In Ferguson, Missouri, a Little Caesar’s, a locally owned store that provided local jobs to members of the black population, has been completely burned down; nothing is left. The people who worked there are now unemployed.
Rocks, bricks, bottles and tear gas canisters flew across the streets of that city this week. Police cruisers were set ablaze. A law office was burned.
A Walgreens drug store close by, another source of local jobs, was looted.
Protesting the St. Louis County Grand Jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for having fatally shot 18 -year -old Michael Brown in August, huge crowds gathered in New York City and in Oakland, California. In New York, some 2,000 people took to the streets of midtown Manhattan, marching down Broadway and through Times Square chanting, “Justice for Mike Brown.” The marchers, most of them young adults, spread over four blocks.
What’s this furor about?
The St. Louis County Grand Jury declined to indict police officer Darren Wilson, 28, for the August confrontation that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. A jury of nine whites and three blacks – empanelled months before they knew anything about the Ferguson shooting – met on over 25 separate days to decide the matter.
Those jurors were the first to hear, see, and read every last piece of evidence. That evidence has yet to be seen by the public. What we do know is:
- They listened to 70 hours of testimony from about 60 witnesses;
- The jurors were presented with five indictment options, ranging from first-degree murder to involuntary manslaughter;
- Three medical examiners testified;
- Three autopsies returned consistent results;
- Two shots were fired while Officer Wilson was in his police car;
- Brown’s body lay 153 feet east of Wilson’s car;
- There was less than 90 seconds between the first shot and the arrival of a second police car;
- Audio of the final 10 shots was captured on video.
The reaction from America’s default black leadership was predictable:
Rev. Jesse Jackson speaking at a news conference on Monday in Springfield Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina had has this to say on the topic of Ferguson:
“All we really want is justice, [the] issue is not riots, the issue is justice… it’s not uprising, it’s uplifting. We need to stop police rioting and killing… which is provocative and painful… there is a fear of retaliation. It would not be smart to retaliate with the violence… not because we are afraid, but because we are wise.”
Notice that in Jackson’s view of the matter it is the police who are rioting.
Rev. Al Sharpton was no better. He did not seem to think there was anything wrong with the Ferguson rioting by the black community, failing to mention it and restricting his comments to an attack on St. Louis District Attorney Bob McCulloch
” Last night the appearance by the district attorney made it clear to everyone why we had little faith in a state prosecution. I have been out involved in civil rights all my life. We have seen cases go ways that we felt were right and ways that we felt were wrong. I have never seen a prosecutor hold a press conference to discredit the victim. “
It should be noted that the entire case rested on the issue of whether in fact Michael Brown had presented a threat to the officer’s life . Characterizing Brown as a juvenile delinquent who had earlier in the evening robbed a convenience store and who had actually assaulted the officer was entirely relevant to the issue of Officer Wilson’s guilt or innocence.
In short, neither of the two most prominent black leaders in the country could bring themselves to outright condemn the rioting in Ferguson or elsewhere. In fact, by their silence, they seemed to condone it.
I have written extensively on the issue of the penchant of prominent black leaders to revert to the language of victimhood in the face of familial breakdown, high crime rates and lack of ambition within their communities.
But thankfully there are forthright black leaders who are not spinning on this very convenient victimhood treadmill.
Take Stacy Washington, a St. Louis resident who hosts a local radio talk show there:
“Now that we have a grand jury decision, may the process of healing begin in earnest. I truly hope for a refocus of protest energy towards reflection and away from blaming the police for the difficulties facing black Americans today. We must begin to look at improving ourselves instead of blaming groups of others for endemic problems that plague the black community. May God grant the Brown family peace and closure.”
Or my good friend, Joe Hicks, a former executive director or the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Los Angeles City Human Rights Commission who is now a conservative activist:
“From the inception — and despite the hyperbolic rhetoric from national black leaders, local protesters and political opportunists of all stripes — my position was that the facts and a thorough investigation would tell the story of what happened on that street between teenager Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson. Now that Officer Wilson’s actions have been deemed within the scope of a lawful police response to the dangerous actions of Mr. Brown, it’s now important to watch how the so-called black leadership responds. Will they irresponsibly reject the decision, along with the facts it revealed, and continue to claim that Brown was the murder victim of a racist white cop? To what extent will Ferguson protesters defy the orders of authorities for lawful behavior? We don’t need a replay of the violent, pathological riots we saw on the streets of that small suburb of St. Louis.”
“It amazes me that there are so many who dismissed the fact that Michael Brown robbed a convenience store and attacked a police officer prior to being killed. Once again, the black community largely turned a blind eye to the real issues affecting the very lives of our youths. Black-on-black crime is an epidemic and thousands of black children are brutally killed every year, yet we do not see the Al Sharptons or Jesse Jacksons protesting their deaths. The President doesn’t proclaim their lives would reflect the life of a son he never had. The black community needs to stop with the excuses and victimization and stop allowing antagonists to come into their communities to promote their own agendas.”
“Now that the grand jury has rendered a decision, people on both sides can now peacefully debate the result. The decision does not give anyone the right to engage in property destruction, physical assaults and general chaos if they don’t agree with that decision. The grand jury looked at all the evidence, and it surely did its best to render a judgment respectful of all parties. It is long past the time for those who might seek to use violence to achieve an outcome to decamp from Ferguson and allow the community to heal.”
Perhaps it is best summed up by Johnathan Gentry who wrote of the rioters on his Facebook page on Nov. 25, 2014:
“You showed absolutely no respect to Michael Brown, his family, your community, or yourself! But yet, you demand respect as a human being. His family asked for a “Peaceful” protest. Yet, you disregarded, dishonored & disrespected their wishes & burned down your own city anyway. It’s your own actions & behavior that’s keeping you bound, stuck & not getting ahead. Everything you stood for went down the drain last night by burning down your own community. That’s no ones fault but YOURS!! Your behavior confirmed everything .“Your iniquities have turned these blessings away, and your sins have kept good from you.” (Jeremiah 5:25)
His video below says it all:
It is time for men and women such as these, who respect the rule of law, who will not bow to a corrupt black leadership that uses any incident it can to out ” whitey” as a racist, bigoted savage, to now attain their place in the media as spokesmen for a new generation of black leaders. It is only with the encouragement of individuals such as these, providing leadership and inspiration, that the black community will emerge from their self inflicted cycle of violence and recrimination and join the rest of the population of the United States in responsible citizenship and communal achievement.