Inspection- How Can We Find Our Way Out of Ferguson?
A clown from Hell welcomes us to the latest town the carnival is visiting and says, “This way to the Ferguson Follies.”
It has become a circus of nightmares traveling across America, truly worthy of Bradbury’s Something Wicked this Way Comes. Actually it makes Bradbury’s book seem more comedy, in comparison.
Perhaps it’s more like Dean Koontz’s goblins in Twilight Eyes: evil creations of our own design determined to exterminate humanity. Racists and gang bangers come out of their slimy pits and use it all to magnify their nastiness. Officials more interested in serving their own agendas skew it all their way however they can. And pundits, well, do what pundits have been doing for too damn long: making it worse.
But I’m not here just to write of looters, the over or under reaction by police, or even all the blood spilling, horrific-ness, that surrounds Ferguson. I’m also writing about humanity’s intentional attempt to devour itself in hate and pure partisanship.
The results were predictable. The royal screw ups, and I’m being generous when it comes to intent here, of leaving a body out to rot, having a prosecutor who also helps raise funds to defend the object of his supposed “prosecution,” a claim of orbital eye socket damage where there was none, going after protestors because someone claims to have seen someone on a roof with a gun instead of going after the guy with the gun, a police chief contradicting his own officer as to whether he heard about the theft… But don’t think for a moment all the possible blame stops there and not also those who are so angry they hurt their own cause, and even the memory of a teen who was no saint. False claims of being shot in the back don’t help: they make you as bad as the orbital socket liars. Looting stores, throwing rocks: none of this makes anything better, and definitely makes it all worse.
I have absolutely no doubt the worst of the worst saw a community in crisis and decided to use it all as just an excuse, or with the bonus of helping to cast blame on those who protest. The result, either way: more wreckage.
And so much wreckage: a ruined career, a dead teen, a mourning family, communities that have seen this kind of thing happen again and again, store owners who did nothing wrong with ruined businesses… I think we all know the toll goes way beyond even all this. The problem is, pretty much by design, the preset script has been followed faithfully by all sides. Many of us have pre-tried and convicted whomever we wished to blame long before any prosecutor gets to it. And we think cracking down hard will solve the situation? You’re kidding, right? One must ask: was making it worse the actual intent of the more ideologically, or racially, driven sometimes so more blame could be cast on favorite targets? Then we have prosecutors and lawyers seem to have pre-decided how they wanted it all to go before any actual trial.
This is the script, with slight variations, we continue to follow no matter where the Follies move to next.
But, let’s pull the camera back to an even wider view…
Years ago Ruby Ridge angered many on the right, and it has been argued that led to Waco, Oklahoma City, Eric Rudolph, Jim David Adkisson and perhaps even the Cliven Bundy situation. It doesn’t matter if all these were separate situations, in the minds of many they led into each other. All too predictably they are clumped together as “signs” of how those they disagree with are to blame for everything that led to this moment.
And of course media, pundits and pols who egged them on are never, ever to share any of the blame, or responsibility, right? No matter how directly they suggested such actions?
The same is true with Zimmerman, Nunn and Wilson. I have argued with those on the right who bitterly complain this shouldn’t be, that each case should be treated on its own accord. But much like those who believe Ruby, Waco, Oklahoma and Bundy are connected, complain all you want: it changes nothing. They too are perceived as “signs” that those they disagree with are to blame for everything that led to this moment. Any egging on is ignored.
Responsibility too often seems to only belong to those whomever we disagree with.
As bad as this rapidly boiling, covered pot, dynamic can get, what’s worse is how the media feeds off this: now more violence seeking vampires than “news.” Blood spilled never quite quenches their never ends thirst for such.
There are peaceful protestors in Ferguson. Where the hell are they? No where, if you were to listen to the media. There are officers trying to help, being respectful of those who are peacefully protesting. Again: where the hell are they? No where.
Other than the media being less “vampire”-like, we could legally make it more advantageous for an officer to wound instead of kill. My uncle was a police officer, and I remember when I once was considering becoming a police officer him telling me, “If you have to shoot, shoot to kill, otherwise your career is pretty much over.”
We could go out of our way to celebrate the best in the black and the white communities, reward police who react well in tough situations, raise cheers when all the aforementioned work together to make things better and discourage racism.
We need to demilitarize our police and make them more community oriented, walking a beat, and reflective of the community they serve.
What we don’t need is more whites lecturing blacks, or blacks lecturing whites. That’s a loser for it enforces old racial stereotypes. But I would like to suggest both blacks and whites take an even more active role in talking to, and supervising, their own communities. I might believe more of the punditry if I heard them honestly assessing, and criticizing, their own folks.
Then there are the clowns, and the carnies, who profit, financially, emotionally and politically by making it all worse. Where would FOX, Limbaugh, MSNBC, Hannity, O’Reilly, Bill Maher, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, our very politically skewed pols, Sirius Progress or Patriot be if we weren’t so predictable in our responses: behaving like rats on an electrified floor in a cage called partisanship? As long as we simply accept them they will continue to make millions as society’s pyromaniacs. The more they go out of their way to toss gasoline on our self righteous anger the more they make.
We have incentivize-ed nurturing hate.
Tomorrow? Tomorrow the carnival will move on once they have wrung Ferguson dry. The goblins will scurry elsewhere, and the media will gleefully follow. Over eager buzzards who feed off the yet to be dead know the next Ferguson is just beyond this hate saturated venue, just around yet another blood drench street corner.
Would it be better for parents to go talk with an officer gently: attempt to get him to understand? He could listen, so could they, the media stay a respectful distance, if there at all. Wouldn’t it be great if a community tried to find common ground and understanding, the media cover that more than promoting pretty much only the worst of humanity? It could be like the beer summit, only far better because it’s real, hurting, people: acting like adults. Not two people brought together, very reluctantly, by a politician.
Won’t happen…. unfortunately.
We don’t know the name of the next town, the next victims. But Ferguson, for now, has become the most recent metaphor for all of this. Ferguson represents the increasing anger, criminal behavior, racial politics and questionable law enforcement: at best. So as a nation we need to ask ourselves…
“How can we find our way out of Ferguson?”
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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