The Ferguson protests are drawing nigh. Any day now, or perhaps even any hour, the results from the grand jury on whether or not to charge officer Darren Wilson over the shooting of Michael Brown will emerge. If you don’t know what I am talking about, then congrats on your recent release from Guantanamo Bay. Other than that, I don’t think I have to give you the back story. Since most of America has resigned themselves to form opinions on Ferguson without any actual facts, I am not going to bore you with an analysis on such. Why bother? The truth is I vigorously support a law enforcement officers right to protect themselves in the line of duty and return home to their family. In addition, I equally lament the circumstances that cost an 18 year old young man his life even if poor choices led him there. But since rational debate has long gone out the window, let’s just focus on what we can impact. Namely, the coming protests. So here are my suggestions for the protesters or rioters depending on which path one might choose.
1. Ink Marketing Deals – Look, America is the land of opportunity and the entrepreneurial spirit runs deep. So there is no good reason to let a good riot go to waste. So stick with me rioters. Let’s say you are looting your local Best Buy because nothing says justice like a new video game console. Sure, you could just grab the first 5 items you come across and scoop them up. Or, perhaps your a little more selective with your choice. That’s where the marketing deal comes in handy. I say you walk out of the store holding up a new Xbox One proudly along with the latest Call of Duty game. Instant product placement. You stop by the journalist filming the whole thing and state something along the lines of, “I don’t always riot, but when I do, I riot for Xbox One.” It’s a win-win. You get your Xbox and marketing money and Microsoft gets their prime time advertising slot.
2. Don’t get Anyone Killed – Seriously, don’t get anyone killed. Not during the protests or in the ensuing months and years. You see, I am of the firm belief that the demonizing of our law enforcement officers is a dangerous trend. Oddly enough, this comes equally from completely opposite sides of the political spectrum. I have watched on my own Facebook feed, some of the same people who were vigorously supporting officer Wilson’s right to defend himself were just this past year supporting an armed resistance against law enforcement officials in Nevada to support the guy who didn’t want to pay is cow taxes or something on the Bundy Ranch.
The truth is, either we will be a nation governed by laws or we will not. The rioters attacking police in Ferguson and the crazy anarchist shooting law enforcement offers under the guise of Patriotism are all cut from the same vein. Namely, they demonize the mass of law enforcement officers based on rumors and conspiracy. Meanwhile, most LEOs are just wanting to go home to their family at night and simply do not have the time to plot your mass oppression. I realize the grand jury may not go the way you like, but our judicial system and the rule of law is a remarkable thing when compared with the world.
3. Dress like something funny – This is another serious suggestion. I know it might be convienient to riot in whatever you happen to have on while maybe taking the time to throw a bandana over your face. To which I respond you are just being lazy. Look, all of America will be watching this go down at home from TV and to be honest the same old scenes grow old. But let’s say I’m watching the looting of a liquor store and out walks 5 rioters dressed like Storm Troopers from Star Wars. You could even have Darth Vader for effect. So when I see Darth walking out of the liquor store with some Wild Turkey followed by Storm Troopers with hands full of Patron, then that makes my day. Halloween was not too far back so there should be some supplies of discounted costumes. Clowns, aliens, Dracula, and so on. If you would simply take the time to dress up to entertain us as you riot, all of America would be forever in your debt and you might win some fans.
4. Be an Example – The truth is, there were a countless series of tragedies and failures that likely took place in the life of Michael Brown before his encounter with the Police Officer. And regardless of what you may think about what happened that day, I can tell you what will be happening as you protest and riot. Namely, a whole new generation of youth will be watching you. Let me submit to you that if a 12 year old watches his father or uncle shove a police officer in a riot, how can you be certain he will not mimic that behavior at a much later time? Could it be that the example you set in these protest are setting the state for impressionable youth to make life or death decisions months perhaps years later.
Moreover, all you protesters of the moment, if you are not going to stay and invest in real change in Ferguson be it from strengthening the schools, economic investment, or building up families, then honestly you are wasting your time. If the money, time, and personnel used in the upcoming protests were oriented towards every at risk child having an excellent education from day 1, then perhaps the future of Ferguson would be brighter than if you just went around burning tires in the street. I am confident that there are evidenced based family programs, innovative charter schools, and economic opportunities that have prevented more similar Michael Brown deaths every year than a decade of your best protesting. So if it’s not just about rioting, then do what the evidence says works. The evidence is out there if people will just pay attention.
5. Let’s do this already – That’s my last suggestion. Let’s do this already. At this point it’s inevitable. One of my favorite, check that least favorite, memories from Marine Corps Boot Camp was the gas chamber. Yes, the inside of the gas chamber where we had to breath the gas was quite miserable. They say they make us breath it to prove to us it works. Personally, I would have just taken their word for it Regardless, the worst part about the experience was actually waiting in line outside knowing what was coming. You know it’s going to suck, but it’s inevitable. So same here with the protest. Thanksgiving is coming up and we all have things to do. If we could just go ahead and wrap up this chapter in time, then perhaps we can all move forward with actually doing things that will impact the world rather than tear it apart. But again, if your going to riot, follow my suggestions and at least we can make the best of this. And If you can actually pull off the Darth Vader looting a liquor store thing, then you will be my new best friend.
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