Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Questions about Ferguson

                Many questions remain more than a week after Michael Brown, a black eighteen-year-old man, was shot by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.  The altercation between the young adult and the policeman began with the cop telling the young man and his friend to get out of the street and stop obstructing traffic.  Apparently, the two young black men disobeyed the police order, but the details of the shooting remain unclear due to the fact that witnesses are telling conflicting stories.  Some are saying that Brown attacked the officer while others are saying he was walking away with his hands in the air just before being shot.

                The next day violence erupted in the city and continued for over a week.  Stores were looted, a gas station was torched, and shots were fired at police.  By the end of the week, another person was dead and seven people arrested for violence.  The mayor of Ferguson asked the police department of St. Louis to investigate the shooting but have since turned over control of the town to the state troopers and the FBI due to the rioting.  Jay Nixon, the governor of Missouri, put the city under curfew.     
                The police took almost a week to release the name of the white cop that shot the black teenager.  This caused frustration among the majority black community.  The Ferguson police department released a raw video from a nearby store showing Michael Brown strong-arming the clerk and stealing some cigars.  This caused further rioting in the community and brought criticism from the governor.  Now another video has been posted to YouTube claiming to show the scene of the shooting.  There is a conversation in the background of the video with someone suggesting that Brown may have rushed the officer, who then shot him in self-defense.  What would you do if a person weighing 200 plus pounds charged you?  Would you defend yourself if you had a gun?

                Hopefully, the on-going investigation will answer the questions concerning why the shooting took place; however, there are greater questions that must be answered if we are to solve the race problems in our nation.  Among those questions are these:  (1) Are police and other authorities persecuting black people or are they acting because of the behavior of black people?  (Did the policeman shoot Michael because he was black or because he was attacking the cop?)  (2) Why do black people riot because one black person gets shot by a white person but ignore the many black-on-black deaths every single day?  (3) Why do black people believe they have the right to riot and destroy the property of other people for any reason?  What is it about blacks that they began to act like animals when they get upset rather than act like human beings?  When was the last time you saw a riot of white people, Asians, Mexicans, etc.  (4) Are the riots caused by community organizers and other “leaders”?

                A black pastor apparently wants the answers to these questions also.  Pastor Jonathan Gentry recently gave some candid commentary about the riots in Ferguson as well the behavior of black people in other places and under other circumstances.  He posted a video that went viral; in his video rant the pastor called out blacks, particularly civil rights leaders like the NAACP, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the Black Panthers, for urging on the rioters.  He said “change is not going to happen until WE change….”  He explained that he is a young black man with a nice car who has frequent interactions with police but never had any trouble from the police.

                This pastor will probably be called an “Uncle Tom” or an “Oreo” or some other name, but he is right.  Rioting and destroying private or government property is not the answer to the race problems in our nation.  There must be change. 

                Kareem Abdul-Jabbar believes the race wars are not about race but are class warfare caused by the 1% holding down the rest of us.  He believes that the protests in Ferguson are “justified” and that “we need more protests across the country.”  “What will it take to mobilize 4 million students in peaceful protest?  Because that’s what it will take to evoke actual change.  The middle class has to join the poor and whites have to join African-Americans in mass demonstrations, in ousting corrupt politicians, in boycotting exploitative businesses, in passing legislation that promotes economic equality and opportunity, and in punishing those who gamble with our financial future.
                “Otherwise, all we’re going to get is what we got out of Ferguson:  a bunch of politicians and celebrities expressing sympathy and outrage….”

                I too believe that we must all work together to solve the problems in our nation.  I believe the key is work rather than redistribution of wealth.  I believe we must all work and make the effort to take care of ourselves and our families the best we can and then helping our more unfortunate neighbors.  I believe that we must stop allowing ourselves to be divided by class, race, religion, or whatever and act as united Americans.  We must all act like human beings and treat each other with respect, understanding that respect must go both ways.  Blacks cannot demand more respect from others without returning respect, and no one is respected when they act like animals instead of people.  Whites must understand that all human beings are equal in the sight of God and deserve to be treated with respect.  We must call out all those people and organizations who continue to agitate and cause problems between the races and elect honest and upright politicians.  We must realize that we are all children of a loving Father in Heaven who desires that all of His children learn to live together in love and respect.

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