We are all very saddened by the death of yet another young black teenager. I wish there was this national and even global attention given to the senseless loss of another teenager – of any race.
As I pondered the news coverage and the prosecutor’s press conference it became clear to me what really caused Michael Brown’s death…..he did.
Before you grab a stone and get ready to throw, hear me out. Yes, a policeman shot him several times. Yes, he was a black teen and black teens are often profiled and treated wrongly – but the truth remains….
If Michael had done what the vast majority of law-abiding teenagers, of any race, would have done, he would be alive today. The typical teenager in America would not have robbed a convenience store and roughed up the store owner. The typical American teenager would have responded with respect and obeyed a police officer’s request to stop and talk with him. The typical American teenager would not have reached inside a police car and physically assaulted an officer of the law, nor fled when told to halt, and then approached the officer again n a threatening manner. These are all facts that were investigated and corroborated by witnesses, both black and white.
Who does things like these?
A person, teen or adult, who does not have any respect for another human being, or their place of business, or their authority, or for human life. A person who thinks they are above the law and can do as they please in life. This person is not the normal, everyday American teenager, or adult.
What would have happened if Michael Brown would have paid for his merchandise at the convenience store? What would have happened if he had simply obeyed the officer’s request to move out of the street, and then respectfully engaged the officer in conversation.? In my opinion – absolutely nothing. He, like most American teenagers, would have simply walked home to live another day.
What happened in Ferguson is a tragedy. There are many problems in our system that need to be addressed moving forward, but the primary one is this: families of all races need to instill in their young people a deep respect for others, their property and their lives. They need to teach and model respect for authority, whether at school, public servant or simply an elder. Without this significant shift in the American family, I am afraid our nation is doomed to repeat tragedies like this one in neighborhood after neighborhood regardless of color.
The burden to change our nation and change the future for far too many teenagers – rests with their parents and grandparents. Values such as these mentioned earlier are not taught in our schools any longer, so they must be taught and caught at home, from an early age. These values cannot be legislated or legalized by the courts; they cannot be changed by celebrity endorsement, or special interest groups, or politicians – they have nothing to do with being oppressed or opportunity or with race or religion. Values like respect and honor (not to mention many others) are best passed down from generation to generation – and it seems to me – something is missing today.
BUT, every parent will tell you that in spite of their best efforts at training/modeling – young adults will ultimately make their own choices. If my son drinks too much and runs over someone on a city street on the way home it is no one else’s fault but his own; not his parents, not the bar owner, not the beverage company – he made the choice and must suffer the consequences. Tragedy? Absolutely! Preventable? Yes.
Michael Brown was indeed a victim; but ultimately, he was a victim of his own choices.
God bless the Brown family in their time of loss.