Seemingly, the dust has settled a bit on the protests, demonstrations and looting in Ferguson, Missouri. Those activities followed the decision of a grand jury not to indict the policeman who shot an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, a few months ago.
As most are aware, the protests, demonstrations and looting spread from Ferguson to places as far away as Oakland, Cal. and New York City. Stores were burned, valuable items were looted, bridges were blocked and mayhem was unleashed.
A public servant in Milwaukee County who was interviewed on national television said that the biggest source of the problem is lack of respect for authority. When young men are raised with no responsible adult male in the family, respect for authority often does not develop.
When such young men are confronted by policemen for unlawful behavior, including robbery and resisting arrest, those young men all too often react violently. That violent response triggers forceful actions by law enforcement officers that result in injury or even death of the perpetrator, of the protector, or of both.
The Commandments given by God to Moses millennia ago are still apropos today, particularly:
- The Fifth Commandment: You shall not kill.
- The Seventh Commandment: You shall not steal.
No one I know is happy when any person, especially a young person, is shot and killed, particularly by an officer of the law. No one I know condones or supports wrongful behavior in response to legal decisions properly made. The troubles in Ferguson and other parts of our country are improper, inappropriate and wrongful responses to wrongful behavior.
What’s the bottom line?
- If you don’t violate the law, you won’t have trouble with officers of the law.
- If you do have trouble with the law, don’t exacerbate the situation with acts of violence.
- It’s unrealistic to expect sinful human beings to end such violence automatically.
- We have much work to do in our church, our country and our world to restore proper respect for time honored, God given values and the people who teach and enforce them.
In the meantime, it will take a miracle for what happened in Ferguson never to happen again!