Dr. Ben Carson
The international spotlight has recently been shining on Ferguson, Mo., after an 18-year-old black man was fatally shot by a white police officer. There was massive national and international media coverage, much of it engendered by the tantalizing thought that here was a clear-cut case of racism leading to police brutality and indicative of the evil inherent in American society. Violent demonstrations and riots ensued, with massive property damage and many outside agitators descending on the town, supposedly to guarantee justice as defined by mob mentality.

Perhaps it would be useful to examine the tragedy with the facts on the table rather than through the lenses of hypersensitized emotions stimulated by those attempting to exploit the situation.

Michael Brown was 6-foot-4 and 290 pounds. He had marijuana in his system and was purportedly involved in a strong-arm robbery prior to the shooting. He and a companion were walking in the middle of the street and obstructing traffic and therefore were admonished by a police officer to move to the sidewalk. Brown, who may have been pharmacologically impaired, became belligerent, and the ensuing struggle produced facial trauma and an orbital fracture of the police officer's face. The officer, who may have been dazed by a blow to the cranium severe enough to produce a fracture, attempted to apprehend the assailant, and shots were fired, six of which struck the suspect, resulting in a fatality.

Regardless of one's position on the political spectrum, we can all agree that this was a horrible tragedy and needless discarding of a precious life. How could this have been avoided? Two obvious answers: The officer could have ignored his duty and backed off when it became apparent that his instructions would not be followed, thereby avoiding a confrontation, or Brown could have complied with the officer's instructions, according to his civic duties.

If police officers generally adopted the first solution, chaos would reign supreme in all of our streets. If the populace generally adopted the second solution, there would be even fewer incidents of police violence. Last year, 100 black males were killed by police in the United States. In the same year, 5,000 blacks were killed by other blacks, the vast majority being males. Could it be that we are erroneously being manipulated into making this incident a racial issue, when, in fact, it is a component of a much larger social issue?