’t know the full story, we can imagine many plausible instances to fill-in-the-blanks of what we don’t know. This is how conspiracy theories begin.
I will admit that I understand the desire for justice. I want justice in every instance.
If the officer did in fact act wrongly – either by escalating a normal confrontation unnecessarily or by acting in malice, then he deserves to face a judge and jury. However, if the officer acted correctly in defense of his life against a larger, aggressive man bull-rushing him after fighting him moments earlier, then his use of lethal force to end a threat to his life is fully justified under the color of law. You see, more facts have come out since the initial few days that further complicate this situation for the deceased.
He was walking home after roughing up a shop clerk of a local convenience store after stealing a box of Swisher Sweets (thin cigars used to conceal marijuana and allow it to be smoked in public as “blunts” with plausible deniability). What began as shoplifting turned into robbery when he was confronted and physically assaulted the shop clerk. He then began walking home in the middle of the street, evidence of his crime in hand, with his accomplice (the aforementioned man above). They were acting in a manner that obstructed traffic and in a manner that could cause a traffic accident that would harm someone else or themselves by walking down the middle of the street.
While the officer involved had not yet heard of the robbery moments before, these two individuals had no way of knowing that. The deceased likely believed that he was about to be arrested for his crime. As a thoughtful person, consider that the deceased may have decided in that moment to resist arrest thinking himself larger and stronger and able to do to the smaller officer what he had down to the shop clerk moments before. That mindset could have been the primary cause of everything that then occurred culminating in the gunshots fired that ended the incident.
The situation has been used by race-baiters like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to further highlight their purported platforms and to keep themselves relevant in the eyes of the nation. The situation has been exacerbated by the national news media through endless reporting, speculation, and glamorization of violent acts through their broadcasts of such to the world. The situation has been used by anarchists, criminals, and looters in order to provide cover for their actions within Ferguson. Buildings have been burned to the ground. People have been shot. The police have suffered repeated assaults via bottles, rocks, molotov cocktails, and many other forms of abuse.
And the politicians, legal authorities, and law enforcement officers in charge have excused this behavior by saying that there are rifts in the community that have been exposed by this situation.
What? Let me explain.
I am not going to render judgment on the officer or the deceased actions and neither should anyone without all of the facts, yet the calls for justice have been used as an excuse for illegal, harmful behavior and that has highlighted the bigger problem that has been exposed in this instance.
What is white guilt? White guilt is the faulty belief that white people, regardless of their economic circumstances, have more privileges due to their skin color. This belief, paired with the equally race-based belief that black people have less privileges and are subject to greater fear, scrutiny, and suspicion in every instance when compared with someone with a paler skin tone, have led many to pardon the behavior of the protestors and rioters in Ferguson. Those beliefs though are far more insidious than that. These beliefs permeate the very fabric of society from race-preferential college selection, scholarships, government employment applications, and general societal attitudes toward African-Americans.
Are we so racist to believe that blacks cannot pull themselves up on their own? Are they inferior to whites or other skin tones because they happen to be a darker shade? Are we doing African-Americans any favors by saying that they only have to be 75% as good as whites in order to get a job or get into college? Are we promoting cultural evolution or are we segmenting that portion of the population and giving them an excuse to not improve by rewarding below-average behavior?
Were Italians given an excuse for mafia behavior in the early 20th century? They had just emigrated from Italy due to the Italian Civil War.
Were the Irish given an excuse for their drunkenness and brawling after having fled Ireland due to a terrible famine and centuries of British occupation?
I could go on and on asking the same question of every race, creed, and color of people that has come to the shores of America. Chinese? Japanese? Arabs? Vietnamese? Every type of person regardless of color, nationality, or religion has faced discrimination in these United States. We are not perfect, but we always are seeking to improve in order to forge a more perfect union. Until the press for affirmative action and the lowering of standards for blacks, the impetus to strive for better was there for that entire community, but in an effort to socially engineer full integration due to the falsehood that is white guilt our society has told the entire black community that they are not good enough or smart enough to “make it” without our help.
I will say it again – because of a perceived advantage by whites over blacks within our society, whites have had pity on blacks and lowered the standards that are expected of everyone else in order for this class of people because it’s supposedly impossible for them to do anything with their lives without a subsidized advantage.
That is racist and it must stop right this very minute or we will never kill and bury racism within our society.
The excuses that white America makes enables the behaviors that led to the rioting in Ferguson and it generates a standard below that which the average American is expected to meet.
Until we encourage a truly level playing field where all are equally expected to behave there will be no justice because the black community will not clean itself up. Without an incentive to do better, why should they?
It worked pretty damn well for the Irish-Americans, German-Americans, Italian-Americans, Greek-Americans, Hungarian-Americans, Polish-Americans, Chinese-Americans, Lebanese-Americans, Syrian-Americans, Korean-Americans, and Cuban-Americans. Every group faces prejudice and setbacks, but rose to the challenge presented by this country to contribute greatly and become part of the whole because our standards for them were not lowered. It is time to do the same and it should start in Ferguson.