Of course, I didn't sit on the grand jury. I didn't get to hear the evidence presented on both sides, the witnesses, the instructions. I read the news stories, saw the grieving parents, watched the videos of police harassment of journalists and protestors ... and the reports of people coming into town to stir the anger pot. So, I probably wouldn't have been chosen to sit, as I have some clearly defined ideas and beliefs. My father's side of the family was from Kentucky, and I actually have a great deal of pride in those roots. But I am also a bleeding heart liberal who has lived in the south and witnessed racism firsthand. I have seen black people harassed and goaded by the police. I have had friends of color who had to teach their children how to respond to those police, because they were afraid that without that knowledge their kids wouldn't come home.
When they announced the decision, I did a terrible thing that I have begged my children not to do. I peeked at several comments posted online under the news articles so I could get a sense of some of the immediate reactions. Nothing makes you more likely to question humanity than public comments posted under a contentious topic. Here's a couple choice ones:
- "There never was a case in the first place and now the TRUTH comes out, This is media driven garbage. But it wont stop the idiots from burning and looting their own community. Its just a bunch of uneducated, poorly raised, what can I get out of this for me people. 99.9% could care less about Brown, its just a reason to act up like the animals that they are."
- "How to honor a punk? one will burn down a town? I agree with the decision, He was a PUNK A COCKROACH, JUST THINK HE WILL NO BE MAKING LITTLE COCKROACHES. Now that a good thing."
- "You know what is sad...we listen to Obama spew rhetoric from his moronic volcano mouth about being with the family of the man who first stole, than beat up a small store owner trying to protect his store, and finally beat the living s$#t out of the POLICE OFFICER DOING HIS JOB. What about the officer and his family. What about their lives that have been ruined by this. It's amazing how people act like animals when they don't get their way....but to be perfectly honest, it would have happened regardless of the verdict. Just a way to destroy honest citizens stores, steal, and act like savages.
- "So im tired of being politically correct. If you as a black person are not happy then go back to Your origins. By the way all the racist comments that Emporer Obama is making isn't helping and by the way again Emporer Obama is trying to do more for Latino's than the black man. African American's are a very small minority and after all the Latino's are legitimized African American's will be even a smaller minority. Tired of all of them and their crying about how bad they got it. Elect a black American and they still aren't happy. They never will be."
The rioting has already begun, and I'm sure it's not going to be pretty. For some people, they will feel validated in their opinions by it. Many other people will beg for peace and calm, for the constructive channeling of anger and frustration into action. A million miles away from the fray, I have this sense of hopelessness ... that no matter how far we think we've come, we've barely moved an inch. What world have I brought my children into?