I write this as I wait for the grand jury to announce their decision. Do I even need to say which decision at this point? By the time I post, I’ll know -indictment or not. I don’t think it will matter much.
[And as I edit this post, I watch Ferguson burn].
I watch the list of schools and community services shut tonight and tomorrow scroll across the TV screen. This only happens when there’s a storm coming. And there is.
The Protesters have already declared their mistrust of the legal system – even before the decision is announced. They don’t trust the police, they don’t trust their peers on the Grand Jury. But our legal system is like our democracy, it’s the worst system – except for all of the others. If The Protesters have a better idea, let’s hear it. The Grand Jury is part of a check-and-balance system – to keep the prosecutor from playing God. I think this, on the whole, is a good idea.
I’ve written about The Protesters before. Rumors are that The Protesters (theatrical) have targeted 19 places around St. Louis, not just in Ferguson – including a children’s hospital. In other words, high media targets. However, there’s another rumor that these 19 targets are a ruse – there’s another list. So, most of us who live close by are staying home.
[Now that there is no indictment, St. Louis is officially closed. Please check back in about a week.]
Businesses are boarded up, schools are cancelled, people who live in the area have been told not to go away for the holidays and leave their houses unprotected. This speaks to the mistrust of the community – not of the police or the legal system, but of The Protesters. The masks don’t help. The shootings don’t help. Burning police cars doesn’t help. The looting doesn’t help. The upside down American flags don’t help.
The irony of the protests taking place under the Seasons Greetings sign isn’t lost on me. I guess it can’t be helped, that’s the sign outside of the police department. Maybe this wasn’t good planning on the city’s part.
The best we can hope for is that the situation opens dialogue that will lead to positive change. Shutting down the city probably won’t encourage this dialogue.
There are problems in this community – in this country. I believe there needs to be change and would help – but not if the protests are violent, not if The Protesters don’t respect the law or even the local business owners, not if The Protesters want equal justice under the law, but only the equal justice they want.
At the end of the day, it’s your community. If you think there is injustice, do something about it. Vote the mayor out, call for the chief’s resignation, apply to the police department. But don’t just put your hands up – it says to me, “I give up. Fix it for us.”