What Fathers and Mothers Need to Know about Ferguson (William Dwight McKissic, Sr.)

What Fathers and Mothers Need to Know About Ferguson
Psalm 78:5-7
By William Dwight McKissic, Sr.

On Saturday, August 9, about 2:15 p.m., a shooting took place in Ferguson, Missouri, that will forever be etched on the collective psyches of all Americans. Ferguson, Missouri, was not on the radar screen of most Americans until the news begin to circulate over the past several days, that yet another young African American male had been shot and killed by a police officer. Complete facts and details surrounding the young man’s death are still largely unknown. But what is known has triggered protests, looting, rioting and a police response that is reminiscent of the civil rights rallies and police responses in the 60’s. Ferguson is indeed a powder keg, and America and the world are watching.

What should fathers say to their families about Ferguson? What should pastors say to their congregations about Ferguson? What would Christ, through His preachers—Black, White, Asian and Hispanic—say to America about Ferguson?

The Bible is clear that it becomes the responsibility of fathers to interpret history for their children and to provide for them lessons that lead to hope in God.

“Remember the days of old, Consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; Your elders, and they will tell you:” (Deuteronomy 32:7)

5For He established a testimony in Jacob, And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers, That they should make them known to their children;
That the generation to come might know them,The children who would be born,
That they may arise and declare them to their children,
That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God,
But keep His commandments; (Psalm 78:5-7)

“1Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding…
When I was my father’s son, Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother,
He also taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words;
Keep my commands, and live.” (Proverbs 4:1, 3, 4)

The Bible commands fathers to instruct their children and to specifically instruct them concerning historical matters, in a manner that they “may set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.” What fathers need to know about Ferguson is what is it that they should teach their children as a result of what took place there.

The lesson that every child needs to learn from Ferguson is this:  I cannot control what the policeman can do toward me, but I can control how I will respond to him or her. Therefore, my response should be respectful, submissive and strategic toward protecting my best interest and Kingdom concerns.

1) Ferguson Reminds Us that We live in A Fallen World

The Bible portrays heaven as a place of total tranquility, racial inclusion, peace and harmony.

And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”

(Revelation 5:9-10)

Everybody in heaven is redeemed. Everybody on earth is not. There is no racial strife, mistrust, bickering and rioting in heaven. There is division, disunity, distrust and disfavor that often characterize race relations on earth. Men are separated from each other, because they are separated from God.

The first murder recorded in Scripture was between two brothers. Even among people of the same family and race there is confusion, disunity, and bickering, because we live in a fallen world. The first fight in the early church was among members of the same church at Jerusalem, but one group (Greeks) leveled charges of inequitable distribution against another group (Jews) in Acts 6:1-7. Because we live in a fallen world tainted by sin, we see the fall-out in our families and in the church. Consequently, we inevitably will see it in our society.

Ferguson, Missouri, is symbolic and symptomatic of the fallen nature of mankind that’s evident universally. As Black families moved into Ferguson beginning in the 70’s, Whites began to flee. In 1980 the town was 85% White and 14 % Black; by 2010 it was 29% White and 69% Black. However, the Ferguson Police Department consists of 53 officers, of which only three are Black. The largely White police force stops Black residents far out of proportion to their population, according to statistics kept by the state’s Attorney General. Blacks account for 86% of the traffic stops in the city, and 93% of the arrests after those stops. In St. Louis County there have been allegations of widespread racial profiling. Ferguson reminds us that racism is still a reality in our world in hiring practices and in police patrol—racial profiling.

The consequences of this profiling can be deadly for many. A BLACK MAN IS KILLED IN THE U.S. EVERY 28 HOURS BY POLICE is the title of an article written by Adam Houston. Houston maintains that police officers, security guards or self-appointed vigilantes extra-judicially killed at least 313 African Americans in 2012. Ferguson hosted the most recent high profile case of such killing. Ferguson reminds us that we live in a fallen world. Jesus said in this world, ye shall have trials and tribulations (John 16:33). Jesus wept over Jerusalem because of their propensity toward violence. The Black-on-Black crime in Chicago, Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Detroit, Dallas, and New Orleans is equally indicative of the fact that we live in a fallen world. Cain is still slaying Abel. How unfortunate!

2) Ferguson Reminds Us That Obeying God Is Crucial. The Redeemed Ought To Live Like The Redeemed.

The 18-year-old, 6’4”, 292 pound African American male who was headed to college but whose life abruptly ended, name was Michael Brown. The policeman who shot and killed him was named Darren Wilson. I have no knowledge of the spiritual condition of either. But what I do know is that the death of Michael Brown could have and should have been avoided.

We certainly grieve with Michael Brown’s family. The Wilson family is also in a state of befuddlement. I hope that both men were redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, but I simply don’t know. What I do know is that Brown’s family and the Wilson’s family lives have been radically and inalterably changed. Neither family is pleased with the state they are currently in. Both families, no doubt, point the finger at the other for causing their disruption and pain.

The truth is that there was wrong on both sides of this table. The battle is now over who shares the lion share of the blame for the killing—Brown or Wilson.

Without taking sides in this issue, while awaiting more facts to evolve, it appears to me that if news reports are accurate, that Wilson shot Brown, multiple times, from a distance of 35 feet while he was in a surrender posture, Wilson should and could have exercised restraint, inasmuch, at the time Wilson did not view Brown as a suspect. Hindsight is always 20-20. But I’m sure Wilson regrets not having exercised restraint and patience.

As for Brown, if it’s true that he was walking in the middle of the street and blocking traffic that was/is nonsensical, in addition to being against the law. Additionally, he handed his critics a stick to fight him with by robbing a store of some cheap cigars. Yes, we all have made some youthful mistakes, and perhaps committed some crimes during our tender years that we wish we could recall. Yet, unfortunately, in the minds of many, this somehow renders Brown complicit in his own death. There is no connection between the robbery and the shooting. Yet, in the court of public opinion, Brown is somehow being held liable as a result; and he has only himself to blame for that.

Because we do live in a fallen world, my mother use to tell her children, “make sure that you don’t hand the devil the stick to hit you with, because he will sure use it.” May all young men, regardless of color, learn a lesson from Brown’s failure!

If reports of Brown assaulting Wilson are true, and attempting to take his pistol, may the lesson learned be: (1) respect authority, (2) obey authority, (3) submit to authority, and (4) honor authority. (Romans 17:1). He who lives by the sword, may also die by the sword. Violence, robbery, and disrespect toward authority are surefire ways to create problems with parents, police and peers. These things should be avoided at all cost.

Justice is wrapped up in the Kingdom package (Amos 5:24; Micah 5:6). While seeking justice, I should not engage in unjust activities. I must disassociate myself from evil (Psalm 1:1-2). While combating racism, I should not practice racism (Malachi 2:10). God will bless the person who honors authority (Ephesians 6:4). God will bless the person who is meek (Matthew 5:5). God will bless the person who honors His laws (Proverb 28:7). A man that doeth violence will suffer (Acts 28:17). The key to longevity and a peaceable life are submission to authority and to run from evil (I Peter 3:10-14).

May the life of Michael Brown be redeemed by posthumously teaching lessons to parents and children that might lead to better outcomes! May the life of Darren Wilson be redeemed by teaching lessons to authority figures that a nation and an entire race of people can be put ill at ease through one act of intemperance!

Ultimately, Ferguson teaches us that true justice, equality, love, brotherhood and peace will not be found in this world but through the blood of Jesus (Ephesians 2:13-14)…for truly it is at the foot of the Cross where true brotherhood is found. If America gathers at the Cross, we can find healing, help and hope for our present predicament.

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    Brother Dwight,

    Without getting into the details of statistics, etc., I wholeheartedly agree with your two main points. Would that more of us remember these two points.

    I appreciated the particular Heidelberg Catechism Q & A we confessed yesterday in our worship service and pray that many more would live it out, especially as it relates to Ferguson.

    Lord’s Day 43

    Q & A 112

    Q. What is the aim of the ninth commandment?
    A. That I never give false testimony against anyone,
    twist no one’s words,
    not gossip or slander,
    nor join in condemning anyone
    rashly or without a hearing.
    Rather, in court and everywhere else,
    I should avoid lying and deceit of every kind;
    these are the very devices the devil uses,
    and they would call down on me God’s intense wrath.
    I should love the truth,
    speak it candidly,
    and openly acknowledge it.
    And I should do what I can
    to guard and advance my neighbor’s good name.

