Opinion: Ferguson: Wrong on many levels

The unfortunate, multi-faceted sadness that is Ferguson, Mo., has brought so much angst and confusion in recent days. We have to believe no one wanted to see anyone killed, and we also have to believe no one wanted order disrupted in the Midwest town. In looking for any positive to come out of the whole mess – and it is a mess – we found two, one in Ferguson and one in Indianapolis. With the former, the parents of the late Michael Brown, who was gunned down by police, vociferously urged that the violence and looting cease immediately. These folks were dealing with the loss of a son, and yet they had the fortitude to step up and make a bold statement. The latter was in the form of a WISH-8 interview, during which The Rev. Charles Harrison of the 10-Point Coalition said, among other things, the aftermath of the fatal shooting could have been avoided were there people who really knew the community, could talk to the community and could be mediators between police and the people, especially when emotions ran high. Harrison, WISH-8 reported, said the heavy-handed tactics by police, may not have been necessary if there were community leaders and clergy who would step in. Agreed. And then there was this: As one of us was making his way home from work recently, the radio news offered attorneys for Brown’s family, saying that the release of the videotape of him holding up a convenience store for merchandise was “character assassination.” We’re wondering still whether it was Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton advising the lawyers.  You can’t make this stuff up. And to the looters in Ferguson we would suggest this: It’s not protesting; it’s stealing. There is no other way to couch it. We’re 100 percent for freedom of speech, and we support the First Amendment daily, but in no way is looting defined as free speech.

* * *

Because of Labor Day, next week’s Current will arrive on Wednesday. Enjoy the holiday.