What if we all stopped it, already?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What if everyone involved in the situation in Ferguson, Mo., just stopped? Suppose, the police issued a statement saying, “We’re sorry for our part in this. We are going back to the station and will not do anything else that might make things worse. If you want to riot and perhaps hurt each other, we aren’t going to be part of trying to stop you.”

Now imagine the folks covering the story saying, “We are turning our cameras off. There will be no more reports on this story until things settle down and so the issue can be addressed more peacefully.”

Suppose people, on both sides of the controversy, who are standing in front of those cameras said, “We are going to hush and not make another statement until the investigations are complete. Then if we disagree with the findings, we will address our concerns and seek justice without violent outbursts that breed more violence.”

If even one of those things happened, the streets would quickly become more peaceful. Sadly, I don’t any of this is going to take place

When we hear a story like this, I know it is easy to jump in and take sides — we humans do like taking sides don’t we. What is harder is to consider both sides of an issue, and there are always two sides to every story. I don’t think that gets any consideration anywhere in the world when violence and tragedy are involved. We want to blame. We want to judge and we definitely want to punish.

I’m not about to get into a discussion about what happened in a town in Missouri. I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened and neither do most of the folks involved in this situation.

What I do know is that we seem to be a nation of folks who are afraid of each other. Heck, we are a world of people who are disconnected and often afraid.

And when fear is the energy, we act and react in fear. It’s as if we stop seeing other humans and instead we see frightening beings bent on our destruction. Add to that a media helping feed the frenzy and you have the makings of a perfect storm.

If all we see images of people with a certain skin color or from certain countries, with certain beliefs doing violent things, is it any surprise we are soon afraid of everyone who matches those images? On the other hand, if we belong to any of those groups and we know people see us as trouble and expect there to be trouble from us, we get angry and express that anger in ways that perpetuate what they believe. This is a vicious circle.

Suppose we all stop, we all consider that we might have a part in causing the problem. For example, what if people with white skin admitted they are often frightened of dark-skinned folks, especially young, male dark-skinned folks? And perhaps, try to realize that their fear leads to making judgments and to taking actions they wouldn’t otherwise.

On the flip side, suppose dark-skinned people try understanding that often news stories are about young dark-skinned males committing violent acts. Therefore, people fear and sometimes expect the worse from anyone who looks anything like the ones they see on the news.

Look, I’m not debating whether the media reports more black crime than white crime. I am saying, right or wrong, that is what people see and it breeds fear and anger on both sides.

So what is the answer? Maybe it is simple — we all just stop it.

And maybe we do a better job of raising the next generation to stop it, too. We teach them that violence is not the answer, ever. We show our children through our actions that we understand when we hurt another person, we hurt ourselves.

You know if humans understood and believed that, what is happening in Ferguson, Mo., would never happen again.