    • says

      Holy Cow, folks.

      I think it might actually be a Scott Gordon sighting – on the blogs.

      For all you newbies, Scott was quite a public presence on blogs back in the old days.

      Unfortunately, he got in with David Worley and after a while, felt he had to leave the blog world in shame. Or something like that.

  2. says

    It is always a grievous thing when a law enforcement agent shoots an individual, regardless of either parties’ ethnicity. I agree wholeheartedly with your two main points. However, Dwight, I have just a few questions for clarification on some of the assumptions you made:

    1. Why will the shooting of Michael Brown “forever be etched on the collective psyches of all Americans”?

    2. How do you know that whites fled Ferguson in the 70s BECAUSE blacks moved in?

    3. Could racism be the only explanation for a disproportionate stop & arrest stat for black citizens in Ferguson?

    4. Why should a police department’s ethnicity reflect the ethnicity of its jurisdiction?

    5. How many of the 313 African Americans killed in 2012 by law and security officers were justifiable and legal?

    6. Have you heard the latest eyewitness story that gives evidence against your belief that “Wilson shot Brown, multiple times, from a distance of 35 feet while he was in a surrender posture”?

    Thanks for the post. It has definitely got me to thinking more on this important incident.

    • says

      To limit myself to just one of these, on #2 white flight is a very well known phenomenon. While I cannot say for sure whether or not it took place in Ferguson, it has taken place in towns and cities throughout the country. I saw this firsthand in miniature form in my home neighborhood. It was a development community, my parents among the first to build a home out there. For several years it was also a white community, not a single black homeowner out there. When black families started moving in, this made white homeowners nervous. I clearly remember playing at the home of a neighborhood friend and hearing his father say, “We need to get our of here before those n*’s ruin our property values.”

      A few of the white families tried selling their houses but when they had little success, many – a surprising number – started just abandoning their houses, leading to a large number of foreclosures in that one area. Property values went down all right, but the culprit was not race but racism. One man started buying up a number of the foreclosed homes at a very cheap rate, renting them out. He was little better (if any) than a slum lord with his tactics. The neighborhood is now almost entirely black, my parents one of the few – if not the only – white families left (I can’t think of any others).

      So yes, it’s entirely possible that when black people started to move into Ferguson, white people started moving out triggering in the community a cycle of poverty, broken homes, violence, and insufficient positive role models. I’ve seen firsthand how that happens and it’s not pretty. We can say what we will about black-on-black violence, but we need to take a long, hard look at how the actions of white Americans – from slavery onward – have been strong contributors to the situation.

      • says

        Interesting anecdote, Chris. Thanks for sharing. I’m glad that you were spared of the racism that is passed along in so many families. Two questions for you:

        1. What is it like for your white parents to live in an all black neighborhood? I’m curious because your answer could be helpful to us since most of us are the majority ethnicity in our community.

        2. How did white people moving out trigger “in the community a cycle of poverty, broken homes, violence, and insufficient positive role models”? Didn’t those who moved in have a responsibility to lead different lives?

        • says

          Ben,

          #1, It was a strange situation, and at times a bit frightening when we were on the receiving end of racism. But we had our neighborhood friends and otherwise continued on as normal. Later, after I started college, my mom started some classes to work with the kids. That started after a few instances of young kids showing up at the house fairly late at night because their mom’s boyfriend showed up and she didn’t want them around. My mom started planning activities for the kids and that turned into regular classes, two or three a day several days a week. She recruited college students from church to help. She has only recently had to stop doing the classes because of health.

          #2. As white families moved out and the properties became low rent housing, the people who moved in were those who could only afford that low rent housing. Many of them weren’t all that well educated and had not known stable homes themselves. Broken homes is what they knew and they were in a community full of other people who only knew broken homes – moms with multiple children from multiple men, sexual abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, etc. When you don’t know how to lead a different life and no one around you knows how, what are your options? Yes, individuals are responsible for their choices and for what they make of their lives, but we are all responsible to make this a nation of “liberty and justice for all” – something we have failed at throughout history. Slavery frequently ripped families apart. Segregation and discrimination kept minorities in fear and poverty. White flight created communities of poverty and decay as well as keeping white people with white people and black people with black people, contributing to fear and mistrust. People of any race who know how to lead stable, productive lives are not going to be drawn to impoverished communities (a valid consideration which has nothing to do with racism) but serves as another force to keep positive role models out of these communities. On that, there is no easy solution but it is a problem that needs to be acknowledged. and considered.

          In short, it has been the forces of slavery, segregation, discrimination, racism, etc that have created many of the problems being faced in the black community. Those individuals in those communities are responsible for what they make of their lives – but the rest of America also bears responsibility. We created a terrible situation, now many of us want to step back and tell them to fix it themselves while denying that many of those same destructive forces continue to be at work today causing more fear, distrust, and even oppression within the black community.

          • Tarheel says

            I ask again….isn’t the (for lack of a better phrase) giving of passes to those whose community is caught up in “a cycle of poverty, broken homes, violence, and insufficient positive role models” and further (and perhaps worse) coming to expect and justify those community attributes not a form of “soft bigotry”?

            Kinda like saying “they do not know any better”?

          • Tarheel says

            Saying; “They can’t improve their plight until we…..” is still placing a group of people under the foot and control of another group, is it not?

          • says

            Tarheel,

            You’re a Christian. You believe people should spread the gospel. You believe a lost person needs what you have in order to be saved. You believe Christians are appointed to be the messengers of God for the gospel so that lost people can hear the way of salvation. Are you practicing a form of soft bigotry?

          • says

            To address your point a little more directly, we cannot create a mess then get mad when others won’t clean it up. There are many excellent leaders in the black community who are working to improve those communities, but they need help. For one thing, we are all just folk. We are all people. White and black are just matters of skin pigmentation. Speaking of “white community” and “black community” is necessary to recognize history and current circumstances, but they are distinctions that shouldn’t exist. Erasing that distinction, there is no longer an “us and them” – there is only “us”. Thus what we do to help impoverished communities break these cycles isn’t being done to help some other group in a different classification from us, it’s being done to help our community, our people, our fellow human beings who are suffering from a mess created by historic distinctions made on the basis of race by the race wielding power at the time. Let’s cast aside those distinctions and start looking for ways to help people because they are people who need help.

          • Tarheel says

            “White and black are just matters of skin pigmentation. Speaking of “white community” and “black community” … they are distinctions that shouldn’t exist. Erasing that distinction, there is no longer an “us and them” – there is only “us”.

            AMEN! That is EXACTLY what I have been saying every time we have discussion like this on this forum.

          • Tarheel says

            “Let’s cast aside those distinctions and start looking for ways to help people because they are people who need help.”

            Amen again.

          • Tarheel says

            Never-mind. I am out. I am going to take my own advice that I posted a little while ago.

            Have fun, or whatever it is you are having here, Chris.

        • says

          Ben, I serve in a church in a neighborhood that experienced “white flight” about 25 years ago. Racism is unfortunately at the heart of the decreasing property values which lead to the deterioration of neighborhoods. Fear of the unknown(blacks and whites living together as equals) led most whites to leave our neighborhood. Most could not sell their homes as the property value was diminished, as no whites desired to move to the area. So the homes became rentals, and rentals severely decrease property value. You can drive through our neighborhood and clearly identify who owns or who rents by the condition of most houses. As for whites still living in these neighborhoods, most of our seniors fit this. How have they responded, well, they have learned to live next to blacks as they had no choice. They live in fear many times not because of their black neighbors, but because of the influences of poverty, broken families, drugs, gangs and the things that accompany those influences in whatever racial parameter they encounter. Who would not be scared when you have regular murders and police sirens are the norm. But they endure, because they must. They cannot afford to take the loss on the home they would have to in order to sell, as the money gained would not provide a paid for residence. Ultimately, as was discussed at length on the other thread about this topic, the problem is not race, but sin. Where sin abounds, whatever the color or nationality of the people, danger and uncertainty follow. There are more neighborhoods than could be numbered that fit the profile of Ferguson and where we are

      • Nate says

        What you don’t understand about the St. Louis Metro Area Chris, and what others probably don’t realize either, is that there are almost 90 unique municipalities in the Area. Most of these (though some combine) have their own School Districts. If you live in a given municipality you are obligated to go to the school in that area unless you sanction for busing or go to a private school.

