At The Chronicle don't often weigh in on the national issues; however, the activity in Ferguson is brought home to us daily by the news media. And some things just can't go without comment.
First, I do not have an opinion on the issue of the shooting of Michael Brown. I say truthfully that I don't know the facts of what happened there. I can also say that others who are making statements condemning Mr. Brown's actions and/or those of the police officer involved do not know the facts either. Until those facts are investigated by the appropriate agencies and fully vetted, there is no blame to be placed.
With that said, it saddens me to see the citizens of Ferguson, of the nation really, jumping in with vocal opinions one way or another. The insults, the condemnation of both sides, the hatred evoked in those who were nowhere near the incident says much of how our nation is today. But people always have had and will continue to have opinions. Voicing those is a right in this country, so whether the opinions be based on fact, based on emotion or based on some deep-seated hatred of another group of people, they are opinions.
Where the line is crossed in this case is in the behavior of those rioting in the streets, looting businesses and destroying property. Regardless of whether the policeman was at fault or the victim provoked the incident is irrelevant when it comes to such behavior. What those folks have done and may even continue to do is wrong, plain and simple. Destroying someone's property, stealing from their businesses and even threatening the police who are there to maintain some semblance of order is illegal behavior at best; despicable at worst.
Have we as a civilized people not grown beyond this type of behavior? What example does it set for young people not only in that community but in our nation who watch the events unfold every minute on cable news? We as citizens of a law-abiding nation should speak up about that behavior rather than about facts we don't have. We should tell our children that such behavior is wrong no matter the situation. Something you feel strongly enough about to protest is not a bad thing, but when it leads to such behavior as these individuals engaged in this past week, well...there really are no words. Condemnation of their actions should come from all fronts rather than excuses of why they are behaving in such a manner. They should face consequences for those actions regardless of the facts in the Brown shooting case. We, as a nation, need to move away from such atrocious behavior rather than condoning it or even acknowledging it via the media. Attention breeds more attention-seeking. Turn off the film clips and work on something positive.