Ferguson

So many have written and asked my thoughts on Ferguson and I have delayed long enough, although to be completely real I do not want to share my opinion at all. What I have to say couldn't be more obvious. The discussion is so deeply complicated a large part of me doesn't think that anyone's individual opinion is productive. Violence is so close to my professional heart I am certain my thoughts on it are so biased and skewed by passion there is no sense in voicing them. In these instances of media crazy, racially charged, violent instances where we will never know exactly what happened, we will never know true responsibility and blame and for that reason we all share the blame. For these reasons I have remained silent. More than anything, however, at this point I don't want to run the risk with my non-engagement in the conversation to appear disinterested or the topic unimportant.

These concerns are deeply important to me. I spend the majority of my day working to prevent and intervene against violence. And the violence continuum is more vast than we have words available to us to explain. Micro aggressions like silent prejudice or indirect gender discrimination to road rage and sexual harassment to assault and homicide. The continuum is awful from one side to the other and it truly hurts me to know we even have a continuum left. And therein lies my real feeling of Ferguson, I just wish that the aggressions leading up to it, the aggressions involved during the incident, and the aggressions following the incident no longer occurred.

And they still do. I know that for many Ferguson is all about race, for me it has very little to do with race. Ferguson is about another life lost, another police officer that has to spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder, another mother and father that will not ever see their son alive again, another community shattered, and another incident that will tarnish our society permanently. Another incident that was preventable.

Although I feel for all participants involved, what is most prominently on my mind is the lost opportunity to learn from this incident to prevent similar future crises. Although pain drives the anger and desire for retaliation, it solves nothing. Michael died and that is unacceptable but the response afterwards is equally as unacceptable. Why aren't we talking about the black Americans that are killing each other every day, gang aggressions, domestic violence, date rape, and school shooters? Why aren't we talking about the common denominator of lack of care for others and how to teach that to our children. Why aren't we sitting around brainstorming how to teach conflict resolution and community violence prevention? What about parenting skills and taking responsibilities for your actions? What about de-escalation talking strategies for police officers? What about gun responsibility?

The solution to Ferguson starts within all of us, in our taking responsibility for this violent, individualistic, and emotionally disengaged culture we have created. We all killed Michael Brown and put Darren Wilson out of an occupation forever. We all burned down the buildings, we all looted, we all rioted, we all responded inappropriately to a profoundly sad experience. We all need to think about what we did to contribute to this tremendously horrific experience. And each one of us needs to dig deeper and figure out what we can do individually, systemically and culturally to make amends for our contribution.

To those of you that would like to know what I think about Ferguson, it is this: it is time. We must go the other direction, violence has not produced the results we want we need to step away from hurting others. Let us move toward one another. It is time. Let us join and ask what the other needs. It is time. Let us put our soapboxes and grandiosity away. It is time. Let us stop buying McMansions, Maserati's, and million dollar diamonds and at the same time ensure our citizens have food to eat. It is time. With fairness and justice and kindness, violence will cease. It is time.