Monday, December 01, 2014

[repay violence with violence]

Michael Brown's family. Photo via

Since Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot to death by Darren Wilson, a police officer, in Ferguson Missouri this past summer (Aug 9, 2014),

since that time,

and more since since the grand jury decided not to indict Wilson (Nov 24, 2014),

I have occasionally had the following thought pop into my head:

On a happy sunny day, a sniper (a white sniper, to avoid increasing racial violence) should take out Wilson's teenage son as he's walking down the street on his way home from school.

And today, only today, after reading an article by Suzanne Ross (see below), I'm thinking,

"Did I seriously wish that?

How do I -- the guy with this blog about embracing people instead of excluding them -- wish that someone would kill Wilson's kid? And to take so long to realize what I'm wishing....

For starters, his son is as valuable as Michael Brown and also deserves to live a life free of violence. Of course, in a country with systemic racism, the opposite is the reality: Wilson's son is considered as worthy of having a life free of violence, and Michael Brown just doesn't matter....

so perhaps I'm reacting in an equal and opposite way.

But as a follower of Jesus, I should see all lives as being valued and equally deserving a life free of violence, regardless.

Secondly, I really don't know what happened in Ferguson. I don't truly know whether or not Darren Wilson should have been indicted, though I'd bet that he should have been (based on how the systemic racism overall protects and values whites, etc.). But I wasn't there, I haven't read the court transcripts, I don't know.

But you know, if I as a white guy in Canada, without any personal connection to anyone in Missouri, can get this feeling,

can get this angry about what happened,

and this feeling stays in my head uncritically for quite some time,

maybe I understand in a very small way that some black people in Ferguson might have similar feelings, might have such rage inside about what happened and what's been happening for centuries...

and understand in a very small way how difficult it might be for them to respond non-violently....

and yet that is the challenge, isn't it?

And that's what Michael Brown's parents were calling for:
We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction.

Suzanne Ross' article, The Shooting Death of Michael Brown: A Necessary Evil or Just Plain Murder? addressed two things:

  1. The use of "good" violence to control "bad" violence (including the topic of justified killing versus murder).
  2. And how we are increasingly "losing faith" in the use of "sacred" violence.

Read her article for yourself.

Note: I am aware that Mr. Wilson and his wife are expecting but do not have any outsie kids yet.

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