December 3, 2014

A Night Already Devoid of Stars

From the earliest days of the modern state of Israel, the Palestine Liberation Organization began to scheme for ways to destroy it. One of their tactics was to bring their own children into war zones, and use them as human shields. Inevitably the Israelis returned fire, and many innocent children died. Surely the global news reports of Israeli “cruelty” would shame them into backing down. (Update: it didn’t work.)

In a historic address to Washington’s National Press Club in 1957, Foreign Minister Golda Meir remarked, “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

It’s so simple: No matter your opinion of the ongoing conflict between Arabs and Jews, there must be limits to what you’re willing to do to advance your cause. No matter how legitimate. How sweet can any victory ever be, if you destroy the very people you were fighting for? This is where my mind reflexively wanders, whenever I think of the current troubles in Ferguson, MO.

Is Officer Wilson a racist? I don’t know, and neither do you.

Is the prosecutor a racist? I don’t know, and neither do you.

Were the jurors racists? I don’t know, and neither do you. Heck, we don’t even know who they are.

...And yet, this is the single issue that colors every discussion, debate, and news story on the subject.

Did Michael raise his hands to signal surrender? The witnesses disagree, but all three autopsies say no.

Did Michael charge toward the officer? Five BLACK witnesses say yes. His BLACK friends were there the whole time and saw everything. Yet they didn’t restrain him.

You want justice? Officer Wilson didn’t just get blamed for killing a local resident. In the eyes of many, he’s guilty of the blood of every other black person who ever died in street violence. He was guilty before Michael's body hit the ground, before he ever got a chance to explain himself. Forget the investigation, let's hang him now. Whatever he might have done or failed to do, that's not justice.

On the night of the announcement, Louis Head (Michael’s stepfather) stood on a car to give a passionate speech to the crowd: “Burn this mother f—er down!” and “Burn this bitch down!,” over and over again. And indeed, they did. That’s not love for his child, it’s hatred for Whitey.

Update: Mr. Head issued a public “apology” this morning, insisting that the incident didn't reflect his true character. Essentially it's a plea of temporary insanity, where he was blinded by rage and sorrow in the heat of the moment. In the end, his multiple excuses rendered the "apology" almost meaningless. (But now I'm curious, would he accept the same explanation from Officer Wilson? That he's a good person who had a momentary lapse in judgment in a difficult situation? Sure. I will start holding my

In spite of the grand jury’s action, the US Department of Justice is determined to find someone to hang. Attorney General Eric Holder proposes to turn the justice system upside down, so that “we can eliminate racial profiling, once and for all.”

Oh, really? You think you have the power to do that?

Here’s the thing: With the slightest (or no) evidence you can label people as racists, all day long. You can persecute and punish them, more and more severely with each passing year. You can impute motives, pass new laws, appoint “enlightened” judges, and rail against the injustice of racism.

But only God can change peoples' hearts.

Surely, by the arm of the state, we can compel and threaten people into good behavior for a time. But will any of this ever motivate a single racist to start loving the people he formerly hated? I can’t see it. Come on, when was the last time that an angry rant ever changed your opinion of anything? One thing is clear: Peace will not come to Ferguson (or America), until black parents love their children more than they hate Whitey.

…until Al Sharpton preaches repentance to his own people, instead of excusing their bad behavior at all costs.

…until Ferguson residents resist the urge to punish non-combatants and ruin their own local economy.

...until they disavow their (foolish and demonstrably false) notion that racism is a one-way problem.

…until young black men love each other enough to say “hey man, don’t do that.”

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

--Dr. King

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