On Tuesday afternoon, around 2 p.m., I was at the St. Louis County Courthouse and while parking was limited due to the construction of a new parking garage adjacent to the courthouse and the usual metered parking lot across from the courthouse was also limited due to protesters about 500 yards away, picketing outside the St. Louis County Buzz Westfall Justice Center where the office of the St. Louis County Prosecutor, Bob Mcculloch worked. Most of the parking spots in the lot and along nearby blocks were off limits to parking by private citizens. The meters had red bags over them with something about Reserved for Emergency Vehicles. I did managed to drive through the metered courthouse parking lot, only to be stopped by a police officer in all black riotgear asking what my business was there today. I stated that I was looking for parking to gain access to the courthouse. He told me to move along. After being nearly run over by emerging cars scrambling for parking spots as if their lives depended on it, I drove off. I ended up finding a metered parking spot on the other side of the St. Louis County Police Headquarters where ironically, nobody was protesting. Although, my advice to anyone going to the St. Louis County Courthouse or IRS building next door to the courthouse, allow yourself about 45 minutes to find adequate parking which could very well be about 3-4 blocks away. Several of the nearby streets alongs S. Central Ave where the courthouse and Justice building are located were blocked off by police barricades.
As soon as I approached the entrance to the courthouse, I could hear that chanting by protesters:
"What do we want?"
"Who do you protect?"
"Who do you serve?"
"Hands up, don't shoot!"
I was aware that there were protesters in Ferguson and in parts of Saint Louis County but I did not expect to witness this site in Clayton today. Well, at least from what I witnessed today, the crowd remained civil; however, by the sight of police in riot gear and carrying around assault rifles and military grade kevlar it was clear the police were ready to take action if needed.
Between all of the civil rights violations, racial profiling, the war zone going on about 20 minutes from my home, and the not so civil protesters, the rioting, and now the National Guard patrolling the streets of Ferguson and Saint Louis County, there is one song that I am reminded of and honestly, if you read between the lines of the lyrics, the song pretty much speaks volume. CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO OF CIVIL WAR BY GUNS 'N ROSES [X]
"What we have here is a failure to communicate... I don't like it anymore than you do...."
--- Axl Rose
I love how Civil Rights Activist, Al Sharpton has been in Saint Louis and was quick to defend Michael Brown. While I am not staking an opinion just yet that the victim was a perpetrator that led to his death, I am merely suggesting to wait for all of the evidence and witness testimony to speak the truth rather than simply makings snap judgements about Michael Brown's character based on character witnesses by friends and family members. Al Sharpton has stirred up just as much hostility as has many of the protesters and a good many of them do not care about Michael Brown's death but rather a crime of opportunity to steal merchandise from store owners and burn down a QT gas station. I mean seriously, How does stealing and burning down stores make those people any better than the police officer who probably shot an unarmed kid for nothing more than his own prejudice and empowerment? I doubt very seriously that Michael Brown's parents and extended family members are behind the rioting and mayhem. There is a civil way of seeking justice for Michael Brown's death and it is certainly not by committing multiple felonies of theft and egging on the police with more violence.
Change needs to come from both sides of the law but in this case, there are 3 sides: (1) The police department, (2) the private citizens, (3) the criminals. However, these days it tends to be somewhat difficult reading between the lines of who is who. First thing they should be doing is, terminate the Police Chief of Ferguson for his poor tactics and the way he allowed the police to handle the shooting of Michael Brown in the first place. A first responder whether police or EMS should NEVER leave the scene of a shooting especially where there is a fatality unless the first responder's life has potentially life threatening wounds. The police officer Wilson should have done many things differently that day but the one thing he should have done was called for backup the moment a single shot was fired.
Nonetheless, here it is about 50 something years later and we still have yet to get the war on civil rights resolved amicably. I am a Civil Rights Activist which is why I always try to right from both sides and voice my opinion afterwards but I truly believe that Rev. Al Sharpton has only added to the violence in the streets of Ferguson and Saint Louis County, If Civil Rights Activists, Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or even Rosa Parks were alive today, one they would be so ashamed by reactions on both sides but also by the need to remind everyone what it means to come together during a time like this. Sure, there was at least one bad apple in the police force; one who killed an unarmed man and no matter who it is spawn with; Michael Brown charged at the police officer or he had his hands up and begged the officer not to shoot him, let alone kill him; I have to wonder now whether Ferguson police officers carry Taser guns which probably would have left this victim alive and talking rather than executed as if to shut him up.
No matter, I am reminded of some famous quotes that I feel need to be restated today:
"The future belongs to those who prepare for it today." -- Malcolm X
"We must learn to live together as brothers, or we will perish together as fools." -- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"If you cannot fly, then run. If you cannot run, then walk. If you can't walk, then crawl. But, whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward." -- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
"True peace is not merely the absence of tension, it is the presence of justice." -- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.