The Ferguson grand jury decision has sparked nationwide protests and cases of looting and violence. Thousands of people marched on the streets right after the verdict of not indicting Darren Wilson on the case was laid down.
Some of them ignored the evening's low temperature and presence of light snow as they stormed out on the streets. While some demonstrations were carried out peacefully, there were a few cases when the police had to make some arrests on those which went beyond what is tolerable.
It can be assumed that the Ferguson case may be the most talked about case of the year. Since that fateful day in August in Ferguson, Mo., when teenager Michael Brown was shot by police officer Darren Wilson after a brief physical struggle, private individuals, groups, and the media have followed the case with increasing fervor.
The court's decision was announced in the evening of Nov. 24. It is perhaps the most powerful court decision to date which has reminded people of when race and color were used to define a person's worth. It has also ignited the public's growing discontentment and mistrust of the police system due to cases of police brutality and inequality in law implementation.
At that time when the court decision on Ferguson came out, Benjamin Watson, a tight end, was preparing for a football game where his team, the New Orleans Saints, had to compete against Maryland's Baltimore Ravens. The NFL player and father of four expressed how he felt on the decision by posting on Facebook upon coming home from the game.
The post now has more than 780,000 likes and has been shared more than 430,000 times. Watson expressed feelings of anger, frustration, fear, embarrassment, sadness, sympathy, offense, confusion, introspection, hopelessness, hopefulness, and encouragement in his post, which has earned a number of positive comments and admiration from people of all walks of life.
In the post, Watson wrote:
At some point while I was playing or preparing to play Monday Night Football, the news broke about the Ferguson Decision. After trying to figure out how I felt, I decided to write it down. Here are my thoughts:
I'M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.
I'M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios.
I'M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I'm a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a "threat" to those who don't know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.
I'M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.
I'M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.
I'M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn't there so I don't know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.
I'M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I've seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.
I'M CONFUSED, because I don't know why it's so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don't know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.
I'M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take "our" side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it's us against them. Sometimes I'm just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that's not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That's not right.
I'M HOPELESS, because I've lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I'm not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.
I'M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it's a beautiful thing.
I'M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I'M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that's capable of looking past the outward and seeing what's truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It's the Gospel. So, finally, I'M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.