My Thoughts on the Death of Michael Brown

Hi Friends and Family,

This is not a politically or racially charged post about Michael Brown's death at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson. This is a post about my feelings (because this is my blog).

I simply cannot speak to the legality of the incident because I am not a lawyer/police officer and I wasn't present at the shooting. I also cannot speak to the feelings of the black community because I am not a member of that community, nor have I endured the same suffering at the hands of inequality. However, I ally myself with people. Black, white or other, I support people and their right to live a happy life... as long as they don't hurt someone else in the pursuit. Of course, life is not black and white and issues cannot be boiled down to right and wrong.

Here's what I do know: I know that I don't agree with humans playing God. I don't think we, humans, have the right to determine if someone lives or dies, and to end someone's life is the ultimate betrayal of humanity. Michael Brown is dead, and whether he was "guilty" or "innocent", it is a tragedy. I also know that I support the legal system of the United States because I cherish living in a country that allows (nay, requires) everyone to a trial by jury (or no trial, if that's what the jury decides). But that doesn't always mean I'm happy with the outcome.

When it comes down to it, the act has been committed and the decision has been made. I don't live in the past, I don't dabble in "what if's" or "should have's", and I don't look anywhere but forward. I also try not to worry myself with things I cannot control (as someone with bad anxiety, it is important for me to delegate my worry to things I can actually change, otherwise my anxiety would be completely out of hand). Therefore, looking forward, I ask myself: what can I control? The obvious answer is that I can only control myself, but more specifically, I can control my thoughts, feelings, actions, behaviors, and beliefs.

In this situation, many people are putting the cart before the horse: suggesting change without finding the underlying cause. If this situation were a machine, we would go into the machine and look at the various parts, find what is broken, and fix it. The problem with change is that there is always a repercussion that no one considers. In Minnesota, there is a large Somalia population and most of the Somalian children attend one of the four public schools in the district. The school with the majority Somalian population was always scoring lower than the neighboring schools so the district was redrawn to absorb the low-scoring school into the other schools, thus integrating the Somalian population. However, no one was expecting that housing prices would increase because of the redrawn districts. Because of that, the town lost 50% of the Somalian population since they could no longer afford the increased housing prices (clearly there is more in play than just education and housing, but a clear disadvantage to the Somalian community). For most people, better education is a price to pay for higher living costs, but that is not always the case with unforeseen repercussions. We need to fix enough to create positive change for the black community, but not so much that there are negative ramifications. What I implore lawmakers, government officials, and outspoken protesters to do is look at all options. The best option to fix things now is not always great in the long run, and vice versa. Don't act hastily if it means sacrificing thought (this mentality could also have been used back in August, and we should learn from our mistakes).

What is also so important to me is the city of Ferguson, and St. Louis, my home. I'm so sick of people talking about my city, and Ferguson, as a 'thing'. Yes, an awful event took place there, but it doesn't define the town. Ferguson is not an event, it is not a headline, it is home to thousands of people. I hate to think that for the rest of time, the word "Ferguson" will only bring on thoughts of this shooting. Just like the students who attend Columbine High School are forever haunted by memories of the school's past, so will the residents of Ferguson be haunted by memories of the shooting. However, we can't let the memories of the bad overshadow the acknowledgement of the good, and the potential for the future.

So I beg: Please don't refer to this incident as "Ferguson". The incident is the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by on-duty officer, Darren Wilson. There is so much more to Ferguson than this shooting.

I want Ferguson to heal. I want Michael Brown's family to heal. And yes, I want Darren Wilson to heal. I've been told that times heals all wounds, I just hope these wounds aren't beyond repair.

p.s. If you disagree with me, let me know. I love hearing new perspectives and learning things in the process.


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