If you say that we should have an "honest" discussion about what's going on in Ferguson, it makes people think that hard truths are going to be spoken and we're all going to deeply disagree.
But, what if the dirty little secret is that MOST people, black and white, liberal and conservative, are actually on pretty much the same page about the shooting of Mike Brown?
If Mike Brown surrendered to that officer and the policeman shot him anyway, like every conservative I know, I want that cop to do hard time for it. However, I do think we should find out everything that happened before we render judgment on the situation. "Justice" in this situation may mean that the police officer ends up in jail because he shot Mike Brown after he surrendered. On the other hand, "justice" may mean an acknowledgment that the officer was justified in shooting Mike Brown because Brown was aggressively running towards him after getting in a struggle for his gun. That’s why we have trials -- so we can find out what really happened in cases like this instead of judging it via rumors and wild accusations on Twitter. Hopefully, the idea that this should be sorted out in a courtroom isn’t a big area of disagreement for most Americans, black or white.
Now, some people might say white people don't get upset about black men being shot by the police. That's generally true. But, in all fairness, we don't get upset about white men being shot by the police either. If some white kid who gets high and robs a convenience store gets shot tomorrow, there aren't going to be any white protests over it.That doesn't mean it’s okay for the police to fire at will. I think it’s appropriate to take the police to task if they shoot a DOG unnecessarily; so you bet it’s not okay for them to blow away a human being without good cause. Policemen do incredibly difficult work and they deserve a lot of respect for that, but they also have to be held to the highest standards so they have the moral authority to do their job.
As to peaceful protests, conservatives absolutely support the right of every American to assemble and protest without police harassment. Whether you're protesting a shooting by a police officer, at a Tea Party or at an anti-war protest, as long you're obeying the law you shouldn't have weapons pointed at you and you deserve to be treated with respect by the police.
The police should use as little force as possible, but as much force as is necessary to deal with thugs who riot, loot, or attack them. Some people might get the impression from loud mouths on Twitter that there is widespread support for that kind of inexcusable criminal behavior, but I don’t believe that’s true. For example, in Ferguson, Mike Brown's father has called for peace.
"We don't want no violence. Michael would have wanted no violence. We need justice for our son."
Mike Brown’s cousin also put out a strong statement against the violence on behalf of the family.
“I just want everyone to know and understand that the stealing and breaking in stores is not what Mike would want, it is very upsetting to me and my family. Our family didn’t ask for this but for justice and peace…. Please let my family grieve in Peace (and) stop the violence in the street tonight, we don’t want this happening when we protest for justice for my cousin Mike Brown, please get this message out to the people that the Mike Brown family do not want this.”
Some of the peaceful protesters have even stood guard to protect stores from looters.
Perhaps most surprisingly, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton haven’t gotten warm welcomes. Apparently, there are a lot of people who don’t appreciate their showing up and polarizing everyone for fun and profit. Jesse Jackson was booed in Ferguson after asking a crowd for donations and Sharpton got an even rougher reception.
Reports of protestors’ statements poured in on Twitter Wednesday, from Andy Carvin , Ryan J. Reilly , Anonymous , and others. Carvin reported that one protestor yelled, “Obama, you have done nothing! We need you! You haven’t changed anything! F*ck y’all!” While Anonymous wrote that people were “p*ssed at Obama and Al Sharpton” and quoted rallyers saying they “didn’t do sh*t for us” and “F*** Sharpton.”
This isn’t just happening in Ferguson either.
CNN contributor LZ Granderson hammered Sharpton this week-end.
“I think the black community does a disservice to itself when it allows charlatans to come into these situations, make a name for themselves and then evacuate the situation. The situation in Duke, for instance, with the lacrosse players — we rushed in, automatically assumed the black woman was right and that all these white males on the lacrosse team were wrong. When we found out that she was lying, there was no apology, there was no recognition of the lie, we just moved on, and that left (a) bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths.”
At the end of the day, if we’re all Americans, we support peaceful protesters, we oppose rioters and looters and we think the officer who was involved should go to jail if he shot Mike Brown after he surrendered, then we agree on 95 percent of what matters. Sure, we can always find SOMETHING to disagree about, but there’s a man dead, there are parents grieving and there are good people in Ferguson who’ve had their lives turned upside down – so maybe we should emphasize where we’re on the same page instead of looking for any excuse to divide each other.