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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I live about 30 minutes away from Ferguson, so everything that's going on there is very much "in my backyard," so to speak. I'm curious about how people around the country (or world, if the news is traveling that far) are thinking about the situation.

Is it something you're paying attention to, or is it simply clogging the airwaves for you?

Is it "out of sight, out of mind" because it's far away from you?

My thoughts at this moment (morning after the grand jury decision was announced) can be summarized as:

  • This has brought out the worst in humanity.
  • I respect Michael Brown's parents for asking for peace and suggesting the more productive approach of channeling people's energy toward changing the system, not being destructive. I wish people would have listened and abided by their request.
  • I wish the media would go away and stop fueling the fire.

What are your thoughts, if it's even on your mind?
 
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I pay attention big-time. It matters to me; a lot! Since I was not there, I am not in a position to know who was right or who was wrong but I will say, both parties involved now have life as they knew it forever changed.

It is my humble opinion that the media in fact does fan the fire and sadly, we all know that prejudice and hate is alive and well.

Right is right and wrong is wrong; it matters little to me what a person's ethnicity or the color of their skin is.

The only solution I can come up with is (and it works for me) GOD! It's all about choices. I chose to do the right thing and always will. And sometimes that is not easy but I sleep well at night. I "really" do!

"It takes a village!"

And the effect is of course being felt all the way to Atlanta, Ga. which is where hubby and I live.
 

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It's most definitely not out of sight, out of mind from my corner of the world.

Frankly, I feel quite impotent regarding the whole situation, but, yes, it has brought out the worst of humanity. And I do think the DA's presentation of the process was atrocious. He can stick to the facts, fine, but blaming twitter and social media -- which provides many disenfranchised groups a voice -- was awful. I was up late reading twitter and found it to be thought provoking. Additionally, his voice lacked any sympathy for the Brown family. It was going to get ugly, no matter what, but I was shocked at just about everything in that announcement. The timing (really? That late at night?) was astounding.
 

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I don't watch TV or read the news. I do have some info leaking in about this. I thought Octavia's 3 points were spot on.
 

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I don't watch TV or read the news.
Good for you. Most of it isn't worth watching/reading. I don't watch TV, either, so I "know" a fraction of what most people around here know (or think they know) about the situation.

It just seems that no matter what information becomes available, people hear what they want to hear, ignore what they refuse to believe, and go right back to thinking what they've always thought about the situation...regardless of which "side" they're on. It's kind of like politics, I guess.
 

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I also do not follow much news - this however has me reading what the facts are from the jury trial.

The rioting and demonstrations are disturbing since the facts of the trial clearly point to the officer doing his job.

While some incidents are not as clear - this one is and should not be causing the turmoil it is.

It is a sad .
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I agree with you, Lovlkn. The grand jury and evidence presented to it really don't matter to someone who already had their mind made up with such certainty. I understand that there's a lot of frustration out there with not being treated equally (that part is quite clear), but yeah, this case may not be the best one to hang your hat on as a protester. Absolutely everything about this situation is so unfortunate, beginning with the events that started it all in August (well, probably long before that, really).
 

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I figure the greatest drawback I have from not watching TV or the news, will be when Alex Trebeck calls me for Jeopardy. My current events skills will be nonexistent, I can deal. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, if that's the worst thing you have going for yourself, I'd say you're doing pretty well!

Same with me...we have a lot of "trivia night" fundraisers in my area, and I am TERRIBLE at them. I pretty much pay my $20, drink the "free" beer, and make zero contribution to my table's answers!
 
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Yup, it is a good thing I work in a library, or I might not have a clue about much but I sure am happier for it!
 

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I am new here, but I'd like to say something about this. I have been to Ferguson to join the protests. I drove about six hours to get there in October on the weekend that the largest peaceful protest was held.

I don't want anyone to hate me for my opinions here, especially since I am new, but I would like to share this with you.

The people there were so grateful that folks from other states showed up to stand with them. They wanted to take our pictures and ask us questions about struggles in our own state, and we were featured in prominent national newspapers (something I never expected).

