I spent last week on a family vacation and enjoyed a peaceful week relaxing in the mountains. I definitely wasn’t cut off from the world, but I was focusing on time with family and far from gathering immediate information and news updates. Because of this, the news of what happened in Ferguson, MO was slow to get to me, but when it did and I saw what the media was saying (and the facts they were blatantly NOT saying) as well as what was flying around social media, I felt physically ill. I’ve avoided the topic as much as I can. It makes me angry, sad, and makes my heart ache, but I’ve finally been able to sort out some thoughts, and I will try to articulate (although there’s been so much swirling around my head, this has been a tough one).
The whole situation, along with many other things that have happened in the past few years have made me progressively more cynical. I am becoming that person. The person who wants to move to the middle of nowhere and cut off contact with nearly everyone I’ve ever known. The world feels so full of hate and that hatred (although I’m sure every generation has said this) feels worse than ever.
We as a society like to categorize things as black and white. You’re this political party or that one. One religion or another. Justified or not. Right or wrong. And once you’re given one of those labels, that’s all people see you as, all you’re allowed to believe. You’ve essentially draw your line in the sand and must stay there. No middle ground. No budging.
We’re so quick to place blame. So egotistical to presume that one side is the only one causing the problem. Quick to spread viral misinformation. Haughty to believe that we always have it right over everyone else.
And then that hate, that false information, that finger pointing spreads like a plague, infecting everyone with negativity and prejudices. It’s really easy to point those fingers when you disagree with someone, when you don’t have the correct info, when you weren’t there, when it wasn’t your choice to make.
But here’s the truth. The world isn’t black and white. It’s all shades of gray. And we are all the problem. No political party has all the answers or the ability to heal the world. No religion holds absolute truth. No news outlet reports only the facts without any bias, missing or incorrect information.
This story out of Ferguson, like all others, is filled with shades of gray, with different versions and facts coming from different directions. Different rights and wrongs depending on who you ask.
Pretty much the only thing black and white out of all of this is that one of our officers made a split second decision that ended a life. He will have to live with that. The deceased’s family will have to live with that. A community will have to live with that. That is a tragedy no matter how you look at it. And I’m sad for everyone involved.