By Rich Harwood
August 28, 2014
As events continue to unfold in Ferguson, Mo., there are three questions we must ask ourselves: What are we to make of what is happening there? How can Ferguson not be the victim of empty promises of aid and justice that so often come after tragic events? And how can the community productively move forward?
The events that occurred in Ferguson are chilling. Can anyone imagine a loved one being shot dead by police -- and then left in the middle of a street for four hours, as happened with 18-year-old Michael Brown? This terrible incident -- and subsequent violent protests and looting of stores -- were matched only by the militarized response of law enforcement and their escalating use of armored vehicles, advanced weapons, and heavy-handed tactics.
The facts surrounding Michael Brown's shooting remain in dispute. But this much we know: something went awfully awry on August 9, touching a deep and aggravated nerve in the community. No one questions that maintaining peace is a basic need in all communities. But not to respond to people's anger and frustration and pain is to deny the reality of their daily lives and risk further alienation in Ferguson and throughout our country.
A good society hears people's cries and responds.