        I would argue, being a St. Louisian, that is this issue that causd me to move into another municipality so that I could give my children a better school district to attend. This typically means I will pay higher taxes, but also means I will have a say in my children’s education in the public school, since there isn’t one giant St. Louis Metro School District that would be ran and controlled by a few beaurocrats rather than by the parents.

        The Ferguson/Florissant School district is one of the worse rated school districts in the Metro area. Should we be surprised that people fled that area? I don’t think so. Is it a shame that the area is not providing quality education for those that live in that municipality? Yes! However, that is a different discussion, though some items may be inter-related, but using race as the only determining factor for why people move from a municipality in St. Louis is far more complicated than what some might think.

        Ben, excellent questions. Dr. Mikissic has written a good discussion article, but it still reveals his personal leanings toward what and who he believes is guilty in this awful incident. Unfortunately, it seems that it is still racism that is the culprit in his mind. What is unsure, at least in my mind, is whether or not the people who believe this shooting was racially motivated would change their view if evidence (or a jury, should it go to trial) would declare it not to be. From Dr. Mikissic’s post, I don’t read anything that would lead me to believe he would change his mind.

        • says

          “The Ferguson/Florissant School district is one of the worse rated school districts in the Metro area. Should we be surprised that people fled that area?”

          Which is the chicken and which is the egg and which came first? Did people flee a bad school district, or did people flee, draining money from the school district?

          • Nate says

            Chris, that is far too simplistic of a question. I moved my family because each year (for quite a few) the tax raises for the school district were voted down. That meant less money for teachers, no repairs for schools in bad shape, etc. Some of this is the result of people growing older in that district, no longer having kids, and voting against the tax increases because they don’t think they should pay if they don’t have children. I would argue most of these muncipalities had similar demographics (of a graying population) prior to the younger families moving to better school districts. That was certainly my story, and many others that I knew.

          • Lydia says

            “Which is the chicken and which is the egg and which came first? Did people flee a bad school district, or did people flee, draining money from the school district?”

            That is not how it works anymore. Federal Education dollars in many forms (block grants, etc) changed all that. Now the issues are more about parental involvement/expectations. In fact, poverty area schools often get more Federal dollars for special programs, lunches, more teachers, etc. Education majors can even get their loans forgiven if they work in one of these schools for a certain length of time. The list of special funding and perks is long.

            One problem is attendance. Some funding is based upon attendance and that is a huge problem for some areas.

            The whole funding issue is totally misrepresented and most folks think it is about needing more money.
            Not. In fact, administrative salaries are outrageously high in education while teacher pay remains much lower in comparison.

            But it benefits certain factions for you to believe that. (The property tax funding education here is a joke, btw, check it out in your city)

            Embarassing truth: Private schools often charge much less than the per pupil cost to public schools from tax dollars. And they often are better educated.

          • Nate says

            Lydia, while Federal dollars are going to some of these districts, and the Feds will forgive student debt if teachers will go to Title 1 schools, you are mistaken if you believe that the Property Tax issue and Parental issue is not a key factor in Metro St. Louis area school districts. All you have to do is take a look at the list of high performing school districts in the St. Louis Metro area and it backs my argument. Do you live in the St. Louis Metro area, Lydia?

          • Lydia says

            Nate,

            I thought I made it clear that parental involvement makes all the difference. I maintain that schools in low income districts get plenty of money from the Feds. This has been growing exponentially since the 1980’s to the point we have not learned that throwing more money on the problems are not fixing them. Just compare cost per student to better performing public schools. It is interesting.

            And what are people getting for their money? You ARE paying for Ferguson schools you just don’t realize that, btw.

            Low expectations are the biggest problem. Soft bigotry of low expectations. Most poverty level folks want a great education for their children but are denied it because of government dictates.

            Ever seen “Waiting for Superman”? That is a good place to “start”. Even liberals are starting to see the bigger problems.

    • Tarheel says

      Those are great questions, Ben.

      I am in no way an equal to the writers, theologians and pontificators on voices – but I continue to say that having your minds made up and your arguments steadfastly adhered to before the facts of the incident are released is profoundly unwise and completely counterproductive to justice, peace, or racial reconciliation.

      I posted the following on FB last week, and would like to share it here for what it is worth.
      —————————

      Will you join me in praying for our neighbors who live in Ferguson, Missouri?

      I’m praying for the family of Michael Brown. They are unquestionably hurting and grieving. They’ve lost a relative who was just 18 years old. Michael brown and his family are my neighbors.

      I’m praying for the officer who shot Mr. Brown. His name is Darren Wilson. No matter the facts of the case, he too needs prayer. He is my neighbor.

      I’m praying for officer Wilson’s family. They are certainly scared. They love their family member who is also at the center of this terrible event. They too are my neighbors.

      I’m praying for the “regular folk” of Ferguson. Whether they are peaceful marchers, rioters, looters, business owners, elderly and young who might not even be sure what’s going on, or just people sitting at home/going to work in the midst of upheaval. They too are my neighbors.

      I’m praying for the police and the other emergency personnel, who are striving to keep the peace and enforce the law for the good of everyone. They too are my neighbors.

      I’m praying for those who don’t live there and have swarmed into this town…some to stir it up, others to report on it, and still others to peacefully show solidarity with a cause. They too are my neighbors.

      I praying for gospel partners who are striving to cast light into such darkness. Gospel loving and proclaiming pastors, teachers, individuals, churches. They are my neighbors.

      I pray salvation for those who are lost, comfort for those hurting, protection for those in danger, safety and courage for those seeking to protect others, a silencing of the voices of destruction, and also for a spirit of justice, calm and peace to rain down upon the inhabitants of the city. Only God can provide these things.

      There’s so much to pray for….will you join me?
      ________________________________

      Perhaps it might be best if all spent more time in prayer and more time seeking to find constructive ways to “be a voice” than we do stoking the fire. I think the stoking that is done for the most part (at least among us on the Voices) in inadvertent…done from hearts of good intentions…but I am no longer convinced that our good intentions are being all that helpful.

      The posts the other day that many are heralding, as should be, about our needing to surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit in “blog wars”…applies to these issues too…do they not?

    • Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. says

      Ben,
      1. For sure, this shooting and killing will forever be etched on the minds of Black Americans, just at the killing of Emitt Till, MLK, the Dred Scott decision, and the election of Barack Obama is etched upon the minds of Black America. It should be etched upon the minds of White Americans as a reminder that generally speaking, Whites and Blacks have two totally different racial filters, and that would include White cops. That might explain this tragedy.

      2. If Whites didn’t flee Ferguson because Blacks moved in beginning in the ’70’s, then you tell me why Whites moved out?

      3. Racial profiling in American among cops is a reality, that every Black Man has experienced(including the current Attorney General of the USA). If there is another plausible explanation of why Blacks are disproportionately pulled over, then again, you tell me?

      4. A police department should reflect the ethnicity of it’s district, for the same reason that the church at Jerusalem, and at Antioch(Acts 6, and Acts 13) selected leadership to reflect the ethnicity of their congregations.

      5. Don’t know for sure how many of the 313 killings of Black Men at the hands of White cops was justifiable. Some indeed were. But, I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that if the person on the other end of the trigger had been White, there would not have been 313 deaths.

      6. I have heard all kinds of conflicting, and seemingly irreconcilable evidence, including the one that you mentioned in your point # 6 above. At this point, none of us know what the truth is.

      Thanks for your dialogue. You’ve asked some great, fair, reasonable, and probative questions. I hope that I provided adequate answers. Thanks again.

  3. Ricky says

    Please take a look at the number of whites arrested as a percentage of the stops – the ratio. They are arrested far more often, represented
    as a percentage

  4. Ricky says

    Gathering together at the foot of anything will not bridge the divide. Bless us all for trying

    • says

      I beg to differ. Truly humbling ourselves before the Lord Jesus Christ (gathering at the foot of the cross) is a huge step toward recognizing the value of every person, regardless of color or culture. That value was placed on us by God the Father when He sent His only begotten.

  5. says

    It’s wise to apply Christian principles to admonish Christians to do what we know is right. Unfortunately, Christians are in short supply these days, and I would argue that we were in short supply 50 years ago, although you couldn’t tell it because the pews were filled with unregenerate superficially moral people.

    That said, realistically we should expect that most people will pursue their own self-interests. Such will only perpetuate the kind of fallen race relations we are experiencing, especially since it helps news agencies sell ads and politicians sell votes. That’s not being cynical, just realistic.

