I wasn’t going to comment on this. I wasn’t going to blog about this but I just can’t stop thinking about it. I get up every morning and read about the violence, looting, protests, militarization of the police… and go about my day in an area where everything seems to be normal as always. Life here is so not normal though.
I may be miles and miles from Ferguson but that doesn’t mean I’m untouched by what’s happening. A friend from high school lives in Ferguson with his family, his kids have yet to go back to school due to all of this. My sister-in-law, a police officer, has been called up to assist with the situation. My uncle, also a police officer, has been placed on call with the possibility of being called up to help. A fellow teacher’s husband is one of the officer’s that has been up there several nights. My brother works at a large outdoor store, last week there was rumors online of people hitting stores selling guns, his store is nowhere near Ferguson and yet County police were in and out all night to keep an eye on the place.
The national media is here, celebrities are commenting on what’s happening, the eye of the country is focused on my hometown. Yes I say my hometown because I’m a native of the St. Louis Metropolitan area. Ask anyone from one of the suburbs where they’re from and their initial response will be St. Louis, the follow up question might be what town, or which city, but more likely as joked about in a Pizza Hut commercial years ago when they made St. Louis style thin crust pizza the follow-up is “where’d you go to high school?” For me it’s always been a way to connect with others, “oh hey I knew __________ that went there” or “oh isn’t ____________ restaurant, store, whatever there I love that place” I’ve heard St. Louis referred to as a large city with a small town feel. I love that, maybe that’s why everyone here seems to know someone in Ferguson or someone involved in some way.
StL has long been in the top 10 most dangerous cities in the country list, yet most people outside of the city wouldn’t know that, well before now they wouldn’t.
I’m sad to see what is happening. This whole thing is a tragedy. I don’t care how you feel, protest all you want you have that right as long as it stays peaceful. You have your right to be heard. You have the right to express concerns of racism, to request transparency and a complete investigation. I respect those that are exercising those rights peacefully. However the looting, shooting at officers, throwing molotov cocktails??? I’m at a loss, Mike Brown’s family has asked for it to stop and yet it doesn’t. I don’t see how people think this is helping? Take your opportunism elsewhere and leave those that are protesting peacefully to do just that.
I hate to see what’s happening and I worry what will happen the longer this goes on. How many more people will be hurt? How many more businesses will be looted? When will this end? Will this end? Will the kids in that area ever get to go back to school?
My thoughts and prayers go out to Michael Brown’s family as they grieve, to Officer Wilson and his family, and to my city in general. I can only hope that somehow we can heal and grow from this.