The verdict in Ferguson, Missouri, where a grand jury voted not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing an unarmed African-American teenager, was predictable.
It is difficult to get an indictment of a law enforcement officer accused of killing someone in the line of duty, even when that officer chases a suspect and shoots that person an unbelievable 10 times. The public wants to take the side of people who keep them safe.
However, I find it ludicrous that sane people believed that anyone who is not high on some super narcotic needed to be shot 10 times to be stopped. The killing in Ferguson and the national spate of law-enforcement officer shootings and mistreatment of unarmed young black men is of great concern to me because I have a young son and grandson. And I’m afraid for me.
That said, I have a problem with what has developed in Ferguson in the aftermath of the grand jury’s decision. The idiots who are looting and robbing should be found and sent to jail. What does taking away someone’s livelihood do for your cause?
As a result, some members of the media have turned attention away from Brown’s killing and are now focused on something that should not be part of the conversation — mindless violence by a few dozen knuckleheads.
Their cowardly actions stripped business owners of their occupations. The employees, many of whom depended on those jobs, are now out of work.
And don’t give me that psychobabble about the people are angry and are taking out their frustrations where they are. Just stop trying to defend that criminality.
Riots and tearing up police cars only create award-winning images for photojournalists.
The rage surrounding Brown’s killing is not so much that Wilson is a police officer, but specifically, he is a white officer. The pain and anger harkens back to a time when white people, with or without badges, could kill black people with impunity, while the black community could only cry and bury its dead.
I understand the seething anger. Hell, I’m angry, too.
But, I continually ask, where is anger when black folk gun down each other at an alarming rate for reasons as idiotic as “He disrespected me”? Now, you have a dead victim, a mourning family and Mr. “I was dissed” stuck in a prison with more than being dissed to worry about.
As I looked at the aftermath of the verdict unfold on TV, I thought about a Facebook entry I’d seen earlier Monday by my friend, attorney Jackie Nash. She had remarked about a news story that day involving a former client who had been arrested and accused of shooting a man to death.
Nash is an attorney in Louisiana’s juvenile justice system and director of Southern University’s Juvenile Law Clinic. She sees a lack of programs that could have helped to deter the young man.
There are fewer after-school, mentoring and alternative school programs for people like her client. They are wandering about without an education, and “there’s nobody out here rooting for them,” Nash said. “This is a child I couldn’t save.”
Look, I want people in my community to be outraged enough about black-on-black crime that the African-American Greek organizations, the ministers, the social clubs and any other African-Americans with clout will join and take to the streets in protest.
I want to see President Barack Obama start a national debate on the issue. And, I want the other usual suspects, the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, to show up incredulous in the areas where black-on-black crime is the highest.
Southern’s Student Government Association President Nicholas Harris made a lot of sense on Tuesday when he said he had campus shuttle buses running all day to take students to early vote in the upcoming runoff elections. “That’s how you effect change,” he said.
Additionally, let’s impress upon children about the need to vote, not at 17 years old, but start that message when they’re 10, 11 and 12. Voting: That’s where you can make a difference — not in burning police cars and looting liquor stores.
Edward Pratt, a former Advocate editor, is assistant to the chancellor for media relations at Southern University. Hie email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.