Come one, come all to the show me state. Welcome to Ferguson, Missouri, a town of 21,000 people in the heart of America. A town not far from the famous Gateway Arch, has shown us a picture of an America we like to forget and ignore. The tragic events of the last few days have opened up our eyes to an ugly reality. It has shown us in stark terms what a fragmented suburbia we have and the problems that come with it. It is not an attractive picture of America near the symbol of the way west, the Gateway Arch.
The death of Michael Brown opened up wounds that are just below the surface of many suburbs. The reporter from the Huffington Post, found out really quick about the simmering feelings of white America in a Starbucks. You can find out a lot at a Starbucks. There in Ferguson you heard how racial tension is just below the surface. It is as if the perceptions of the whites sitting at that Starbucks were that all young blacks are either killing themselves or they are hoods.
Ferguson, is a town dating back to the 19th Century, that is now fragmented and broken. Blacks moved in and whites moved out and the tax revenue went with it and the amenities that were there are in disrepair. Does this sound like your town, America?
The death of Michael Brown opened up a sore, a cancer, that exists in not only the big cities of the east coast or on the west coast but right there in Middle America. It illustrates the problems of race. It illustrates the problems of police practices that are outdated, that come with tragic consequences. Ferguson shows us the reality of what American looks like with too little money for education, too few services, too little revenue for the basic necessities and too little hope for our young.
Yes, Michael Brown was shot dead unarmed, and yes, he had just stolen cigars. He had manhandled a store manager for a smoke or two. But did he need to die? The policeman, who shot him did not know that he stole the cigars. Brown was unarmed but he shot him dead never the less. Do the police need to always shoot to kill?
The rage that was shown quite vividly by the citizens of Ferguson is scary. Perhaps the events of the last few days will cause us to change our policy of shooting to kill when a person is a suspect but was he even a suspect? Will we as a people look harder at ourselves and deal with the issues that Ferguson so graphically illustrates. These are questions that need to be addressed and given the light of day. If we do not address these issues, the events in Ferguson could be just the start of something really awful, anarchy. Here we are 45 years after the summer of love, Woodstock. But no, we appear to be far removed from those days and we seem to be closer to open warfare between the have-nots and those who have the material things we so cherish.
Private gated communities will not protect us from the unintended consequences of what has been apathy and neglect. A military police is more likely to harm us than to protect us. Wake up America and deal with the problems that Ferguson so tragically show us.