#FergusonDecision Blaming the Victims

Had Michael Brown not believed that he had the right to "strong arm" a shop owner from his own small community he might be alive today.

It was determined this officer was justified in this incident yet he'll never work as a cop again, he will have to move if not hide the rest of his life for doing his job !!!

And so it begins, the collective efforts to make sense out of Ferguson. As a professional social media manager, working to help the underserved and who has conservative friends, I had a pretty good idea about what would happen once the verdict was announce, and I chose to go to bed at 8:30 Monday evening. There would be time enough to hash things out later. So, now, it is time for me, like everyone else, to add my voice.

And so it begins, the predictable responses of blaming the victim and defending the victim. Michael Brown was the victim of the shooting, yet if he hadn’t been out that night, he wouldn’t have been shot. Would he have been shot if he were white? Would he have acted the way he did if it wasn’t for the way he was brought up? How much of this upbringing is the result of racial tensions that grew out of policies about segregation that dated back to before the Civil War?

From the Gateway Arch, the Dred Scott Case, to Torrington, CT’s John Brown participating in “Bleeding Kansas”, St. Louis and the surrounding area has been a key racial fault line for generations. Yes, Michael Brown was a victim, not only of a shooting, but of our history.

As one of my friends above notes, Daren Wilson is also a victim. His life is forever scarred. He probably never will work again as a police officer. He was a victim of the same racial tensions dating back over a century. If he hadn’t been out that night or had worked in a different place, he wouldn’t have killed Michael Brown. If he had had better training, perhaps he wouldn’t have killed Michael Brown. If there weren’t years of racial tension affecting how he saw the situation, perhaps he wouldn’t have killed Michael Brown.

Beyond this, we can look at the shop owners as also victims. Yes, they set up their businesses on this racial fault line, and they have had their livelihoods shaken, damaged, and in some cases destroyed.

In fact, John Donne’s words apply.

Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

We are all the victim of Ferguson and we are all to blame. We have not done enough to address racial tensions in our country. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.

At the end of Romeo and Juliet the Prince says

See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate,
That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love.
And I for winking at your discords too
Have lost a brace of kinsmen: all are punish'd...

A glooming peace this morning with it brings;
The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head:
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;
Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished:
For never was a story of more woe
Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

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