Hatred is big business. Just look around. I guess it is human nature to focus on the things that make us different from one another. The problem is that a lot of people have figured out that they can make a living by playing on those differences. Wars have been fought over our different religions, different skin colors, different languages, political differences, different economic systems. There is no doubt that war is big business, but the hate-mongers don’t stop there. They look for every opportunity to hyperbolize the differences between us, convince some of us that we are victims because of those differences, and then make a profit off of the resulting conflicts.
The situation in Ferguson, Missouri and the resulting riots, protests, and civil disorder are good examples.
Please know that I am sorry that Michael Brown lost his life. As a parent, it pains me that a mother lost her child. As a Christian it pains me that one of God’s children met an untimely death. However, blaming the police and claiming that Michael lost his life because of his skin color is just wrong.
Civilized societies have to have rules – and someone has to enforce them. Michael Brown failed to follow the rules and then fought with the person whose job it was to impose them. Calling Officer Wilson a racist because he did his job is nothing more than opportunists taking advantage of a tragedy.
Someone failed Michael. They failed to teach him some simple truths about living in a civilized society:
- It is not okay to steal
- It is not okay to rob
- It is not okay to use illegal drugs
- It is not okay to bully people just because you can
- The rules still apply to you no matter how big you are
- The rules still apply to you no matter what your skin color is
- The rules still apply to you no matter what your social status is
- It is not okay to assault a police officer
But let’s be clear: it was not Officer Wilson who failed to teach Michael those truths. He was simply trying to enforce the laws that help maintain public safety.
The riots and mayhem that have occurred – first after the shooting itself and then after the grand jury ruled that Officer Wilson did not break any laws – are the result of a whole lot of other individuals not being taught some of the same rules. President Obama tried to remind us all in the hours leading up to the announcement of the decision. He went on national television and said that “it is not okay to riot. It is not okay to burn buildings and torch vehicles. It is not okay to assault the police.”
Sadly, all of those things happened anyway. The rioters were told by other influential people that it is okay to commit crimes – assault, arson, looting, etc., – as long as you claim you are doing so because the police are racists.
Racism is wrong in every form or fashion. The offenders are not always white and the victims are not always black. We all need to combat racism vigilantly – not try to make profits off it. One way to fight it is to make sure that all of our children are being taught to obey the rules.
Until we all learn to live by the rules, someone has to take on the thankless job of enforcing them. And we should all thank God that there are still men and women like Officer Wilson who are willing to take on that task.