Archive for November, 2014

Ferguson

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MLK Memorial, DC

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. [MLK]

I can’t imagine what it’s like to live with skin other than my Scandinavian skin. I used to try when dating or loving an other-than-white guy.

Tony (black) in high school; RIP (AIDS).

His mother wrapped the two of us and drove to Louisiana to see / hear Martin Luther King. I was scared shitless with bully state troopers and their tooth-filled dogs. The calm one was Rev King. To this very day, I can’t imagine how he (a) didn’t run from fear and (b) got the crowd to stay firm but non-violent. It was an amazing experience, and I am soooooo glad it was a one-time thing for me.

I’m not strong enough to life in this atmosphere. If it’s your life, I am serious awe of your strength.

Marty (brown) in college; RIP (motorcycle).

Marty introduced me to that barrio thingy. It was home, where everyone was family. Even the foster care kid (raising hand). It was real and raw. There are idiots in the barrio… violent idiots.

But if somebody called me “mar***n”, I would send back a quick “ch**ga tu madre.” I know… stupid. In my defense, I was mostly hanging out with several crazed bikers. The bikers thought my scrappiness and potty-mouth was cute.

Now I see so much pain and anger. The government in and around Ferguson behaved badly / stupidly. If you’re in government, it doesn’t matter whether you’re right or wrong. It matters that you’ve created a situation where some of your own citizens feel that violence is their only option. The anger will last for years. Small business owners will be paying the fiscal price. If you can’t do government without causing this feeling, you shouldn’t be in government. Period.

I saw that video of Mike Brown in the bodega. The camera showed a bully, picking on a much smaller store worker. If he carried that attitude to the streets, I can see how a cop might react badly.

Truth: if you’re an above average guy, you will try to be police chief in Chicago or New York. Same for the District Attorney. Ferguson MO doesn’t get the best people. Bad logic on my part, because police in the big cities are working badly.

Whether the Ferguson facts are  true, it doesn’t excuse officials.

There were missteps everywhere. The kid shouldn’t have been a bully and a robber. The cop should have had the smarts and technique to arrest the kid without killing him. If you have to shoot, one pop in the knee will bring down most folks.

Missouri officials should not have acted like idiots. The grand jury should have indicted the copy, so a criminal court could have sorted things out. Everyone on all sides of this mess have been idiots (at least to my eyes/ears).

To the cops and judicial system: if y’all forgot to inform the kid’s parents of the grand jury decision before the public unveiling, you have screwed up a simple and fundamental less of dealing with people. Shame on you. Shame on your kids. Shame on all y’all.

It is still and open wound. The community in Ferguson (and elsewhere) need closure. Peaceful closure. If you’re a cop or a district attorney or a judge, you need to be able to bring closure. If you can’t or won’t, you need to find a different career.

To my brothers and sisters of color: you will get further if you approach racial problems like Rev King used. I am about as white as a guy can be. I’m not perfect. I’m a work-in-progress. Tell me where I’m stupid, but offer an alternative. If I need to work on the white district attorneys or white cops, let me know what I need to do. I may not see what you know is obvious.

Everybody will get a better reaction from me (and others like me) if you take it down a notch. Stop scaring me, and tell me what I need to do/think/say/believe/hope.

The quote is by Rev King. It’s part of the MLK memorial in Washington DC.