Published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch 08/02/16
Last week, the Baltimore prosecutor’s office ended its efforts to convict six police officers for the death of Freddie Gray, the Baltimore resident who died last year as a result of spinal injuries he suffered while in the back of a police van. Many Black Lives Matter activists immediately suggested that, yet again, the police had gotten away with the murder of an African-American.
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I had the strangest conversation recently. I was at the rally/protest for the new Ferguson Police Chief, talking with one of the social justice protesters. She insisted that socialism was the answer for the United States. Afterwards I couldn’t help but think that the social justice movement’s fascination with socialism was somehow undermining the economic gains being made by African Americans.
Published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch 02/21/16
Something has gone terribly wrong with the social justice movement. The heavy lifting of making things better is being consumed by a free-floating anger that has little connection to what is actually happening in our country.
Think I’m exaggerating? Some of the angrier members of the social justice community are calling for the recall of Ferguson Councilwoman Ella Jones.
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Published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch 1/28/16
Baffled by “White Privilege” in Ferguson
“White privilege” recently made an appearance in the presidential race when a college student, Thalia Anguiano, asked Clinton what the term “white privilege” meant to her.
I have to admit I am baffled by the term. As a resident of Ferguson Missouri, my wife and I have had more than our share of conversations using terms and ideas such as white privilege, white supremacy, white male power (my personal favorite was when I asked an activist at a social justice meeting, an older white woman, the goals she saw for the organization and she responded “I won’t be forced into your white male hierarchy”).
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I don’t know Jonathan Butler, the Mizzou hunger striker, and I’ve only been to the campus a few times, but it’s hard for me to believe all this happened just because of the three reported incidents.
My wife and I attended the Ferguson Police Rally on Sunday. We didn’t go to support or protest Darrin Wilson, Michael Brown, Eric Garner or anyone else. We went because for the last several months we have found ourselves wanting to hug every police officer we see.
Our government’s efforts to extend opportunity to all of our citizens have fallen short, and we really don’t know why. We don’t know why some people are able to take advantage of opportunities and education, and others are not. We don’t know how life events outside school impacts a child’s education inside. We need to apply the data collection and analytical tools of the private sector to measuring and improving society’s efforts to extend opportunity. Without this step, the conditions that led to the social unrest in Ferguson are unlikely to be improved.
I don’t know if Darren Wilson is innocent or guilty. But I am stunned at the questions the prosecuting attorney did not ask. Wilson suggested that he had no choice but to kill Brown because Brown was a demon that was unafraid of being shot and killed. Even a first year law student could come up with questions to test Wilson’s statement.
A protester friend wrote of her experiences last night. She noted that she was at the front lines of social justice, as a peaceful protester and helping to confront agitators. She suggested the question that people needed to ask themselves was “Where were you last night?” My wife and I were on the front line, a different part since we live in Ferguson not too far from the police station. We spent part of the night looking out the front window to see if the destruction was coming into our neighborhood and part of it in the back yard watching the flames from the nearby Little Caesar’s Pizza and resale shop that were burning to the ground.
Published in St. Louis Post-Dispatch
In April the residents of Ferguson will go to the polls to vote on the city’s leadership. One way to increase voter participation in the election would be to keep the polls open two days instead of just one. Arguably, all elections, federal and state, should allow for voting over multiple days.