Hands Off! Don’t Loot!

Devestated Business in Ferguson, MO
Devastated Business in Ferguson, MO

One current rallying cry being used by those, like Al Sharpton, who have made a profession of fanning the flames in America’s black/white racial divide rather than building a bridge across that chasm, is “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” There is no legitimacy to it. It’s based on a concocted account of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.

The rallying cry that needs to be taken up instead is:

“Hands Off! Don’t Loot!”

Innocent residents and business owners in Ferguson, MO, have suffered tremendous losses at the hands of those who used Michael Brown’s death as an excuse to steal and destroy. In some cases, the losses meant the end for businesses and the livelihood they provided for owners, employees, suppliers, etc. There is nothing lacking in the legitimacy of this rallying cry. It’s based on a sad but absolutely true aspect of this matter.

Of course, I understand that those who have lived through so much injustice would be on guard against further injustice. There is great depth to the reasons behind Americans of African descent having suspicions and prejudices about incidents like the death of Michael Brown. I, also, understand how those may be intensified by claims that may or may not turn out to be true. And, I understand that this will result in differing points of view on whether or not justice is being served in these instances. From all that, I accept that peaceful protests have their place in this. But, I’m adamant that it is clearly time for all who truly have a heart for bridging America’s black/white racial divide to stand together, refusing to any longer tolerate such occurrences being allowed to serve as justification for looting and destruction.

Furthermore, I want to encourage those who have been peacefully protesting what they see as injustice in the death of Michael Brown to turn their efforts in a more productive direction. For the most part, their views of injustice have been based on claims that Darren Wilson (the police officer who shot Michael Brown), the Ferguson Police Department and Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch are racist. Maybe they are but I saw no evidence to support that nor to indicate that their racism had any impact on the outcome. That’s not to say I’m OK if they are racist. But, the way to correct that isn’t by having it unjustly determine the outcome in this case. As I said earlier, peaceful protests have their place in this. But, while that may succeed in getting the community’s attention, it doesn’t really change anything. Once you’ve got the community’s attention, you need to get personally involved in your community to make the changes in the way it’s run, to assure it’s not being run by racists.

Finally, instead of the counterproductive attention that’s been given to the perceived injustice in the shooting of Michael Brown, it seems to me that it would be far better for us to work together for changes that would help families, like Michael Brown’s, to assure that their kids don’t end up making the bad choices Michael was making, ending in his death. Let’s face it, even if Darren Wilson, the Ferguson P.D. and Robert McCulloch are racist, it was not that but Michael Brown’s own behavior that led to his death.