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Do violent protests hurt the causes they are associated with?
We've all watched the sad situation in Ferguson take the town into the national spotlight. While the family tries to understand the death of their loved one, forces have been working behind the scene to keep emotions high. Did this help the family and town understand what happened and work to heal or did it just turn the death of a young man into something to promote agendas of people not connected to the town or family?
The media has reported on every bit of "news" associated with the death of Michael Brown. The characters of both Brown and Officer Wilson have been served up to us on a daily basis with insights from various activists that had never heard of Ferguson Mo before this. Instead of working with the family and community leaders to help calm the anger and concentrate on investigating the truth, these outside "concerned people" have added to the sense of outrage already there.
Michael Brown's father has called for calm and an end to violence. This would be a more fitting way to honor his son than rioting and causing damage to businesses that had nothing to do with the events surrounding his son's death. We have seen that some decisions made have consequences that can't be undone.
The death of Michael Brown was not a planned decision made with time to consider options or consequences. The ongoing violence in Ferguson and other cities around the country has been planned or at least carried out with time to reconsider. Protests are a way of showing the public's feelings on issues that they feel deeply about. They don't have to have violence or destruction to get their message across. Just the sight of large numbers of people united with a common cause is a powerful sight.
Activist leaders, such as Rev Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who have come to Ferguson would better serve the people by channeling their anger and frustration into a positive tool. It is harder to ignore a concentration of people armed with facts and legitimate questions. A scene of people running crazy, destroying property and causing havoc is more easily discounted as the work of crackpots or vandals.
I hope that when calm heads get together there will finally be answers for the Brown family and the people of Ferguson. We can't undo what has already happened but we can learn from this so another family and community doesn't have to suffer as this one has.