I was born in northern Missouri (a few hundred miles from Ferguson) and although I have not lived in Missouri for over 25 years, it troubles me to see what has been happening in Ferguson since the fatal police shooting of 18 year-old Michael Brown.
I have learned a few things since the shooting. Overall the aftermath has been a mess on many fronts, although last night it seemed to get a little better.
Here are some observations.
The local police were in over their heads from the beginning. The local police chief made several things worse in news conferences. They controlled very little. Down the road, the news conferences held by the Ferguson Police Department can be used to teach other organizations what not to do.
News organizations do have a right to cover the event. It seemed law enforcement and National Guard personnel were spending as much time controlling the media as they were controlling the protestors. Officials should have asked reporters to get credentials from the command post to be in the area and then say, “You’re on your own.”
There are several reporters and commentators from cable news channels “on the ground” covering the protests in Ferguson who should not be there. Some people seem to think this is their chance to win a Pulitzer. Some have become part of the news instead of reporting it. There seems to be a new trend for the news media these days – reporting and then giving their personal opinions to criticize what is happening.
It seems when some protestors see a camera from the likes of CNN or Fox News, they crank up their protesting to a new level.
It’s great that protestors showed up to voice their concerns. Everyone in law enforcement understands that in every crowd there are chances that a few people will cross the line. Officials must quickly handle these people and use just the amount of force necessary to control these people. You don’t need a tank to control a person throwing a rock.
There are not many people who know what actually happened between Michael Brown and police officer Darren Wilson. Local, state, and federal officials will sort through the evidence and make a decision on what happened.
People who are fervently taking sides must realize that one side will end up being disappointed.
What happens after that is up to them.
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