    So, what do we do. The best thing we can do is pray. Should we try to spread the gospel in Ferguson? Sure, but you might have trouble. After all, being an outsider, you’re likely to be quickly reminded that you are inadequate to the task. It might be safer to travel to Israel right now than to be a white man walking into the riots in Ferguson.

    On the other hand, the sacrifice of a peace-bearer might go a long way…

  6. D.L. Payton says

    Dr. Dwight
    My family was a part of the “white flight” that moved out of the north side of St. Louis (Walnut Park area) into Ferguson in the late 50’s early 60’s. Then left Ferguson late 60’s. This is the tragic urban story; for whatever reason we thought we could not live together. As tragic as that era was with the whites moving and moving, my greatest concern now is that it seems we have not learned much. I am not a sociologist and i do not pretend to have the answers however, these events such as Ferguson must stop.

  7. says

    The more I read this thread, the more I’m reminded of what my Dad dubbed “Coleman’s Law”: Things are always more complicated than they appear.

    • Tarheel says

      Hey, wait. I have heard of that law very similar to that one…except my grandfather did not call it Coleman’s law…he called it “the law of the thin board”.

      He would often say;

      “It is a mighty thin board that only has one side.”

  8. Christiane says

    I don’t know if you want ‘money’ (forgiving student loans) to be the reason a teacher chooses to work in a Title I school.

    I think that it’s not a good idea to bribe a young person into a situation that way . . . the schools that involve Title I often have special challenges that require experienced teachers with skills for working with troubled students, and also classroom management skills that are needed for education to proceed in a room filled with thirty-five young people with needs not seen in those schools that serve students who are more privileged in so many ways

    a Title I school is an excellent place for a student teacher to come and to learn, but if the young teacher has not been trained to the needs of Title I students, it can be discouraging . . . some thoughts

  9. says

    When some accused the church of not fighting poverty,
    Richard Land of the ERLC argued the church does fight poverty.

    He used the example of how that if a young person does just three things – finish High School, get a job, and get married before having children – his chances of being poor drop to about 2 percent.
    Dr. Land pointed out the church promotes all three.

    It could also be said these three things would help families, those without families, schools, and the racial problems.

    These are things churches need to teach.
    These are things schools need to teach.
    These are things fathers and mothers need to teach their children.
    David R. Brumbelow

  10. John Wylie says

    Dr. McKissic,

    This was a well written and cogent article. Thank you for being a voice on this matter and reminding us all that people’s experiences and perspectives are not the same.

    I was pleased when I heard the President say that there would be a Federal investigation into this matter. I believe that impartiality in this investigation is absolutely needful.

    • Tarheel says

      You trust the Obama administration and the Holder justice dept. to conduct an impartial investigation – really?

      Really ? What evidence have we seen in 6 years that would give any reasonable person hope for that?

      • Tarheel says

        I would say that the Obama admin would be about as impartial about anything as I am when the Tarheels play. For real. Everything they do has been heretofore crassly political and agenda driven .

        • John Wylie says

          Tarheel,

          I’m no fan of the Obama administration, and I think Eric Holder is not the best AG we’ve had, but I do think that the Feds can be a bit more impartial than the city or county police can at this point.

          • Tarheel says

            I’d rather see an independent investigation by perhaps the state attorney general from another state who literally has no dog in the fight and has not yet taken a side. Holder has a reputation and past evidence of being a race agitator himself and his office has been accused by whistleblowers of being racially biased in civil rights enforcement.

            Besides, The Obama admin, like so many others gave taken a public side already.

          • Tarheel says

            Well, I heard with my own ears the AG saying – “I understand mistrust of police. I stand with the people of Ferguson. I am with you.”

            If that’s not indicative if a bias revealed in your mind…I’m not sure there’s hope.

    • says

      This is simply not a federal issue. This is at best a state issue. No federal crime was committed even if the police officer murdered the man instead of self defense. I have to trust that AG Holder will be unbiased. In fact, I think the fed goverment will make this much worse.

        • says

          “Why is there no edit feature on the comment section of this blog?”

          The edit feature is reserved for the SBC Voices elite, which is to say, Dave.

      • says

        As I understand it, the AG does have the authority to get involved in civil rights issues, and that is the question here – whether or not there is a legitimate civil rights concern. As far as the police response to the protestors has gone, absolutely a civil rights concern. As far as the shooting of Brown, that seems highly likely but not yet certain, which is what the AG is looking into.

          • Tarheel says

            Yea, but holder and Co. Has a track record of selectively and by racial bias prosecuting civil rights violations in a way that discriminates against white people whose civil rights have been violated.

            Are you going to relentlessly opine about those widely known systemic discriminatory practices?

  11. Jerry Smith says

    I don’t know what happened in Ferguson, & many others who write about this event do not either. Many many articles have been written on this event while most of them are nothing but pure gossip that does harm to our country.

    For over 20 years I lived in a black neighborhood. I never had a problem. We were all friends & good neighbors who helped one another. But one day I saw a major problem take place. A white man was going down a state highway, a black man ran a stop sign. The white man hit the black man in his drivers door & it was not his fault, he had the right-a-way. Thankfully no one was hurt. I heard the impact of the wreck leaving my back yard to go see what took place.

    About 20 to 25 black men gathered on the side of the highway. The white man was standing there too. The blacks were cussing the white man telling him it was his fault, that he should not have been coming down the state highway at that moment. These were all my neighbors, I knew everyone of them & I could not believe my ears. One of them pulled out a knife saying, “I’m going to cut this white man to pieces.” When this was said one of the black men whom I was good friends with said to me quietly, “Jerry, can you get that white man to walk to the other side of the street, if you don’t something bad is going to happen.” I did as he asked me & the man driving the other car walked across the street with me & we waited on the police from that point. During this time there was cussing & bad remarks coming from the other side of the highway about white man. The one who had a knife waved his knife at us several times. I have wondered many times what the outcome would have been if I had not walked over to where this was talking place.

    It turned out the black man was driving a car that had no insurance, no license on it, & his drivers license was suspended due to several DWI’s and the car was not paid for. The white man had insurance on his car, his car was licensed, he had drivers license.

    The majority of the black men came out of a pool hall about 1/2 block down the street, you could smell the liquor they had been drinking. And the man that ran the stop sign had also been in the pool hall drinking, had got mad at someone leaving out spinning his tires with the accelerator to the floor & did not let off until his drivers door was hit by the other car after he ran the stop sign.

    Yes I know what happen that day at this event yet I do not know what happen in Ferguson. So I’m not going to state anything about the Ferguson event for what ever I stated would be hearsay from articles I’ve read on the internet & watched on the TV news.

    I will say one more thing. In some situation when a man is not carrying a gun there is a reason for the other person to shoot that person whether he is a white man or a black man. In this event that happen in Ferguson I have no idea who was in the wrong, who was in the right. Yet the many article being written on it is not helping. We need to just let the investigation take place, them whatever the outcome may be abide by it peaceably.

  12. Dale Pugh says

    The aftermath of violent protests, looting of businesses, attacks on police, and multiple arrests should also be addressed. Is a young man’s life honored by such continued actions? The thugs are in charge of what’s happening in Ferguson right now. The police and National Guard presence would be unnecessary if the people would do what’s right. That won’t happen until someone stands up and says, “Enough.”

    Was the officer justified in shooting this young man? I don’t know. I don’t have all the facts. Neither do the protesters who are ripping their own neighborhood apart. It’s idiotic.

    Don’t you know that there are residents in that community who just want life to return to normal? They want their homes to be safe. They want the children to be able to walk to school in peace. They want to go to work with the thought that returning home will be a joy, not something they dread. It won’t happen until those who have nothing better to do than stir up trouble, strife, and anger choose to change the situation.

  13. says

    Dr. McKissic,

    This comment “Ferguson, Missouri, is symbolic and symptomatic of the fallen nature of mankind that’s evident universally”, is an excellent lesson to teach children. It does not matter what DNA brings to appearance as a skin color,…what matters is the condition of the heart. The fallen nature of mankind is the genesis of hatred, pride, distrust, and other maladies of a peace seeking society, regardless of DNA. The outworking of this fallen nature is obvious all around the world. Making sure our children understands that truth is critical to their understanding of why law exists in any culture.

    I’m confident that the facts of this particular tragedy will accurately come out in the days to come, …as it appears that are many witnesses of the incident. Fortunately the race baiters are beginning to identify themselves, and we need to continue to pray for the leaders of Ferguson as these race baiters are identified and moved back out of the Ferguson community.

