Ferguson violence as much about Sharpton – Shabazz as it is Brown – Wilson

August 20, 2014
By

One hundred years ago this summer one man in Sarajevo fired two shots that set in motion a series of events that would leave over 16 million dead, accomplish nothing except a piece of paper that set in motion the next series of events that would kill another 60 million less than two decades later and lead to a half century of “Cold War” after that.

In Ferguson, Missouri today, a 21st century version of a “series of events” is playing out before our very eyes as one misguided event after another has delivered up nightly violence and war zone images broadcast right from the middle of middle America.

What started as Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson fatally shooting 18 year old Michael Brown has spiraled into a storm of violence and hate far removed from the event itself.

With much of the narrative morphing into the easy coverage of the “militarization” of local police departments and reporter wannabe twitter diaries of “woe is us” a recap of the days immediately post shooting provides some now all too ignored perspective.

Less than 24 hours after the death of their son, the parents of Brown retain the services of Trayvon Martin fame attorney Benjamin Crump. (Absolutely their right but also foretelling of the escalation to come)  Later that night a candlelight vigil meant to honor Brown spins off into violence that left local businesses looted, a Quik Trip burned and two police officers injured.

By Monday morning protesters outside the Ferguson Police Department demand “justice” for Brown and the FBI inserts itself by announcing a parallel investigation.  That same day,  The New Yorker publishes a narrative of an angelic young man gunned down by a cold blooded killer cop: “Michael Brown didn’t die in the dark. He was eighteen years old, walking down a street in Ferguson, Missouri, from his apartment to his grandmother’s, at 2:15 on a bright Saturday afternoon………Brown, who was described as gentle, committed to sports and to his friends, working hard to make up classes when he fell behind, and excited about starting college. All of this added to the anger;…”.

And thus the flames were fanned.

By Tuesday, professional race rouser Al Sharpton came to town, the leader of the New Black Panther party Malik Zulu Shabazz followed shortly and by Saturday Shabazz was leading a crowd that included chants of “Who do we want?”….”Darren Wilson”……”How do we want him?”……..”dead”.

All the pleas for peace and non-violence by Michael Brown’s own family are now drowned out by the megaphones of the megalomaniacs lining their pockets with the profits of division and demonization.

Did the Ferguson police department inflame tensions by putting a sniper sitting atop a military surplus MRAP with rifle pointing directly into the crowd?  Absolutely  Was Governor Jay Nixon asleep at the switch?  That’s an understatment. Would changing either of those result in a different outcome today?  Probably not.

Why?  Because what started as a terrible tragedy in need of answers all too quickly became a travesty of reason run by outside agitators. (It is worth noting that the violence has continued with and without a curfew, with and without a strong law enforcement presence.)

Whoever the real Michael Brown turns out to be – angel, strong-arm robber or someone in between –  his death deserves a fair and thorough investigation; not night after night of looting and violence in the name of some warped sense of “social justice”.

Is there an end in sight?  Yes. But it certainly won’t come until the likes of Shabazz and Sharpton leave town.

Publisher’s Note:  A version of this column first appeared in the August 20th, 2014 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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One Response to Ferguson violence as much about Sharpton – Shabazz as it is Brown – Wilson

  1. Steve Roark
    August 23, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Well written.

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