At approximately noon today a seventeen year-old [unarmed] African-American male was shot [a reported] nine to tens times in the chest near Canfield apartments in Ferguson, Missouri. [ a city within the limits of Saint Louis County]. Read more on the full developing story here. I initially became aware of this unfortunate situation while scrolling my Instagram news feed, initially it was photos of the young man’s step father holding a cardboard sign that read “FERGUSON POLICE JUST EXECUTED MY UNARMED SON”.
The powerful image began to spread like wild-fire as did the disturbing images of the child’s lifeless body still laying in state in the middle of the street. It was this image that sent my emotions and rage into overload. How dare people be so insensitive and disrespectful to post photos of this?
Even as I type I am searching for the words to express how this situation has affected me. As a mother, I am mortified at the state this country will be in when my son is of age, but more importantly I am saddened by the lack of sensitivity people have for tragedy. It’s no secret that St. Louis is on the map as one of the most dangerous cities in the US and as been for years. The violence in this city is and has been out of control for a very long time. For some, who like myself that have lived in Saint Louis their entire lives have become desensitized and numb to what is going on around us. Funny thing is, blacks are killing blacks more and more each day. It is not until shootings such as that of young Mike that there is a call to action.
It is unfortunate that this child, [yes he was a child, 17 years-old] like Trayvon Martin was unarmed, walking down the street, had his life taken from him in a brutal and senseless manner. He was not gunned down by a gang banger, or a part of a drug deal gone bad, he was shot multiple times by someone who took an oath to serve and protect. He was scheduled to start college on Monday.
His lifeless body stayed laid in state in the exact spot where life slipped from him for hours. This along with the act itself outraged residents and onlookers. Photos and videos bombarded social media in an attempt to raise awareness to the incident, when for many it did the opposite causing even more outrage. Where is the respect? I continued watching videos, looking at photos and reading comments and came to the realization that we as a people look for any and every opportunity to capitalize, be it triumph or tragedy there is always an opportunity for personal gain and notoriety. People in the community are expecting microwave results. Unfortunately the answers we all seek will not be found today. As our local radio program director said, “This is not an episode of Law and Order the crime will not be solved in sixty minutes.” Today we are outraged, tomorrow we will be on to the next issue. The time is now 8:41 pm and the officer who is guilty of the shooting has yet to be identified to the media, however it has been released that he has been placed on paid administrative leave pending investigation. Funny, had the shoe been on the other foot and an [white] officer been gunned down by a black kid his face would plastered all over the news. One thing I learned as the daughter of two police officers, and the step-daughter of one the most notorious narcotics’ officers in Saint Louis City is that right or wrong police protect their own. So as a society [and not just Saint Louisians] how do we change the trajectory of our communities’ current state of emergency. Obviously, hosting peace rallies and town hall meetings is not an effective means to an end. The problem seems to be much greater than the solution.
Playing devil’s advocate I have to honestly say that it is not the police who are solely responsible for all the deaths and murders of our your young black men. Black on black crime is the culprit. So in the wake of today’s tragic events we can march and boycott the Ferguson Police Department, demanding answers and justice but tomorrow there will just be reports of another slain black man on the north side. Who will we boycott and demand answers from then? It was not a white police officer, or the KKK who shot the 45 year-old grandmother as she walked down the street with her three young grandchildren, it was not a member of the Aryan Brotherhood that gunned down the man in the park during an alumni picnic while 1000 people were present. We want to speak about change but what changes are we making? What steps are we taking as people to find a real solution to the problem? People are using these tragedies as ways to build fame for themselves, creating projects and programs that need “funding” all under the pretense of stopping the violence. I don’t recall Dr.King setting up a GOFUNDME.com account so he could fund a march or rally.
I work in a shelter for at risk and troubled youth and one thing I know to be true is that we are living in a world full of angry, unsettled, mentally ill people. There is an entire generation of youth who have no sense of empathy or regard for human life. Our society if nothing else has become dehumanize and desensitized. It’s nothing for a person to take the lives of others then their own. We don’t love and respect the heritage from which we came why would anyone else? Am I saying that the police should be able to treat us like animals and shoot our sons down in the middle of the street like a rabid dog? No, but at what point do we turn the mirror around and accept that change starts with US? May GOD bless the soul of the young man Michael Brown who lost his life today. May his family find peace somewhere amidst the chaos. May HE also be with our entire city as we sort through our feelings of anger, sadness and confusion. Blessings, Brendolyn Marie
“We are hurt to hear that yet another teenaged boy has been slaughtered by law enforcement especially in light of the recent death of Eric Garner in New York who was killed for selling cigarettes. We plan to do everything within our power to ensure that the Ferguson Police Department as well as the St. Louis County Police Department releases all details pertinent to the shooting. We strongly encourage residents to stay away from the crime scene so that no additional citizens are injured. I have spoken directly with St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, and I am confident that both he and his department will ensure that the investigation is conducted properly and that all details are kept transparent.” Eshter Haywood, President St. Louis County NAACP