    Everyone that loves people understands that realizing peace in any community is hard work, and it appears that many leaders in Ferguson are willing to focus on that work; which is a work that never ends, because the heart is deceitfully wicked.

    So, what should we teach children? Teach them the value of the wisdom found in God’s word.

    Ephesians 5
    Romans 13

    • Tarheel says

      Amen.

      My son and I had a long talk about that just yesterday, Chris…. The sinfulness of the heart of man. He asked why people don’t seem to love each other. He also asked why those people on the TV news are acting that way? He was referring to both the coverage Missouri, and this time, Iraq. We’re having these talks slit lately.

      He doesn’t see skin color – he sees people. He sees people being “mean” to cops – he loves cops – we’ve made special effort to make sure he doesn’t fear them but respects them. We introduce him to police – we let him talk to them…he sees mom and dad loving on police officers.

      I’ve also explained to him a little about the shooting and that sometimes cops do things wrong too in this case we don’t know yet – and may never know – if he did or not but some people think he did and are angry. I explained to him that God knows and no matter if other police and we ever know what really happened – there’s no escaping God’s knowledge.

      His mother and I never interject skin color into conversations we always identify people as simply that. So he doesn’t see color – he sees people. He asked me one time about why his teacher at school in kindergarten refered to his classmate as “black”… He had never heard anyone refered to by thier skin color and didn’t get it – (he also rather comically explained that Tia was “not even black anyway – she was more like brown. lol). Then, at 5, he said something that left me know we are doing a good job….he said something like; “daddy, geez why can’t everybody just call other people by their name, it doesn’t matter what thier skin looks like.”

      • Tarheel says

        I should probably clarify that the teacher was in no way being racist when she identified little Tia as being black. Tia had been separated from the class somehow, she ran off actually, and my son overheard the teacher talking to another teacher identifying her so that they could search. She was found safe and sound hiding under the desk in the classroom – she had gone back to the classroom from the playground…. She missed her mommy. Scary moments for teachers and admin.

  14. Scott Shaver says

    McKissic talks about the disparity in the number of white vs black officers in Ferguson but fails to mention that qualified officers have to be recruited and, at least in the city of St. Louis, are required to live in the neighborhoods they patrol.

    Why does McKissic fail to consider the possibility that more black officers would be present in Ferguson if more qualified black officers were willing to serve there?

    • says

      There also seems to be a racist understanding underlining the argument about the disparity of the number of white vs black officers. What does race have to do with whether someone is a good police officer or not? I am white, if I am pulled over by a black police officer should I disrespect him and tell him I will only listen to a white police officer? There seems to be some underlining belief that we have to have people who are the same skin color as us to be our police officers, elected officials, pastors, and presidents. Some even take this to the level of fighting over the skin color of Santa Claus or even worse fighting over the skin color of Jesus. I don’t need Jesus to have been a white man for him to be my savior and greatest treasure. We have to get past this idea that if someone is not our same skin color, they can’t accurately represent us or be our authority.

      • says

        You misunderstand the issue. If in fact the Ferguson police have a bias against hiring black officers, that reflects the strong possibility of a bias against black citizens. It is valid to say it may be that few qualified black people have applied for the position, we just don’t know. But if they have applied and have been denied, that indicates a deeper bias in the department which would certainly be concerning.

        • Dwight McKissic says

          Chris,

          No truer words have ever been spoken. I appreciate your perspectives and understanding of the issues involved here.

      • Dave Miller says

        It’s generally unseemly when white people claim to be victims of racism.

        Discrimination? Sometimes. In a limited sense. But systemic racism is something few of us fair-skinned folks can ever really understand.

        I cringe a little every time I hear about black racism against us poor white folks.

        • says

          Dave I believe your definition of racism then is wrong. In fact I consider your definition to basically be that only white people can be racist. To be fairly blunt and honest, I am sick of it. I was raised in one of the poorest states in the union yet it is predominately white. So this idea of white privilege doesn’t fly for me. I am sick of hearing that white people are all racist. In my life the people who I have known who have brought up race the most where not white. In fact it seems to be the narrative constantly repeated in the media and by “civil rights” leaders like Al Sharpton. They constantly feed the black community that all of their problems are the result of white people holding them back. They constantly teach them white people are racist. Then to re-enforce this narrative they point to stories like Trayvon Martin and now this story. But the facts behind the story don’t even actually prove the narrative. Facts don’t matter to those who are pushing this narrative because they only thing they need to hear is that a white person was involved with the death of a black person. It doesn’t matter than Trayvon assaulted Zimmerman. It doesn’t matter that Brown just committed a strong armed robbery, was on drugs and according to many eye witnesses attacked the police officer. No the only thing that matters is that this can be used to keep telling the narrative of the black people being held down by the whites. It kind of reminds me of how Palestinian children are taught that all Jews are evil. The story taught to the Palestinian children whether once justified now is used anytime the Israelis defend themselves from terrorists. And then it keeps perpetuating hatred on the behalf of the Palestinians. Well until the black community stops teaching their children that everything that happens to them is the result of white people aka white flight, white privilege, white cops, and ect, there will be hatred in the heart of black people to whites. This is not to remove blame from white people in the past who held slaves or committed racist acts. We white people have to fight against that. We have to and I believe many have taught their children to look beyond race. I was brought up to not think of race as a factor and I am trying to do that with my children who are biracial btw. But what good is it to teach my children that race is not a factor if the black community is not teaching their children the same thing.

        • says

          I would distinguish individual racism with systemic racism. I have experienced racism, but I have never experienced systemic racism. We need to end racism in all its forms, but systemic racism is the greater threat to the greatest number of people today.

      • says

        Chris R. According to the Ferguson Mayor in a statement a few days ago,

        “”We hire everyone that we can get. There’s also the problem that a lot of young African-American people don’t want to go into law enforcement. They already have this disconnect with law enforcement, so if we find people who want to go into law enforcement who are African-American we’re all over it because we want them to help us bridge the gap.””

        So according to the Mayor there does not seem to be a “bias against hiring black officers.”

        • says

          That is possible, as I said, we just don’t know. I know nothing about the mayor of Ferguson. But I do know one thing about humans in general: we very rarely admit to our biases, and even less so when the spotlight is on us. The mayor may be speaking absolute truth, but given the events of recent days – and given human nature – I have no reason to automatically believe him. I’m not calling him a liar, I’m just reserving judgment. Given all the contradictory statements made by the Ferguson police chief recently, some hesitation is warranted.

          • Tarheel says

            That’s very interesting Chris Roberts.

            It’s just odd to me for you to use the phrase “we just don’t know” on the hiring issue – when you have steadfastly refused to use it in the shooting – an instance what you probably should. Just sayin’

          • says

            Except Chris we don’t have all the info yet on the shooting. We have some. Just like we have some info on the hiring, incl. the statement by the mayor.

            Most of what the public knows of the shooting circumstances is the narrative put forward by the family, their attorneys and the big two…Sharpton and Jackson. None of those can be deemed unbiased since they have already called the officer a murderer.

          • says

            It’s called investigation and seeking to not prejudice any possible witnesses. Unlike the above mentioned who clearly have prejudiced the situation.

          • says

            Chris R., yes that might prejudice the case. Might not since it’s not conjecture, was released in response to FOI requests by the media and is relevant to the case since NOW it has come out that the officer didn’t engage these two guys because of the robbery but after engaging them noticed that they fit the description of the two store robbers hat was going out over the radio, so he backed up and reengaged them.

            But I’ll grant it might be prejudicial. Will you acknowledge that the family, other of their “supporters” and the two national race experts are also prejudicing the case accusing the officer of “murder” and “execution?” Will you also acknowledge that the police and DA are not obligated to arrest the officer simply b/c he shot an unarmed man? Will you acknowledge there may be legitimate reasons for the investigators and police departments involved to NOT release everything they know?

          • says

            Partial quote from a news report on FoxNews:

            “Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo., police officer whose fatal shooting of Michael Brown touched off more than a week of demonstrations, suffered severe facial injuries, including an orbital (eye socket) fracture, and was nearly beaten unconscious by Brown moments before firing his gun, a source close to the department’s top brass told FoxNews.com.

            “The Assistant (Police) Chief took him to the hospital, his face all swollen on one side,” said the insider. “He was beaten very severely.”

