By: Chris Zimmer – Columnist, Junior
Initially, I quite frankly didn’t care when I heard 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot by police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9, 2014. That sounds terrible, I know.
Yes, it was a sad story to read online and follow on TV, but I’m not a resident of the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, and I didn’t know Mike Brown.
The evidence was clear.
Even though Brown was described as a “gentle giant” who “didn’t cause trouble” by his teachers at Normandy High School, there is video evidence of him physically assaulting a convenience store clerk and stealing a box of cigarillos.
Needless to say, the details of what happened next – the confrontation between Officer Wilson and Brown – are sketchy. Wilson claims Brown prevented him from exiting his police cruiser. He told the grand jury and “Good Morning America” he “felt like a five-year-old” going up against “Hulk Hogan.”
If only police officers were required to wear vest cams like the UD police officers, and thousands of other departments across the country, we might know what happened.
Wilson fired 12 bullets at Brown, two of which were from the police car.
Six hit Brown in his chest and head, according to the postmortem examination report conducted by the St. Louis County Medical Examiner. Witnesses say Brown put his hands up and screamed, “I don’t have a gun. Stop shooting!” but Wilson assured the American public Brown charged at him like a caged bull.
Either way, one man is in the afterlife while the other resigned from his job and is receiving death threats.
This tragic incident has no doubt racially divided our country.
According to CNN, 54 percent of non-white Americans believe Wilson should be not be charged with murder, and 38 percent of whites say he shouldn’t be charged with any crime at all. Racially biased?
At the end of the day, it was Wilson’s word against other community members. By default, he has more credibility, which many questioned given the historical segregation between Ferguson citizens and police officers. If anything, this case has made us feel as if we’re living in the 1950s again, and racial tensions are still alive and real.
Even though I initially felt detached from the story, I saw its effects first hand Tuesday, Nov. 25 – one day after the grand jury decided not to indict Wilson on murder charges. As I was driving back from Cincinnati with my older brother, we saw the protests spill over on to I-75.
This was just one of the 21 riots that night organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network.
Yes, we’re protected under the Constitution to assemble, but what good is it to put lives at risk?
Fifty years down the road the city of Ferguson is going to be remembered as a site of looting and protests.
While yes, these events have made people question racial divides between police officers and communities, they have to remember Wilson hasn’t been indicted, and Michael Brown isn’t going to resurrect from the dead.
Everything besides that is just good commentary for cable news.
The whole situation is terrible, but maybe the best way to change the system is to become a part of it, not oppose it.