Michael Brown

At some point in my life I was advised to not start a conversation, monolog or a speech with an apology. So in the spirit of that lesson let me say, with this article I am unapologetically expressing my view of and about “Ferguson” as we the people await the decision of the grand jury.

This article is inspired by a piece I read yesterday from Shantology via Facebook. 

From my perspective as a Black American, citizen of these United States there are three core issues at the center of our “Ferguson” situation.

The first issue is presenting and understanding the facts surrounding the shooting and killing of Michael Brown. A unarmed citizen with his arms up and his hands raised high in the air above his head was shot multiple times and killed by a police officer of the law.

Those are the facts. The facts are undisputable. So now we enter into controversy where we have public dispute, debate and contention surrounding the matter of concern which is, was officer Darren Wilson justified in shooting and killing Michael Brown.

If the grand jury decides the shooting of Michael Brown was unjustifiable, Darren Wilson will be formerly indicted and charged accordingly.

If the grand jury decides that the shooting and killing of Michael Brown was justified officer Darren Wilson will not be indicted and will subsequently be cleared of all state charges.

It is important to note that the St Louis County prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, could have presented evidence to a judge to determine if there was probable cause to believe that a crime had even been committed by Darren Wilson. The state prosecutor could have also decided to take no action after reviewing the evidence from the county police investigation

At some point in time a discussion should be had about this note with focus on why and how voting, political participation, political engagement and political empowerment of inner city residents is required. So many citizens are affected by decision makers and laws of which those citizens have had no say in electing or constructing. And many of those citizens are unaware of the effects of that very serious problem and further so they are dead and completely oblivious to the problem itself.

The second issue covers protesters, merchants, store owners and all other citizens specifically in, of and around Ferguson. Again from this Black American’s perspective, it seems some media have presented a situation where we have protesters positioned against merchants and store owners. Of course, this logic requires one to view protesters, rioters and looters as one group as opposed to citizens and individuals some of whom may possibly be people who are not local residents of that specific community and are acting as provocateurs inciting hostility between some social circles and groups.

There has not been much if any media coverage of how store owners and merchants perceive and or view issue 1 which was discussed above. Again what has been portrayed in most media is the idea that protesters whom for the most part have been peaceful are planning to riot, loot and vandalize stores, shops and places of business.

The idea of such is ridiculous. That type of thought processing can drive a wedge into communities where there are already too many divisions among community members.

Regardless of rather these community members are actual residents, home owners or renters, store owners, merchants or consumers they are all citizens. They all have some vested interest in events of and about the community up to and including the shooting and killing of Michael Brown. I would imagine many merchants and store owners share the very same views and perspectives of many protestors. However to know this to be true conversation has to be had between community members.

The third matter is an underlying issue. The events happening in Ferguson can be viewed as a very thick and heavy branch of a tree in the forest of American history in the United States.  

There have been many branches, some even more thick and heavier than what we are witnessing today. It is the root of such trees that we need to begin to investigate. To elaborate on my philosophical analogy let us first examine issue 2.

When we observe many inner city and urban communities which are predominantly Black American a trend is noticed where many of the local stores, shops and businesses are owned and / or operated by folks who are not residents of those communities and neighborhoods and who are not Black American.

To be Black American or to be an actual resident of a community are not criteria which must be met to open, own and / or operate a place of business in any community or neighborhood. The underlying issue, what are the environmental variables that exist in these communities which have created a situation where so many residents are consumers of products and services and so very few are service providers or proprietors of businesses. Furthermore these residents who are consumers spend their dollars in stores and shops however those dollars may not be reinvested into the communities from which they came. To be clear, the shop owners are not at fault in this situation. The dollars collected by the shops may be spent or invested to improve the community of the shop owners or possibly to help fund campaigns of elected officials who support the views and interests of the shop owners. This is good for our economy.

However meanwhile the actual residents of the inner city communities and neighborhoods keep pumping money into these shops and stores thereby truly fueling the economy of the United States all the while the communities are deteriorating and decaying in plain view. The actual residents of these inner city communities maybe unrepresented by an elected official due to the fact that many of those actual residents are not property owners within the communities they live. This can create an environment where there is no political engagement by either the actual resident because they may feel powerless and even disenfranchised or politicians because they feel no political power or influence can be gained by serving the interests of these communities or their actual residents.

As citizens we all have the right and responsibility to begin addressing and changing the environmental variables of these communities and neighborhoods. Encouragement for actual residents to begin understanding the need for good education, financial literacy and building businesses is required. Empowerment of Black American citizens specifically and all citizens in general is necessary.

Michael Brown could have been any citizen and any citizen could be the next Michael Brown.

I challenge us all to think.

Thank you,

William Danney