            According to the well-placed source, Wilson was coming off another case in the neighborhood on Aug. 9 when he ordered Michael Brown and his friend Dorain Johnson to stop walking in the middle of the road because they were obstructing traffic. However, the confrontation quickly escalated into physical violence, the source said..

            “They ignored him and the officer started to get out of the car to tell them to move,” the source said. “They shoved him right back in, that’s when Michael Brown leans in and starts beating Officer Wilson in the head and the face.

            The source claims that there is “solid proof” that there was a struggle between Brown and Wilson for the policeman’s firearm, resulting in the gun going off – although it still remains unclear at this stage who pulled the trigger. Brown started to walk away according to the account, prompting Wilson to draw his gun and order him to freeze. Brown, the source said, raised his hands in the air, and turned around saying, “What, you’re going to shoot me?”

            At that point, the source told FoxNews.com, the 6 foot, 4 inch, 292-pound Brown charged Wilson, prompting the officer to fire at least six shots at him, including the fatal bullet that penetrated the top of Brown’s skull, according to an independent autopsy conducted at the request of Brown’s family.”
            http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/08/20/missouri-cop-was-badly-beaten-before-shooting-michael-brown-says-source/

            If this is true, seems completely justified. Sad, but justified.

          • says

            “How inclined are you to trust that anonymous claim?”

            Oh I don’t know. The trial is where we’ll see hard facts laid out. But I probably trust it more than the co-robber who was with MB robbing the store a few minutes before the shooting. Remember that he gave a detailed version of events (sans the robbery) and became quite quoted as THE eyewitness to believe. Until, that is, the autopsy results came out and completely discredited him, as if his role in the robbery weren’t enough already to have discredited his eyewitness account.

          • says

            Chris,

            “And now we see how successful the police have been at their attempt to prejudice people against Brown.”

            I’m not prejudging the case. I have continually said ALL of us, including the Brown family, need to wait until all the facts come out. Almost everyone speaking up about this seems to assume the officer murdered MB. Why? Prejudiced by the statements by the family and their lawyers and the professional race issue followers? Quite possibly. Not much has been said about the officer.

            Question: do you even entertain he possibility that the shooting death may have been justified?

          • says

            Les,

            Of course. It may have been justified. But the information currently available does not indicate a justified shooting, and the police response has only given cause for increased suspicion.

          • says

            WND? Well you’re certainly free to show that the story is completely bogus. Or maybe there were justifiable reasons they shot and killed her. Or maybe he’s protecting his own. I don’t know. Just another story out there about our AG, they same AG who came to our fair state today.

          • says

            “Of course. It may have been justified.”

            And I’ll add that it may not have been justified. None of us here knows, do we? Nor does the family, their lawyers or the two national race experts.

        • says

          Chris R., I suspect you, I and everyone else should reserve judgment on this whole case. I agree that he could just be blind to his bias. We all suffer from that as you said. On the other hand, any applications would be on file for anyone, especially the feds, to see.

          As I said, we should all reserve judgment. We should not presume the officer guilty of murder as has been repeated over and over by the family lawyers. We should not presume him innocent either.

          We should not presume the young man did something which justified his being shot and killed. We also should not presume that he didn’t in fact do something which justified his being shot and killed.

          One other bothersome thing is the repeated calls for the officer to be arrested and charged…YESTERDAY! Are there any lawyers and/or police officers on here who can speak to this? It seems to me that there is no way the officer should have already been arrested and charged with anything since no one yet can 100% say he did something worthy of a charge. He did what he did as part of his job and absent video showing him executing the MB an investigation must take place to determine if his actions warrant his arrest. Of course many wrongly assume that he is guilty of murder since he shot a young black man who was unarmed. That fact does not warrant his being arrested.

          Any lawyers/officers have thoughts on this aspect?

          • says

            Les,

            I don’t know what goes in in the hirings of Ferguson. I can’t see those records. But I can hear the testimonies and read the news reports from the Brown shooting (no official report on that, unfortunately, since the police still have not released what people asked for). I can also see what has happened at the protests. The jury is still out on the shooting, though the info available thus far is damning. The jury is already back on the protests.

            As for calls for the officer’s arrest, that could be due to results found in the autopsy report released by Brown’s family.

          • says

            I don’t know either all the ins and outs of their hiring practices. My point is that the records can be accessed and I suspect the Feds will do just that.

            “The jury is still out on the shooting, though the info available thus far is damning.”

            Well not so sure. A STL Post Dispatch (bias alert should be noted…and not toward police) reporter tweeted a few days ago that according to sources there are there are 12 witnesses who corroborate the officer’s version of events.Not to mention the audio inadvertently picked up on a widely circulated video taken after the shooting, which said audio appears consistent with the account of the officer (according to leaks) saying that MB was rushing the officer after having apparently busted his head up pretty severely.

            “As for calls for the officer’s arrest, that could be due to results found in the autopsy report released by Brown’s family.”

            Yet said person performing the autopsy stated clearly that the fatal shot COULD HAVE been taken as MB was rushing forward toward the shooter. In any case, he said all the shots came from the front, undercutting the young guy who was with MB and said that the officer shot MB in the back while he had his hands up and trying to surrender.

            We al await facts.

          • D.L. Payton says

            Les
            you make some valid points here. It seems to me that we must let everyone do their jobs according to due process and await that outcome. After that has been done it would be legitimate IMO to review the process to see if there were irregularities in reaching the conclusions that were reached. If there were then it is time to take action. If not it is a tragedy that will forever be regretted.

            Regardless of the official outcome of the questions being asked, there must be some changes made in the makeup of the police.

          • cb scott says

            Two hours ago Fox News reported the PD administration stated that Officer Darren Wilson “suffered facial injuries — including an orbital (eye socket) fracture and was nearly beaten unconscious by Michael Brown moments before firing his gun.”

            If that is the case. If that is really what happened, Officer Wilson almost fired his weapon too late rather than too early. Some of you or maybe all of you may not agree. That’s fine. I understand and I pray you are never in a position wherein you are having to choose between being beaten to death or discharging your service weapon. That is the reality for a cop.

            And remember, were it not for cops, (men with firearms and capable of using them) you all (we all) might not sleep so soundly at night.

          • says

            CB, that injury to his eye along with other head blows may explain why he missed the center mass (which may have been survivable) and had to fire so many times. His vision was impaired and he was probably woozy from the head blows.

          • Lydia says

            CB,

            As you said we do not know all the facts yet. But I will say this, twitter has become positively Orwellian. And that is from mostly “Christian” tweets. If one does not admit “white privilege” then one is on the side of Jim Crow and agrees with police brutality. It is like reading propaganda soundbites from the Ministry of Truth. Some of them names we would recognize. But twitter is a window into the thinking out there and it is downright scary.

            I do not understand the constant barrage of the charge of “white privilege” when we have a black President elected twice with the help of white people, black US Attorney General going there, black state police chief trying his best to keep the peace, stop the looting, and so forth and so on. If such men in influential positions do not prove the days of Jim Crow are over, what will?

            We can cross this divide dealing in individual rights and wrongs. Not race. And sometimes it takes a while to ascertain what happened. Meanwhile, the media put that police officers house on the news. I do wonder why the issue of his being beaten has not been reported. Because of the mob rule, perhaps?

            Where is Major General Russell Honore’ when you need him?

          • cb scott says

            “CB, that injury to his eye along with other head blows may explain why he missed the center mass (which may have been survivable) and had to fire so many times.”

            Les Proudy,

            You are right. That is highly possible. As you and others who frequent this blog know, it is not as portrayed in the movies or as it was portrayed on Gunsmoke. One shot from a handgun (even .45 cal.) does not always stop a full grown man. There are many factors that come into play in a shooting.

            I realize this is a terrible thing. However, we must remember that cops do not take an oath to die in the line of duty. They take an oath to enforce the law and protect people who are trying to live in accord with the standards of a social order. Ours happens to be based on a Judeo-Christian ethic. Therefore, it is contrary to our social order to beat other folks to death in the street.

            It is the duty of a cop to stop such things from happening. Sometimes (sadly) the only thing that will stop such things is the use of lethal force.

  15. Mike says

    Mr. Shaver,

    STL City Police do have the residency requirement, but these smaller municipalities often do not. The police officer in question is from a South County neighborhood. He commutes to Ferguson.

    For point of reference…South St. Louis and South St. Louis County is predominantly Caucasian and North St. Louis and near North St. Louis County is predominantly African American.