I am a white woman, and I have never experienced the struggles of People of Color. But I do think that many people could use an infusion of empathy in this situation. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: "It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard." I agree with his position on this. Many people want to quote Dr. King, but not this particular quote.

I have long been involved in the struggle for civil rights, and have also been a criminal defense attorney. My reasons for this are too difficult to explain. However, I truly believe that we have a serious problem with police brutality and inequitable legal treatment of Black people in the U.S. We have had this problem since before we were a nation.

So instead of condemning people for rebelling against their oppressors, I try to listen. I could never put myself in their shoes, but I try to listen. Because riots are the language of the unheard. And I want to hear them, and make things better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That's interesting, Bird. (I'm quite certain no one here will hate you for sharing your opinions. Quite the opposite, in my opinion.) Let's pull up a chair. Would you prefer a beer or a glass of wine? :)

I really wish riots didn't "have to" become the language of the unheard. I have gone back and forth in my mind about my feelings on the fact that people feel like they need to riot to get things done.

On one hand, as a white woman, I have never been in the shoes of a black person, so I don't know firsthand the frustrations they've experienced, but I don't disagree that police brutality and racial profiling are very real.Obviously, what these protesters are feeling is very real.

And on the other hand, I find myself wondering what other non-violent means of making a difference these people have truly tried. I mean, have all of these rioters truly tried other, non-violent approaches to make themselves heard and express their dissatisfaction with the status quo? Or is something like a Ferguson event simply an opportunity to skip from "being disgruntled but doing nothing/living with it/not knowing what to do about it" straight to "%$#@ this, I'm sick of it, and it's time to resort to violence or nothing will ever change"?

Thinking out loud here, but as an example, our president was a "community organizer." I'm not exactly sure what that title entails, but in my mind, it means getting people to work together to improve their communities/lives. You know...making things happen in a proactive way. That's the type of activity I don't see going on. It very well could be because I'm simply out of touch with things, but what I don't see are people stepping up to lead a productive effort that says, "You know what? This is happening, and it's not right. We deserve better. Let's do what we need to do to make change happen..." before it gets to the boiling point.

There are many well-respected black people in the St. Louis area--people who have worked hard to get where they are in life--good people who have earned and deserve every bit of respect they receive. But I don't see these people, or well-respected white people, for that matter, stepping up and providing guidance and leadership to people who have the energy to want change, but don't know where to begin. And really, where do people begin with something like this? Maybe that's a big part of the problem. Is the problem so big that people just don't know where to begin, other than from a place of anger when it reaches the boiling point? Is the system so corrupt that a group of people can't sit across the table from police leadership and have a calm, rational, and productive conversation to "get the ball rolling"? Does it take an event like what's going on in Ferguson for people to step back and say, "Okay, maybe we really do have a problem we need to address here..."?

Obviously, I don't have any answers, but I'm an introspective type, so I have a lot of questions. And to be honest, people around here (in St. Louis) are so...um...passionate about their "side" that it's almost impossible to have a conversation about it. Like I said earlier, it's like politics...most people are so strongly attached to one side or the other that they fail to find any middle ground or even hear anything anyone on the other side has to say. I'm a middle child (between two sisters who couldn't be more different politically or personally) as well as a group process facilitator, to I really enjoy discussing all sides of an issue because I feel we all have something to learn.

I have two very good friends who live in Ferguson (just a few blocks from the destruction). My heart goes out to them and to all of the other residents of that city because so many parts of their community have been destroyed. It's an interesting place. 20 years ago, it was not known as a great place to live (by a longshot), but over the past 10 years or so, it has really been making a comeback. As you probably saw, there are some truly beautiful homes there, and many great businesses. I hope the people in this area can help it become better than ever when we are able to move forward from all of this.
 
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Yes, it's almost impossible to know where to begin. And I think that's a huge reason why people wind up resorting to non-peaceful measures. I have asked myself many times, "what lies between civil disobedience in this situation and violence?" I don't know the answer to that question. I really don't.

At any rate, I prefer beer!

And my heart also goes out to the people in Ferguson and to those around the world who struggle and stand by Ferguson.
 
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Amen!
 
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