Countless commentaries will be written over the next several weeks concerning Michael Brown, Officer Darren Wilson, and whether or not “justice” was served. Some will focus on a young man shot down with his whole life still ahead of him. Some will focus on a police officer who did his duty to serve and protect, yet was almost offered as a sacrificial lamb to the god of mob violence. Some will focus on rioters who somehow think that burning down a neighborhood is a good way to express their protest against violence. Experts will be sought for interviews; those who claim to have witnessed the incident will get their fifteen minutes of fame.
The only angle that will be lost is the opportunity to have squeezed some good out of this tragedy.
Black leaders and pastors in the St. Louis area are still declaring that the “fight” isn’t over, and they will continue to make everyone’s life more difficult until they get what they want. Like a two year old who throws a temper tantrum, they believe their attention grabbing antics will get them something they perceive to be good, at the expense of everyone else. What if instead of canonizing Michael Brown as some kind of hero, they were to just tell the truth?
To turn a criminal into a hero is to help perpetuate the thug culture that so many young black teenagers find themselves drawn into today. Michael Brown did indeed have his whole life ahead of him. He had parents who loved him, friends who hung out with him, and plans for the future. He was not unlike many young people today. However, Michael Brown made some poor choices in how he lived life … and poor choices often have dire consequences. Michael made a choice to rob a store that morning. He chose to walk in the middle of the street and refuse to use the sidewalk when an authority confronted him. He chose to fight an officer of the law and reach for his gun. Finally, he chose to rush the officer one last time, rather than just surrender or even just escape. Michael Brown’s choices ended his life. They also led to his parents being devastated and have given an opening for others to make choices to destroy property that doesn’t even belong to them and harass innocent people.
Instead of taking this opportunity to tell the youth of America, “This is what you should not do, and here is why,” black leaders and pastors are instead seeking to keep the anger going by ignoring the facts and reason, thereby continuing to induct more young men into their angry club, rather than point the way to a good and productive life. Opportunity lost, nothing gained.