    • Scott Shaver says

      Mike: I know a little about the geography of St. Louis. Pastored the Third Baptist Church there for a while in early 2000’s.

      Even if the white officer commutes to Ferguson, you’ve still got to answer the question of WHY blacks are disproportionately represented on the Ferguson police force.

      May not be as much of a “good ole boy” network as some are prone to imply.

      • says

        Good gracious what is the world coming too if I am agreeing with Scott Shaver? Is this the end times? I wonder. Thankfully I am sure something about Calvinists boycotting drunk traditionalists books at Lifeway will soon arise and we can get back to not liking one another. :D (Since I have been told my tone does not translate well over the internet, that was meant to be humorous and said in jest.)

        Scott you are entirely right. The lack of ethnic diversity on most police forces has less to do with racism inherent in the system, and more about certain ethnic cultures having a very strong distrust for law enforcement. That distrust is so large and pervasive, that if a member of that community were to join a law enforcement agency, they would be ridiculed, hated, and distrusted along with all other LEO’s. Indeed look at Ferguson, they brought in Captain Johnson (who is commander of Troop C of the MHP, which covers the St Louis area), and some (not all and maybe not even the majority) are criticizing him, calling him a “slave” to the “white man”, and distrusting him JUST because he is in Law Enforcement.

        Young people see that hostility, and the question become, why become Law Enforcement if large sections of your community will hate you for it?

        • Tarheel says

          SV,

          “(Since I have been told my tone does not translate well over the internet, that was meant to be humorous and said in jest.)”

          Tel me what that is like, I wouldn’t know.

          ;-)

  16. says

    As I read the comments and reflect back on the excellent article that Dr. McKissic has given us here, I have to ask what practical outworking is expected here. I suspect that the average Joe and Jane in the pew would be helped better if they knew what they could do. So I have a list of possibilities:

    A. Dr. McKissic admonishes us to teach biblical truth to our families and churches. I know that many churches do not teach biblical truth. However, in the political arena, it seems to be the churches who are largely teaching biblical truth who are most often vilified in the media in the course of fomenting vitriol in the racial divide. Nevertheless, we should continue to teach biblical truth regardless of how we are maligned. If we are already teaching biblical truth, what more should we do because it seems as though it’s not helping the tension any?

    B. Should we go out of our way to treat people of a different ethnicity better than those of our own ethnicity? I wonder that most people don’t already disrespect other ethnicities just as much as they disrespect their own. Should we just be nice to people or go out of our way to “get into” someone else’s subculture? Most on any side don’t want to do that because it makes them feel flatfooted and disadvantaged. No one likes to feel inferior, but I think we don’t often realize that we make others feel inferior by expecting them to follow our cultural expectations.

    C. Should we elect those politicians that the media tells us we should in order to pass those laws that would make the racial tension disappear? Or related: should we volley to pass the laws they advocate for racial equality? Since many of those politicians are also pro-abortion (and support other distasteful and sinful things) and many of us think that the policies they advocate for racial equality actually work against what they say they want, it doesn’t seem like a good reason to vote a certain way. By the way, I think most of us have a visceral sense that we are being manipulated by the media and by silver-tongued politicians.

    D. Should we stop making decisions for our families that are in their best interest so that we can make decisions that will be in someone else’s best interest? Actually, this aligns with the love of Christ. Some people actually make this decision in one form or fashion because they recognize the call of all Christians to ministry. But we also know that most of the people in our country are not committed to Christ, though many claim to be Christian. It’s unreasonable to expect those who are not committed to Christ to do live like Christ: sacrificially for others. We first need to work to get them committed to Christ.

    Of course, this also presumes that making decisions in the best interest of our families is adverse to making decisions that are in the best interest of others. The practical implications of that would take more discourse than is reasonable here.

  17. Tarheel says

    I find myself in complete agreement with CB Scott …. Maybe I’d better reconsider my position. ;-)

    • cb scott says

      Well then, Tarheel, please do so.
      I would hate to be the cause of you lowering the standard of what you consider to be such an exalted intellect to the absurdity of agreeing with such a mental and theological dwarf as am I.

      • Tarheel says

        Lol.

        It was a joke. I Guess the smiley didn’t convey that?

        I do not think those things of you – not at all.

  18. says

    CB,

    I think you’re right. If the Cop was beaten that badly in the face by Michael Brown….then, the Cop waited too long to shoot him. No Cop should have to face the threat of being beaten to death by a 6’5″ 260 lb, young man. If that big of a young man was charging an average sized cop, and was hitting him in the face so hard as to crush the eye socket, and was going for the cops gun… then the cop has the right….or should have the right….to go home, at night. He shouldn’t have to sit there, and take a beating…maybe even to death…by a thug.

    If I were a young man, and thinking about going into law enforcement… things like this would make me think 3 or 4 times before entering the police force. I mean, you might end up in prison just for trying to defend yourself. There you’d be…out there trying to help people….and defend the innocent….and put the bad guys in jail….and then, when one of the bad guys try to kill you, and you respond…to defend yourself….to keep from dying… then YOU are the one, who gets in trouble….and, may end up in prison.

    We live in a crazy world.

    David

    • Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. says

      David, CB, Greg Buchannan,

      We look through a glass darkly. We don’t know if the cop was initially attempting to arrest Mike Brown; or was he engaging him in dialogue only; did the cop grab him first out of anger as in a street fight, without a just cause, as some witnesses have claimed?; was Mike Brown defending himself against an overzealous cop who had no just cause to physically assault him?; did Mike Brown assault the cop first and the cop responded with his weapon? once Mike Brown escaped and was at least 30-35 feet away from the cop, was it then necessary to continue shooting him?; did the cop view Miachel Brown as a threat based on externals-race, neighborhood, clothing,etc.,-and respond to him accordingly?

      Why is it that we rarely, if ever, here about these type shootings in Beverly Hills, Park Avenue, Highland Park, South Lake… in other words exclusive predominately White high end neighborhoods? Boys there can be and are often high on drugs, engage in vandalism, disrepect to policeman, participate in fights and violent acts. etc….But why is it that the policeman don’t shoot and kill those boys? Why is is that Justin Bieber and Johnny Football can engage in all kinds of rowdy, drunken, and disrespectful behavior, and make it home safely; yet, a Black male gets shot and killed by a White cop every 28 hrs?

      Before we declare that the possible evidence of the cop being beaten is indicative of the fact that Mike Brown should have been shot and killed, we must first need to at least understand, who started the fight and why? We need to know who was defending themselves against whom?

      Historically, it is not uncommon for White cops to brutally beat up Black Men solely based on assumption and suspicion. The Ferguson Policeman are notorious for this type behavior. That is a reality that every Black Man knows and lives with everyday. I saw it first hand happen to my blood sister.

      Until we know more it is premature to give the cop a pass, and incriminate Mike Brown because the cop may have been beaten up. The question is why did the incident occur? We simply don’t know yet.

      I do understand that those who have not lived a Black Man’s reality on these issues, simply have no frame of reference from which to begin to understand why the Black Community is outraged. If the evidence proves that the killing of Mike Brown was justifiable–so be it. I will be the first to defend and give God praise that the cop handled this matter as he should have. But, let’s withhold judgement on that, until we have the facts.

      • cb scott says

        Dwight,

        Shame on you. Words matter. Notice my words. Notice the statement with which I began my comment after I quoted the news report.

        “If that is the case. If that is really what happened, Officer Wilson almost fired his weapon too late rather than too early.”

        What part of the word “if” do you not understand, Dwight?

        BTW, there were only around 400 cop related shooting deaths in this country last year. In addition, 91% of all shootings deaths among Black was Black on Black.

        BTW, if (notice the word “if”) Brown was 30-35 feet away when and he actually began to charge the cop, to shoot him may well be justifiable. Closing 35 feet by a man intent on doing bodily harm (or more bodily harm than he has already done.) takes very little time.

        Dwight, the truth is, you are making comments about something you do not understand: Violence. Dwight, you do not understand violence. You do not understand the nature of violence or the defense against violence.

        You are a good man, Dwight, and I love you, but it is obvious to me that you and I come to Christ from two very different worlds–two worlds that have absolutely nothing to do with racial differences.

        • says

          One problem is, new reports indicate those “anonymous reports” were wrong and while the officer had some facial bruising it was nowhere near as serious as the bruised, fractured eye socket, etc, certain anonymous sources claimed.

