I write this letter to you not as expert on the Michael Brown case, but simply as a concerned and frightened outsider looking in. I do not pretend nor claim to know what you're feeling. What Michael Brown's death means to you is something that only you truly know. You're entitled to your feelings on this tragic event and no one should ever tell you how YOU can or cannot feel right now. No one.
What I can tell you though, is that the actions of some of your citizens make me question what the real heart of the matter is on this case. I can understand sadness. I get heartache. Anger? Of course. If you do not agree with the verdict, I totally get anger. Confusion? Absolutely. Pure hatred? I don't see it. Disregard for innocent bystanders whose businesses and livelihood you just took away in your rage? I just can't fathom. Complete anarchy? Theft and robbery? Not for one second. You have crossed the line from being entitled to your feelings to acting out on them and inflicting pain on those around you, and that, I CAN tell you, is just not right.
As I sat in my still and dimly lit living room at 3:30am with my 3 month old son, I couldn't help but shake my head in sadness and defeat as I watched your rapidly growing turmoil unfold. It was as though I was watching a war zone in another country. How can this be? How can a group of individuals wage complete war on an already grieving community? How is any of this doing anything but more harm? How has the victim's mother urged you to implement peace, and your response is with fire and theft and bodily harm? She is the who lost a son, brother, friend, cousin, etc... Why aren't you listening?! Is this truly about him or is this about you?
I will not weigh in on my thoughts on the verdict, and to be honest, I'm not sure I have an opinion as I have not seen any of the evidence myself. What I will weigh in on is how your actions have destroyed the American dream for so many of your innocent peers. You have broken into their places of business, you have destroyed their property that they worked so hard for and paid for out of their own wallets, you have taken away jobs from those who will not have a place of business to report to this morning, and for what? What have you proved? How have you helped strengthen Michael Brown's legacy? Because, after all, isn't this what your protesting should be about?
This morning in Ferguson there is no school for your youth. No school for your leaders of tomorrow because it's not safe for them to be outside of their homes. How is your "protesting" the lack of safety and fairness of one individual worth more than the safety of ALL of your children and teens? What message are you sending to your littles? The message that it's totally acceptable to unleash extreme anarchy when our judicial system is not in line with your own personal opinion? The message that if someone wrongs you, you can go out and destroy someone else's livelihood regardless of whether or not they're at all involved?
I'm no expert, but that grand jury knew that you'd be awaiting their verdict and with a verdict of this nature, you'd be ready to unleash a fury on Ferguson like no other. That alone makes me think that they most likely weighed every angle and every piece of evidence, probably multiple times, to ensure that they felt confident in their decision. They could've easily indicted Officer Wilson to avoid your actions. I believe what they did was pretty courageous (again not knowing the hard facts). Me? I'm not sure as I wife and mother that I would've been that courageous. I may have voted to pass the buck and go to trial simply to avoid your resistance on my hometown and my safety.
In a matter of hours, you have made me sad, angry, frightened and ironically, a bit thankful. You allowed me a very raw and honest moment where I hugged my new son that might tighter as you lived out your actions on my TV screen and I promised my son to do my part to ensure that he grows up in a home where there is a difference between right and wrong, and where that difference is known and lived out on a daily basis. You've given me a first hand example of every parent's mantra of "two wrongs don't make a right". I don't know that I've ever witnessed such a strong example of that before last night. You've shaken my sense of security a bit and may cause me to keep my son that much closer, and you've made me extremely sad for Michael Brown's family who now has to deal with the loss of their son and the loss of the safety of their community. I'm guessing that momma's heart is extremely heavy right now. I know mine is.
I'll be praying for you, Ferguson.