Disclaimer: I honestly have not followed this situation beyond reading headlines. However, I feel I know enough to adequately make this soap box statement. My opinion on the grand jury verdict is irrelevant to this post.
In some instances, public discord could be necessary. Our country was founded on the principle of standing up for what was believed to be right and true. However, anarchy, chaos and needless destruction are senseless. They do nothing to better the cause. Ferguson is no exception.
That is my beef with the situation in Ferguson, Missouri. The ruling of the grand jury last night incited many individuals to throw caution to the wind and ensue mayhem. Logic is a lost concept in Ferguson. The fact there was a grand jury compiled of a multi-racial group of peers (source) proves that our nation’s judicial system worked effectively. Now, to say that does not mean everyone needs to be in agreement with the outcome. But it needs to be accepted.
Yet, since when does disagreeing with someone, or in this case, 12 someones provide a free pass for property destruction, especially against innocents? Dozens of buildings and vehicles were destroyed by arson, gunshots were fired, bricks were thrown. These acts of rebellion and violence won’t bring Michael Brown back from the dead. They won’t change the verdict handed down by the grand jury. They won’t reduce the presence of the police and National Guard.
Michael Brown’s own mother was quoted as saying, “Let’s not just make noise. Let’s make a difference.” (source) Essentially destroying the town is not going to improve the situation but make it worse. It will hurt the economy of the town, it will damage the morale, and more people will be harmed.
The citizens of Ferguson have forgotten what it’s like to be a good neighbor, to follow the Golden Rule. Yes, it sounds cliché but in this situation it needs to be said. Instead of throwing bricks and torches, the citizens of Ferguson should pick up a broom and help sweep the broken glass. Grab a hammer and help hang plywood. Pick up a basketball or a textbook and help underprivileged youth through an after school program, tutoring or perhaps as a Big Brother or Big Sister. There are countless ways the people of Ferguson can provide their time to improve the situation and rebuild the town, from the inside out.
Making a positive contribution to the community will have a more far-reaching effect on the overall state of the situation, and last longer than the results of rioting. Titus 3:2 implores us to, “Speak evil of no one, … be peaceable, gentile, showing all humility to all men.”
Take a look around, Ferguson. Have you really improved the situation and bettered your community by allowing your anger to control your reaction?