Ferguson


I rarely do an extra blog post during the week, but I have a few things on my mind. We’ve been inundated with the news the last few days, the Michael Brown shooting up in Ferguson.

I’m going out on a limb here, and saying this is less about race than it is about respect. Before you hang me on that limb, I did NOT say it’s NOT about race. Look at what we know and have heard—the latter being purely subjective at this point.

Michael was a big guy, but by all accounts he was a super nice one. Haven’t heard anything bad about him, except that damn idiot who first posted Michael’s supposed Casenet record. I’m so mad about that I could knock that person upside the head. Hard. The “record” making the rounds was, yes, of a guy named Michael Brown. SO WHAT? There are probably 1000s of guys with that name, a dozen just in this area. Did anyone look at the details on that file? THAT guy lived in Troy, Missouri. Pretty odd for someone who just graduated from Normandy and was going to Vatterott.

THINK, people!

All that said, a witness stated that the officer reached out of his car window and grabbed Michael by the throat. Michael was over six feet tall. How does that work, exactly? Did the officer have freakishly long arms or something? A witness also said that the officer pulled his car around and blocked Michael and his friend from going anywhere—the officer pulled so close that when he opened the car door, it hit the boys and bounced back into the officer.

Really? If someone pulled a car that closely to a person, wouldn’t the person step back? I would.

A witness said that he was hunkered down behind a parked car, scared, hiding, but he counted the shots and therefore knows how many times Michael was shot.

Well, if I were in that situation, I’m almost certain I wouldn’t be counting very loud gunshots. I’d pray, I might scream, I’d probably pee my pants, but I doubt I’d be counting bullets.

Maybe it’s because I’m a white woman.

Yeah, so what? You can see that in my profile. No, I don’t know about driving while black or harassment by white officers. Or black officers. No, not at all.

But I do know about respect. I can understand that someone may not respect the police, or be afraid of them, or even actively hate them. Most of those who feel like this have a reason, and it may be a reason many of us can’t comprehend, purely race. Some of them have a reason because they’ve tangled with the police via a criminal charge. These, I believe, are the ones ranting and raving. I could be wrong.

Now, for myself, if I’m pulled over for any reason, I’m polite. If an officer asks me to do something or show my ID or whatever, I say, “Yes, sir,” and I do it.

If I had been walking down a street and an officer told me to move out of the street, to the sidewalk, which, as we’ve heard, is what happened, I’d do it. Probably add, “Sorry, officer.”

What did Michael Brown do?

As per his friend’s account, the one who was with him, they argued with the officer. They told him they were near their destination and kept walking down the street.

No, of course this isn’t justification to shoot anyone. It’s about respect. Like it or not, the police have the authority to tell you what to do, sometimes. If they tell you to do something, something innocuous like obey the law, you do it. Simple.

Let me repeat: you do NOT have to like it.

Did Michael Brown attack the officer? I don’t know. If he did, he absolutely should not have done so; that’s a given, and it goes back to respect. I’d think that common sense would play a factor too: police have guns. It’s the old saying, “Don’t bring a knife [or other weapon, such as your fist] to a gunfight.” Logic.

 

Let’s talk about the media. Good Lord. They do NOT know when to shut up. Yes, we’re grateful for the information, but please, stop already unless you have something new. It’s just like storm coverage—on and on and on, blah, blah, blah. Repeat, replay, over and over.

Those reporters who were arrested? Did you listen to the audio? I did. The guy ARGUED with the officer. Again, respect. Doesn’t mean the officer can smack him around, if that did indeed happen, but he argued and stalled—he did not comply with the first request. The CITY alderman who was arrested? Who is he and why was he even there? Oh, he’s a blogger too? Big whoop. Surely there are some CITY issues he could cover—probably not as much public interest there.

And social media. Holy smoke. Twitter is kind of, um, instant, you know? If you RT something that was posted two days ago, like a picture, people think it’s happening RIGHT NOW. OMG. Shut the hell up already.

And I’ve said this a million times at least, learn how to SPELL. You really look stupid, and trust me, there are a lot of people talking about this that don’t need any help looking stupid. No, I’m not talking about Ferguson residents, I’m talking about professional media types who should have a smidgen of education. See, here’s the thing: if you can’t speak properly, or write correct English, why should I listen to you or read what you have to say? If you’re too dumb to sound halfway intelligent, why should I believe that you know what you’re talking about?

I do NOT want the reporting to go away—I want to be informed, with true and accurate reporting and commentary, and I believe the underlying issues are very important. Very.damn.important.

 

And last, but MOST important: Michael’s family.

