But not in Ferguson, Missouri. Facts and the truth of those facts was obliterated by emotional rhetoric – the rhetoric of President Obama and Attorney General Holder. Their understandable but imprudent empathy impelled them to sympathize. They forgot or chose to ignore that their national positions and the words they used would have a tremendous impact. Sensation seeking black leaders such as Al Sharpton deliberately inserted themselves and used these situations to further their ambitions. The national media mouthed an unending mantra depicting an unarmed, innocent, young black man shot to death by a racist, hate-filled, white police officer designed to further inflame.
Yet a grand jury composed of 7 men and 5 women, 9 of whom are white and 3 of whom are black made a reasoned decision, based on facts not immediately available to the general public, and did not indict the officer. Grand juries may vary from state to state but generally they have broader powers than that of a jury one would see in a trial. Generally they can directly ask further questions of testifying witnesses and can make requests for evidence that may not have been directly introduced. They have the power to review any and all material presented to them. They can recall witnesses for further questioning.
The Ferguson grand jury met 25 times on the case of the Officer Darren Wilson charges. Think about it. In terms of a 5 day work week they met for the equivalent of 5 weeks. That action, in itself, is extraordinary. They made their decision despite their concerns that their action could further infuriate the black community.
The residents of Ferguson, Missouri are now victims as well. They are in the epicenter of a whirlwind not of their making. No parent should ever have to bury a child and our hearts go out to the parents of Michael Brown. Yet in their fog of loss they inflamed the assembled mob to riot. The step father repeatedly told the crowd to “burn the bitch down.” The mob obeyed.
Two dozen small businesses were destroyed, cars were set on fire and gunfire erupted. One black resident likened it to Beruit. Businesses earn about 70% of their annual revenue during the holiday season. Small business owners watched helplessly as their livelihoods evaporated in an instant of gleeful mob rampage. All who worked at these businesses no longer have jobs…and Thanksgiving is a few days away. What will they give thanks for? What will their Christmas be this year?
There is yet more blame and shame. Where was the Missouri national guard on the night of the grand jury verdict? Why didn’t Missouri Governor Nixon call them up immediately? He had three months to prepare for such an eventuality.
There is a silent, subtle war occurring in America but it is not what you think. Here are some sobering facts. In a 2007 special report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, about 8,000 blacks are murdered annually. Sadly, that is more than the 6,500 troops killed in Afghanistan this year. 93% of these black murders are committed by other blacks. Black on black violence and murder is a national disgrace. Where is national black leadership to lead the fight on America’s unspoken war?
© Joyce Clark, 2014
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