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Saturday, August 23, 2014

WHAT HAPPENED IN FERGUSON?


WHAT HAPPENED IN FERGUSON?

A cranky opinion for

CRANKY OPINION SATURDAY

Many of my opinions are based on little or no knowledge of the subject opined.  This week follows that tradition.  What is the value in bloviating on a subject where there is no expertise to offer?  It at least serves to get out what many may be thinking.  So go ahead, trash my opinion and offer your own, please be somewhat respectful and no name calling…that means you, you big stupid head.

 

What happened in Ferguson Missouri?  Nobody knows for sure at this time, and with all the speculation and emotion I suspect the truth will never really be determined and or accepted.

A black teen was shot by a white police officer.  The teen turned out to be unarmed.  The officer was trying to question him regarding a robbery (video evidence seems to implicate the teen in this robbery.)  There was a scuffle, the teen ran, the officer called on him to stop, the teen according to some accounts turned and charged and the officer feeling threatened fired.  He fired at least six times and the teen was killed.

We may never confirm all the facts.  Several things I do believe are true.

 

A young teen whether guilty of a robbery or not, does not deserve to be killed.  We do not have a death penalty for robbery, especially when the crime has not been adjudicated.

The police officer felt threatened by the 6’ 4” 270 pound teen (There is some evidence indicating he suffered serious facial injury.)  Perhaps he shouldn’t have felt threatened, but apparently he did feel threatened.   Police officers have been killed by citizens resisting arrest.

 The guns used today by law enforcement fire rapidly.  The decision to use force often results in multiple shots fired in just seconds from a quick trigger mechanism.  Could a Taser have been an option?

Many of our countries neighborhoods do not trust and have no respect for the police.

Many police forces may not deserve the respect and trust of their community.

An all-white force in a predominantly black neighborhood is not going to engender respect and trust in the community.

What should we learn from this tragedy?

Police need to become more of a part of the neighborhood.  Officers should be recruited from the neighborhoods they will serve.

Police should be trained better to show more restraint.  Preventing a robbery or stopping a thief by killing is not acceptable.

Communities need to become more respectful of the police.  Young people need to curb their attitude.  Young people need to learn how to be questioned or arrested, that sounds ridiculous, but when an officer gives an order, people need to do as they are told, do not resist; let the officer know you are not a threat.  Put your hands in view; learn “Yes sir, no sir.”  If the stop is in error or not warranted it will be proved in due time.  (Unfortunately this is not always true, there are bad cops, and there sometimes is a “blue wall of silence.”)

Officers need to show respect to suspected perpetrators.  Do not use derogatory names, do not demean and do not use more force than necessary.  The police need to be consistent in this behavior.  They need to establish a reputation of being fair, and respectful, not abusive and bullying.

I don’t know what happened in Ferguson, but I suspect the incident was the result of years and years of bad public relations.  Years of police being the enemy, not being part of the community, and not always showing restraint.  If there was mutual respect between officers and the people they serve, these confrontations would be few and far between.

Where does the blame for Ferguson lay?  It is on the police too quick to overact; it is on the community that chooses to make the police the enemy; it is on the mutual lack of respect and understanding between the police and the community they serve.

There is no easy solution to this problem.  It will take years to develop and earn the mutual respect that has been missing for so long in this community and in many communities around the country; but the process needs to start now.

 

The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.

13 comments:

  1. I was a cop for 25 years. I won't weigh in with my thoughts. I'll let it go until the investigation is done, and still probably won't have an opinion. Too often the media is the judge, jury and executioner. We just don't know all the facts. And the truth here may never be known.

    Have a fabulous day. :)

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  2. your last paragraph summed it up well.

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  3. I do not know much about this incident but I did see an interview with some citizens from there and they made a good point "its not a race thing this is about police against the people"

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  4. I don't know all the facts but it's my understanding that tensions were simmering before the shooting. Only 6 % of blacks voted in the last election so the politicians are all white Republicans. I understand that blacks don't want to be involved with becoming police officers and they don't participate in city government, and therein lies the problem. A police force should reflect the ethnic makeup of the citizenry and that is not the case here. I wish people like Al Sharpton would stop capitalizing on situations like this and work to get more community involvement to prevent this type of thing from happening.

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    1. I agree with most of what you say here, not sure why you bring "Republican" into the picture, Missouri is pretty even in its political demographics, not that that should have any bearing on racial tensions. And a big Yes on Sharpton and others. Al Sharpton is a brilliant man, I wish he would use his intelligence more productively and less provocatively.

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  5. Very well analyzed, Joe. And, according to what I've read, Sharpton is being used as an intermediary with President Obama on this incident.

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  6. I can't add anything new to this, but I agree with you - we all need to show respect and common decency towards each other, and it has to start NOW.

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  7. I don't feel there is enough truth being told to make any judgments or learn anything meaningful from this mess. So far any clear statement of these events has had one or more verifiably inaccurate aspect(s) to it.

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  8. I totally agree with everything you wrote here. I hope the facts do come out and I hope justice is served if justice needs to be served, but at the end of the day, everyone's life involved in this will never be the same and a young man will eternally be mourned by those that love him.

    betty

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  9. I agree. I'm really dismayed over all the people who are so quick to pronounce guilt without ever hearing the evidence. Sort of makes a mockery of our judicial system, doesn't it?

    S

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  10. This is a very well thought out and accurate piece on the gulf between the police and the people they are to serve and protect. You have some great steps that should be taken. Well done Cranky.

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