          • Dwight McKissic says

            CB,

            Eyewitness accounts say that he was not coming toward the officer angrily. He had been shot. He was in a surrender mold, according to the eyewitness. He was shot in the head, which suggest that he was in a lowered poster. The notion that his body could be considered a weapon I find appalling. I know that us how the law sees it. Now that I understand this, my size and presence alone makes me a threat in the presence of an officer. Because, officers show a propensity to shoot Black Men and ask questions later, all Black Men need to proceed with caution in the presence of officers. Had both Officer Wilson, and Mike Brown excercized restraint, we wouldn’t have this national crisis.

          • says

            Oh and that supposed star witness, Johnson, MB’s robbery partner is not credible at all. He claimed the officer shot MB in the back. The autopsy docs said all shots were in the front.

          • says

            Les,

            Would those witnesses be as reliable as the anonymous source which claimed bruising and fracturing of the eye socket? As for Johnson, his account is not discredited by particulars being incorrect. No account is ever 100% accurate and I never thought Johnson’s account completely correct. The question is whether his account, in the main, captured the situation.

          • says

            Well Chris R.,

            Would they be more reliable? The 12 witnesses? I don’t know. My point is in part that there are several witnesses claiming to corroborate the officer.

            As to Johnson, yes no one is 100% accurate. But to get it so backwards? He said MB was turned away with his back to the officer with his hands in the air surrendering and that the officer shot him in the back? That’s quite a lot more than a minor misremembering inaccuracy.

        • Wm. Dwight McKissic, Sr. says

          CB,

          I referenced the fact that you were raising a “possibility” or hypothetical. I responded to your “if” acknowledging that your statement was based on “if.’

          “Before that we declare that the possible evidence of the cop being beaten …….” Notice again the words “possible evidence.” Yes, you are right: “Words natter.” And what is it about “possible evidence” that you don’t understand?

          Consequently, I did not misrepresent your words. I don’t understand violence. Neither do I ever want to understand it based on experience. Your background apparently has given you a far greater understanding of it, I suppose. I concede that. But shooting an already wounded man from a distance of 35 feet who has no weapon? That is”overkill” to say thew least. Why was he shooting at him? What infraction had Mike Brown committed that lead to Officer Wilson confronting him? Even if the confrontation was regarding the strong arm robbery; the punishment for that crime is not death; nor does a cop have the right to execute punishment for such crime in the middle of a street. You’re right again. Our different backgrounds will cause us to view this one differently. Therefore, we are at the classic “agree to disagree” stage. I value you as a brother and appreciate your friendship. The truth on this case is probably somewhere in the middle.

          • cb scott says

            Dwight,

            No matter his race, an angry man coming toward you from 35 feet, intent upon a violent action, who is 6’4″ and weighs 292 lbs. is a weapon in and of himself. If he has even the most remote of skill, he is lethal even more so.

          • says

            CB and Dwight,

            When I use the word “ignorance” in a moment I mean absolutely no disrespect. I do NOT mean stupid or any such thing.

            But to say that if MB was charging the officer from 30 or so feet and he is as big as reported and CB cited, and as reported already broken the officer’s orbital eye socket and beat him about his head as reported and as reported he tried to get his firearm…if all that is true then as an officer is trained to stop the threat, it is not overkill as you say Dwight to fire at the threat until he is stopped and no longer a threat. That does not mean he wanted to kill MB. It means he did what he is trained to do with his firearm in such a situation. MB’s death was a sad consequence of his own actions if it happened as is being reported. If one doesn’t want to get shot, don’t beat a policeman and then charge at him after being told to freeze and get on the ground.

        • Dwight McKissic says

          Les,

          There will be the battle of the witnesses.

          BTW, why is it the the FPD will not release the incident report. Something smells rotten in Denmark.

          Les, I may be in Ferguson/St. Louis for a prayer vigil next Tuesday. The prayer meeting will be made up of Black Pastors from across the country. Pray that we will offer unto God effectual, fervent, and righteous prayers, that availeth much.

          • says

            Dwight, you are right that there will be a battle of witnesses. As to why the incident report has not been released I don’t know. I have surmised based on the police saying that they don’t want to prejudice any potential witnesses by releasing particulars, that since the investigation is ongoing it’s best to keep things secret at this point.

            I will pray for your prayer meeting brother. I will be in Haiti Sunday thru Wednesday or I’d like to meet you there and pray with you.

          • says

            Dwight,

            I know the pastor of FBC Ferguson. Stoney Shaw. He’s been in Baptist churches in the STL area for years. Good brother. You should contact him and see if he is interested in meeting with y’all for prayer. His email is sshaw@fbcferguson.org. I saw where he was interviewed in the last few days and his mixed church is trying to minister in the area as best as they can.

          • Lydia says

            And we have to wonder why the Michael Brown robbery vid was not released sooner. It was reported the DOJ asked them not to. But it does show a propensity toward violence which I think gave creedence to the anonymous report concerning Wilson being attacked. And then the autopsy showed Brown’s friend lied about being shot in the back.

            This was after days of hearing nothing but glowing reports on Michael Brown just minding his own business and a white cop was just looking to kill a black man. That is how this was presented for days.

          • says

            Again, without asserting certainty on what happened…

            The recent strongarm robbery he’d just committed demonstrates the state of mind of MB … He’d just committed a crime.

            Question for those decrying the release of the video….if there were a security surveillance video of Ofc. Wilson obtained by the family of MB of his telling a group of friends in a bar the night before the shooting that he had a fear of really big men. would you be against releasing it? Would you assume the worst regarding the brown family for releasing it? Wound you deem it irrelevant?

            Such a fear could likely give insight to the officers state of mind – even though, “technically”, it would “have nothing” to do with the shooting.

            State of mind is COMPLETELY relevant. No?

            Also, “The Justice Department didn’t want them to” – so what? The Justice Department has nothing to do with criminal investigations within states they have no authority and they should not have any authority. The only authority that the Justice Department has is to investigate civil rights violations which is a different matter they have nothing to do with what this how the state conducts investigations relating to criminal matters.

            The DOJ can bring civil rights charges irrespective of state charges. The Feds can’t charge Wilson with murder. Murder is not a federal charge – unless one kills a federal employee while he’s doing his job. The DOJ had zero to do with anything otter than civil rights violations that may have been perpetrated by the govt.

  19. Greg Buchanan says

    DAVID & DWIGHT –

    Both of you should be ashamed that you take the opportunity of a blog post to expose your own prejudice and predispositions for the sake of making a statement to appease your own conscience.

    Both of you are being selfish and should withdraw your posts.

    Both of you are claiming ignorance yet casting judgments by how you do or do not craft your phrases.

    As a result, you are both only advancing your own causes rather than the cause of Christ.

    I can’t comment on David’s false premises for fear of being labeled as judgmental: he has determined that there aren’t enough facts to have a solid opinion, therefore one can ONLY be judgmental at this point.

    I can’t comment on false premise thrown in here for fear of being labeled/dismissed as racist. This is preposterous on the surface because I do not hold to the idea of “races.”

    You Baby-Boomers would do well to advance the idea of “race relations” if you would all just stay out of it and let us “post-racial” folks (Gen X-ers) handle it from here. You guys keep screwing it up and are doing your best to “fix” your own personal cultural memories.

    Unless you old guys pounded it into our heads as kids (see THOSE people over there…. they aren’t like us…) then we generally don’t SEE races. I see people.

    Different personal histories.

    Different cultural backgrounds.

    Sometimes, fascinating new languages to hear.

    In the end, just people.

    Please lets go back to posting on Calvinism or alcohol or dancing and stop trying to help in this area. It’s not working.

    • Dave Miller says

      The idea that America, even younger Americans, are “post-racial” is counterfactual nonsense.

      • Tarheel says

        Some might argue that the “white guilt” and “we’re still in Jim Crow” contentions are counterfactual nonsense…in fact one might even add stronger words. Counterproductive. Stupid.foolish.ridiculous. To name a few.

        I agree with Greg. Except it being crammed in my face on a regular basis generally by people of my parents generation – on both sides of the issue – and others who often with noble intent, repackage racism in a softer form – I don’t see things through the lens of skin color…I just see people.

        I also agree that there’s no such thing as diverse races…there’s but one race…the human race. Differences in Ethnicities? Yes. Pigmentation differences? Yes. But, Those things are external and temporal.

        Differences in Intrinsic worth? No. Differences in standing as a being created in Gods image? No.