by CAROLINE GAVURA Section Editor
Since the Ferguson grand jury made the decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing teenager Michael Brown, a wave of riots and protests have spread across the country.
While originally the focus was on what really happened during the confrontation – were Michael Brown’s hands really up when he was shot?; did Darren Wilson really feel like his life was in danger when he fired more than six shots at Brown?; etc. – protesters have shifted their attention to what really is at fault here – a flawed legal system.
“It disgusts me that people working in law enforcement, who are supposed to be protecting us, are killing people left and right. Innocent people are falling victim to rash decisions made by police officers who don’t even take the time to fully understand what is going on,” said senior Kate Broskie. “I do not believe this is a race issue. I believe this is the difference between right and wrong.”
Hundreds of thousands of activists from Portland, Oregon to Washington D.C. have led marches and other peaceful protests, holding signs reading “BLACK LIVES MATTER” and “JUSTICE FOR MIKE BROWN”.
They took to the streets again after the grand jury in New York City were not able to find a reasonable cause to indict a white police officer who choked Eric Garner, an African-American man, to death for illegally selling untaxed cigarettes.
“Hell no. He’s still working, he’s still getting a paycheck, he’s still feeding his kids, and my husband is six feet under,” said Garner’s wife in response to the police officer’s apology.
That is not all either.
Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice’s family is now filing a wrongful death suit against the Cleveland police officers involved in his death.
“Tamir was playing alone in the park. He was not endangering anyone. He was not violent. Young boys playing with replica guns are commonplace in America,” said the suit, which accused the officers of excessive force, assault and battery.
Investigations are still going on in regards to twenty-two-year-old John Crawford, who was shot almost immediately by police after a 911 call was made accusing him of pointing a gun at people at a Walmart in Ohio.
A newly released surveillance video of the incident shows Crawford on the phone in the pet isle casually holding a pellet gun he found on one of the shelves. At no point did Crawford load the gun or attempt to point it at anyone.
“Recent events have proved that a young black man being shot to death by police in America is nothing new,” said senior Bree McKenna.
While there is every reason to be discouraged and frustrated by the atrocities occurring in America right now, protestors have not given up trying to make a change. This is why they are leading “Time” magazine’s “Person of the Year” poll. Their endurance, hope and strength is exactly what this country was built on.
As Atticus Finch said in “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It’s knowing you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”
How do you feel about the Ferguson protesters?