What’s happening in Ferguson

Natalie Larimer, Online Sub-Editor

The city of Ferguson, Missouri has been turned upside down lately, starting with the actions Aug. 9. This was the day that unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot in the street by a police officer a total of six times. It was released on Aug. 17 that Brown was a suspect in a robbery of a convenience store, of which the security video was released showing a box of cigars being stolen. However, he did not deserve to be shot six times over a box of cigars. This is my understanding of all the events that have occurred since.

It has been said that the police officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, did not know about the robbery at the time that he stopped them. Brown and his friend were walking down the middle of the street and Wilson accused them of blocking traffic. It was then that Wilson found out that he was suspected of a robbery, which somehow led to Brown being shot. A rumor of racism is being swept around as Brown was black and Wilson white. Multiple witnesses recall Brown having his hands up and Wilson shooting him anyways.

Since this attack happened, riots and protests have broken out in Ferguson, causing the police department to use military force to disperse the people. They are bringing in armoured cars and machine guns while shooting tear gas at the crowds. There is an iconic picture, taken by Lynden Steele, shown above of a resident wearing an American flag shirt, holding a bag of chips, and throwing a lit tear gas container away from the people standing by him.

There are many things wrong here, but I am going to focus on three of them.

First, Michael Brown should not have been shot, let alone six times. Even if the police officer knew about the robbery, that means that he would have been putting a box of cheap cigars on a level of higher importance than a human life. Now, he definitely shouldn’t have been shot since he was blocking traffic. That’s absurd. That puts dispersing a traffic jam ahead of a human life. So no, Wilson was in the wrong no matter what way I look at it.

Second, the police are responding in a very exaggerated manner. At first, the citizens of Ferguson were having peaceful protests which were interrupted by police brutality. Recently they have been using tear gas and rubber bullets on the protesters and also arresting those who do not vacate the streets. I don’t believe the police should have all this military equipment, let alone pointing machine guns at citizens in their city.

The third thing that I find wrong here is how the public is behaving. Yes, it was wrong of the police to do these things, I just wrote a whole paragraph about that. But they are raiding and destroying stores on the streets and breaking multiple laws in these protests. This has got to stop and it’s not going to happen if they continually break curfew. Nothing about this entire situation is good but that doesn’t give anyone the right to make it worse.

I keep hearing people talking about how the police are way out of line and should just completely stop everything, but nobody is talking about what the protesters are doing wrong. This is not an excuse to break the law. There will no doubt be a trial for Darren Wilson to see if he is within his rights (though I do not believe he is) so I’m not quite sure what they are protesting anymore. It’s done and neither break-ins nor tear gas will help anything.