What Ferguson Means for Us

Tanya Calvin Editorials Editor  On November 24th, a grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown in August. Unrest and chaos followed the announcement and continued throughout Thanksgiving weekend. Mr. Graf asked our community to be understanding and respectful in light of the recent events in Ferguson. I ask that we do more than just that. Politeness is not what this country needs right now. What it needs is a generation of intelligent and passionate citizens who will address the problems in society instead of letting them worsen. It doesn’t matter what “side” you’re on in terms of Mike Brown’s death and the events following; what matters is that you’re aware of the facts and have enough courage to speak out about it. A young man was shot and killed—that alone shows that something isn’t right about what’s happening in America. If that isn’t enough, maybe these numbers are. In the first six months of 2014, 27 citizens were shot by police. From 2009 to 2013, 75.3% of people shot by police were black. The only information we have about how many civilians were killed by police across the nation comes from independent trackers because the government keeps unreliable data (the Justice Department allows law enforcement agencies to self-report numbers, which are often skewed in the process). They say that the number of civilians killed by police is about 1,000 a year. The problem isn’t the fault of individual police officers. The problem is the system that has been in place since the beginning of America’s history that pits the law against its own citizens. We’ve seen it in the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, and we’re seeing it again now. There is something terrible happening in America, whether you choose to see it or not. It is our responsibility as citizens of a democracy to be active in the way our country is run, to be a part of the action that will transform this country. Educate yourself, respect other ideas, and put your voice to action.   For further reading, please visit the following websites: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/09/08/how-many-police-shootings-a-year-no-one-knows/ http://wechargegenocide.org/  ]]>