My thoughts on Ferguson

“…because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4b (NLT)

I love this verse. I love that I can have such hope that the God I choose to follow is greater than anything that is in this world. In our world today, this is something that is precious to me. Our news is constantly filled with terrible things that, if you allow them to, will make you want to hide in a hole for the rest of your life.

I strategically avoid the news on most days – outside of satirical news like Stephen Colbert. I have found that with naturally occurring anxiety, the news does nothing for me. However, with the rise of social media, it is almost impossible to avoid hearing about and seeing current events.

The big story that has rocked our small state, and even parts of the nation as a whole, is the story of what is happening in Ferguson, MO. I don’t have a lot of opinion on what has happened in this area of my state, because, frankly, I have done what I can to avoid watching the news on this particular subject. It hits too close to home for me. It’s just a hop, skip, and a jump away from my own small town. Most people will tell you this is irresponsible of me, because it is so close to home… but, my anxiety can’t handle hearing/thinking about it.

I have picked up a few stories from social media, and one thing I can tell you for sure is that both sides of this topic are steadfast in their views and opinions. One side says this was nothing but a race issue, and a gun-wielding white man in authority taking advantage of his position. The other side says this officer was absolutely justified in his actions. The media is being praised on one side for their efforts, and one side is accusing of bias… with one common factor that the media is being restricted in their efforts.

I can say with great confidence that I do not understand the race issue in this situation. I am a privileged white girl from a pretty small town, with a very small minority representation. I do not understand what it means to be a minority and fear for my safety.

I also do not understand what it feels like to be a law enforcement officer. I do not understand the feeling of having to question if each person I encounter is armed and dangerous. I do not understand the weight of feeling that I must not only protect myself, but protect citizens as well. I do not understand the feeling of knowing that any move I make will be scrutinized by an entire public audience.

What I do understand is that when you live in a place in which crime is an everyday occurrence, you will become hardened. You will become the one who looks at a specific race and makes an immediate judgment. I also understand that this isn’t fair. It is however human nature.

Here are my only, and very small, thoughts on this situation… for what they are worth.

  • This shooting was, most likely, racially biased – even if only a small amount. Natural human instincts and life experience bias come into play.
  • When you charge an armed officer, they will respond with what their training has taught them to do… they will protect themselves and others by any means possible.
  • Rioting does nothing to prove the point that you are trying to make. It only makes an already horrible situation even worse.
  • No side of this fight will ever be 100% correct… media bias does not allow for absolute truth in any situation.
  • Hot tempers and name calling will not reveal any truth or justice; and ultimately, will not affect the outcome of this situation. Be enraged, be angry that you think justice wasn’t served… but be kind.

This is another situation where I find myself thinking, “Why can’t we all just get along?” I don’t understand being automatically inclined to being angry or looking for a way to be victimized. But, I’ve never been a victim of something so intense and so big.

In my perfect world, we could all exist as we are. There would be no crime, no hate, no killing. People would be happy to just be. People would share their resources, they would help one another, instead of assuming the worst about everyone.

I will work on making this dream a reality for myself. Will you join me?

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