Sympathy for the Devil
This morning, I had a talk with my 8 year old daughter, Swicky, about systemic racism, the militarization of the police, and how ordinary evil really is. I woke up with Sympathy for the Devil running through my head, and it made more sense than ever.
I am sad for Ferguson. I am disgusted by those who take the Grand Jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson as proof that he was justified in gunning down an unarmed teen (and, therefore, Mike Brown's guilt of something worthy of the death penalty without charges or trial). I am also disgusted by those who condemn the protesters - particularly those who are lashing out in violence.
That one's the hardest to explain to people. But, yes, I understand the violence, even though I don't condone it. I understand the burning, the destruction, and the looting. (Thank God, I'm not the only one.) I'm angry, too - and I'm lucky: I'm white.
I don't have to worry about what happens if I consider buying a BB gun from WalMart, or open a door. I don't have to tell my son to be careful where he plays with his toy guns or worry that the police will leave my baby in a coma after breaking into my house. And I don't have to worry, as in this particular case, that a cop will shoot at me as I run away, or continue shooting after I've surrendered, because, apparently, my physical existence constitutes deadly force.
No, my kids will probably have no problems with police, as long as they don't commit any terrible crimes. And that's exactly why I talk to them about all of this - because they ought to worry about it, even if - or, maybe, especially because - they don't have to worry about it. They are privileged - and they can either rest secure in that privilege, ignoring the injustice and suffering people of color face every day, or they can strive to make things right. They can fight to bring justice to the suffering, and to change the system that delivers evil as a matter of course. I want them to fight; I want them to believe in the ideal and try to make it real. I want them to understand the violence, too - and try to stop it.
I hope it breaks their hearts. It ought to. I also hope they find healing - and enough to share.
Links - in a slightly different order than usual:
- Authority Issues
- Ferguson live updates: Burned buildings, at least 60 arrests follow violent protests
- Missouri Governor to Send More Troops After Violence Flares in Ferguson
- The National Bar Association Responds to the Grand Jury's Decision Not To Indict In The Shooting Death Of Michael Brown "The National Bar Association is questioning how the Grand Jury, considering the evidence before them, could reach the conclusion that Darren Wilson should not be indicted and tried for the shooting death of Michael Brown....and will be calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue federal charges against officer Darren Wilson."
- Protests spread far beyond Ferguson
- Police killing of boy revives calls for replica gun rules thwarted by NRA
- Teaching our sons to be afraid is not the answer to cops who shoot children
- Here Are 10 Images. By The Time I Reached The Third One, I Was Crying. By The 10th, I Was Furious.
- Religious post: Collect for Social Justice I will definitely be praying this a lot today.
- Libraries, Books, & Authors
- Ferguson library will open to kids despite Michael Brown shooting protests Related: How To Support the Ferguson Library "No matter what emotions you are feeling today, no matter what your political leanings, there is no denying the fact that the Ferguson Library has been doing amazing work in the past few months in response to the turmoil that is happening in the town because of the shooting of Michael Brown and the lack of indictment for the officer who shot him."
- From Zen Pencils: 166. PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY: Ozymandias
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Collection Gets A Texas Welcome
- Happy birthday, Andrew Carnegie! "...it is said that more than 2,800 libraries were opened with his support....His 1889 article 'Wealth' outlined his view that those with great wealth must be socially responsible and use their assets to help others." Not a perfect man, of course - but a hero of mine, nonetheless.
- In an age of e-readers, are students still open to books? "The students were far more likely to prefer reading in print over digital screens. They did more annotating and were more likely to reread when using print. They also reported better memory for what they read in hard copy. A number of studies have compared how much students learn when reading digitally versus in print. Using simple comprehension tests (think of SAT reading passages), the majority of research has reported that medium doesn’t matter. However, more subtle testing is revealing differences in the type and depth of learning. One such disparity is in the ability to articulate the principles behind the empirical information you encounter. Here, print wins."
- Gates Foundation Will Require All Funded Research To Be Open Access