They are hurting. There isn’t a lot I can say about that, certainly nothing I can do. Regardless of what happened, they’re hurting. They’ve lost a son, brother, cousin, grandson. My heart hurts for them.

I have sons. I can only imagine, and as one of them is up near the area affected, I’m terrified. But if something were to happen to him, I really, really don’t think I’d start tearing up the town. I just don’t. And Michael’s family isn’t doing that either. How can you be more fired up than they are? I think someone said that in a speech recently . . .

So I can say something else: stop the insanity. Grieve with them, for them. You can be angry—but no one said you have to act in anger, out of anger, and do things that will also hurt others. Yes, you might want to strike out, but have some control. Talking doesn’t do much, true, not right away; it’s not an instant fix, but many, many things in the world are not instant. Sometimes, it takes years. Decades.

YOU can make a difference, and it’s not by rioting and looting or shouting or threatening. It’s by talking, writing, learning and teaching. You CAN do it. Really, yes. It’s a mindset, a commitment. It’s something we all have to do, in order to accomplish great things, even mundane sounding things in our everyday lives.

You’re already making a point, by peacefully protesting. No one said it had to be 24/7 because you know why? Because at night is when things get bad. Go home then. Go home to your families, have dinner, tuck the kids into bed at a decent hour. I know, I’ve read, most crime occurs in the dark—look it up. Why would you want to expose yourself to more crime, more injury, more death?

No, Michael wasn’t shot at night. Sure, crime happens in the daytime too. But there’s been no rioting during the day this week. No real danger. Nighttime just makes everything worse.

Control, commitment, change. And respect. Remember that.

You want to talk to me? Message me. I’d be happy to sit down and have a discussion with anyone. Anyone at all. I mean that.

Note: I’ve heard things. We all have. The people who would actually know what’s going on are those in the thick of it—and many of them are simply stirring the pot, and fueling the fire, and every other cliché you can think of. They want sensationalism. They are the CAUSE of the sensationalism. Why should we believe what they say? They want it to keep going.

 

 

 

 

Prep Monday—Why Are You Prepping?


Two big things in the news lately: internationally, the Ebola breakout, and almost-nationally, an incident here in St. Louis yesterday.

There are many, many articles on the web about how to protect yourself from Ebola, so I’m not going to cover that specifically—the best advice is to isolate yourself if the disease makes it way to your area. And that, of course, requires being prepared.

In north St. Louis County, yesterday afternoon, a young man was shot and killed by a police officer. Those are the bare facts. There are all kinds of comments, statements, speculation, and so forth flying around the Internet, but it boils down to this: no one knows the whole story. Yet.

The aftermath, however, was pretty cut and dried—a large group of people, some news accounts say 100 or more, gathered in the immediate area after the shooting. Shots rang out in the crowd, but no one else was hurt or killed. Police from several jurisdictions arrived, some with riot gear and heavy-duty weapons, and people shouted, “Kill the police!” Things eventually calmed down, with no further incidents.

Google it if you’d like more information—the details aren’t relevant to my topic today.

What would you do in a situation like this, if you lived nearby?

I’d stay inside, doors locked and secured however I could do so, and be prepared for home defense. I’m sure many or most of you would also choose this option over joining the mob—and I use that in the sense of a dictionary definition of “large group of angry people.”

How long could you last?

These folks eventually left and went to their homes, presumably, after many hours; at least midnight or so is my understanding. Surely, if you prep at all, you could have lasted six or eight or ten hours, barricaded in your home.

But what if they hadn’t all left? What if the crowd grew? What if the crowd became violent towards others, or began destroying property? How long could you stay inside? If the police acted to quell the situation, would you be safe or become collateral damage?

In many neighborhoods, this is a valid question; in others, not so much. In other words, in some places an incident such is this is highly unlikely, but that doesn’t mean impossible.

Picture it: a nice, suburban area; many neighbors are at least passingly familiar with faces and who lives in which home. An occasional speeder on the main drag, maybe a few mailboxes smashed here and there, but mostly quiet and safe.

And then. Perhaps a police chase through the area, perhaps an escaped mental patient; maybe a crime wave, with weapons and murder or—just about anything. It can happen. Has happened.

Chances are, in a suburban area, your utility systems would remain in place. Unless they didn’t. Then what? Could you manage? Enough water, ways to stay cool or warm, enough food? What if it was unsafe to leave your house for several days?

What does this have to do with Ebola? Same principle, different reason. With a pandemic, an outbreak, the common wisdom is to isolate yourself. You’re protecting your family from illness and probably death, instead of guns and crazies and the possibility of death. Either way, hunkering down and waiting it out are your best options.

People who prep aren’t nutjobs, necessarily; they’re just ready, prepared, for anything that could happen. You should be, too.