A verse in Ecclesiastes tells us “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”
Following the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, the town of Ferguson has experienced a time of grief, a time to express grievances and a time of turmoil.
Those grievances include, but are not limited to, issues of:
- Racial equality. The teen, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by a white police officer, reigniting fears that law enforcement agencies do not apply the law equitably.
- Confidence and credibility. Some residents and observers fear any investigation by authorities will not be impartial.
Which brings us to the matter of timing.
Repeated protests and demonstrations apply continued public pressure. They are designed to prevent the investigation and discussion of the grievances and issues from fading into oblivion or being swept under the proverbial rug.
A problem is that high-visibility protests that attract national — and, in this case, international — attention also attract attention-seekers.
A news story in Wednesday’s News Tribune reported only four Ferguson residents were among the 57 people arrested during a recent demonstration. Others arrested included residents of surrounding communities and 16 from out of state.
Both Gov. Jay Nixon and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder have appealed for calm instead of conflict, for order instead of chaos.
Holder pledges a full and fair investigation, which he admits will take time to complete. In the interim, he has called for the tensions to subside and the violence to end.
We believe the protesters have delivered their message loudly and clearly. It has reverberated throughout the country. The grievances and issues raised in the aftermath of the shooting death will not — indeed, must not — be diminished or dismissed.
Now is the time to begin the healing process.
Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission.