You know this, but are you doing it?

In wake of Ferguson riots, respect and civility should start with love

  • Follow Editorials

An old story is told of a monk named Birdsnest who sits high atop a tree and dispenses wisdom to the curious below.

One day a governor travels from several states over to ask him, “Birdsnest, what should I do?” After a few moments, the monk replies, “Always do good things; never do bad.”

This infuriates the governor, who cries out, “I have come all this way to hear that? I knew that when I was a child!”

“So?” the monk replies. “Have you done it?”

This is the question Americans must ask themselves today, in the wake of violent protests in Ferguson, Mo., after the shooting of an unarmed black youth by a white police officer.

As we sit here today, most of us have little idea what transpired in that fateful confrontation. Authorities must sort it out knowing the nation is watching closely.

But what we do know is what works and what doesn’t.

We know that there are principles that successful people follow. Living responsibly; staying in school; avoiding drugs; delaying pregnancy; getting and staying married; thinking of others first, and more. We’re taught all this – or at least we used to be. Honest, open minds, though, know these things intrinsically, or stumble upon such truths in their everyday experiences.

But the main thing that we all know that works – and which we don’t do enough – is love.

That may sound as trite to you as the monk’s advice did to the governor – but do we do it?

Love leads to respect and civility, the building blocks of a peaceful, safe, civilized community or country.

Are we doing it?

It has been said that “America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.” Birdsnest could not have said it better. But the same goes for individuals and communities. Societies, especially free ones, are constructed by individuals – one individual act at a time.

After an incident such as the one in Ferguson, a little love goes a long way.

Comments (35) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Riverman1
90653
Points
Riverman1 08/18/14 - 07:33 am
14
1
Not Feeling The Love

Love is fine as long as it’s not replacing the truth. The truth is the 300 lb. man had robbed a store minutes before his arrest. He didn’t peacefully submit to the arrest by the award winning officer with an excellent record. The narrative which is actually inspiring the violence now appears to ignore the video and fact he had just robbed the store and come up with a nebulous one of lack of respect by police and any other way to justify the man’s criminal behavior that can be conjured out of thin air.

The local police have been told they are no longer needed by the Democratic Governor as he, too, promotes the lies. Sorry, but I’m not feeling the love.

Sweet son
11089
Points
Sweet son 08/18/14 - 10:09 am
10
1
Hate is all that I'm seeing!

Some blacks hate whites and especially white police officers. Al Sharpton hates whites and is nothing but a race baiter. These blacks and Sharpton like nothing more than to use a tragic incident like this to show their sentiments.

I wish the AC's fairy tale wish on this one was right but I don't think so.

And right now the Brown family's news conference is not a news conference it's a smearing of Officer Wilson with quotes from attorneys about how he 'executed' Brown. I hope this trying of the case in the media comes back to bite them..

Darby
28388
Points
Darby 08/18/14 - 11:12 am
10
1
"These blacks and Sharpton like

nothing more than to use a tragic incident like this to show their sentiments."

.
My edit - "These blacks and PARTICULARLY Sharpton like nothing more than to foment and fan the flames of violence."

Darby
28388
Points
Darby 08/18/14 - 11:24 am
10
1
If anyone has doubt about Sharpton,

you gotta wonder why?

From Tawana Brawley to Crown Heights, the man has proved time and time again that he's nothing more than a full time hate monger.

During the Crown Heights debacle, Al Sharpton led a march through the area, carrying antisemitic signs and an Israeli flag was burned. A Jewish citizen was murdered as was another man who protesters thought to be a Jew.

One black young man, was tried for the murder, acquitted but later admitted his quilt (safe from double jeopardy).

Two weeks later, an Italian business man was shot and killed in the area, ostensibly because he was thought to be a Jew.

There were no mass riots by whites (or Jews). Wondering why?

Can you say "Double Standard"? Can you say, Democrats condescend to black violence?

Michael Ryan
786
Points
Michael Ryan 08/18/14 - 11:44 am
3
3
I've been around the block a

I've been around the block a few times, and I don't think something that has been proven successful repeatedly through the centuries and has improved and even saved lives can ever be called a "fairy tale."

historylover
14420
Points
historylover 08/18/14 - 11:50 am
4
0
ACES

What a great, great commentary. There are many of us out here who do in fact not only agree with you but try to put this love into action in our everyday lives.

I'm sure some of the above posters do too. This incident has caused a lot of confusion for the entire country. There are many emotions running rampant.

All I can say, is let's hope that when the truth finally comes out that this police officer was in the right. If not, the unrest nation wide is surely going to grow.

seenitB4
93730
Points
seenitB4 08/18/14 - 12:42 pm
7
0
I'm not feeling the love either RM

Just wondering....do you think that couple at Marvin Methodist Church should have shown love....not trying to be cute here, but just realize when evil shows the ugly head all the love in the world runs out the door.
Btw, a friend told me this am her husband worked with this man & he was one of the kindest men he had ever known...what a waste for a piece of garbage to kill him.

The best thing the police in Ferguson could do is MOVE & get another job...leave the place...I'm sure many stores will leave.

corgimom
36770
Points
corgimom 08/18/14 - 01:02 pm
8
0
It is very obvious to me that

It is very obvious to me that Brown's parents' actions demonstrate a lack of respect for the police and shifting of blame to others.

And there is no doubt in my mind that they taught those values to their son- and you see the results.

historylover
14420
Points
historylover 08/18/14 - 01:06 pm
1
5
SeenIt

Yours is not the first comment to compare the local shooting of Mr. Davitte to the events in Ferguson, MO. Can you please explain to me why people see any similarity?

The shooting in Ferguson was by a policeman. The shooting at the church was by a citizen. A terrible citizen, a murderer and apparently an evil man - agreed. But he was not a law enforcement officer. To me, that is the reason the two are not comparable. I have always expected law enforcement to be held to higher standards than the general public.

corgimom
36770
Points
corgimom 08/18/14 - 01:06 pm
10
2
I'm not confused in the

I'm not confused in the slightest. Brown was a criminal, the police officer confronted him, there was a scuffle, and he was shot to death.

There is nothing confusing about that at all.

corgimom
36770
Points
corgimom 08/18/14 - 01:09 pm
10
2
I am all for peaceful

I am all for peaceful protests. But there is no place for riots and violence.

And what are people protesting? That there is a police presence in their community? That someone walking down the middle of the street will be stopped by the police, which is common sense? That the officer felt threatened, and shot someone?

If that white police officer had shot a white man, no one in Ferguson would've said or done anything.

seenitB4
93730
Points
seenitB4 08/18/14 - 01:21 pm
9
1
HLover

First of all I didn't compare the 2 events ...I said love doesn't conquer all...you can bend over backwards & it won't make a difference...

About the Ferguson case though...NO ONE wants to wait for the final RESULTS/FINDINGS....it is foolish to THINK we know what happened, we don't & neither do the upset people in Ferguson...

But while we are asking questions, can you tell me why the blacks don't get upset like this when 100s of innocents die almost daily in Chicago & Detroit??

I will be back off/on on this site...can't stay right now.

CobaltGeorge
170476
Points
CobaltGeorge 08/18/14 - 01:59 pm
6
3
historylover,

Your last sentence "I have always expected law enforcement to be held to higher standards than the general public." sort of implies that you feel that the policeman in your mind is Guilty.

burninater
9799
Points
burninater 08/18/14 - 02:17 pm
3
7
Numerous and corroborating

Numerous and corroborating witnesses state that when the victim was killed, he was tens of feet away from the officer, not resisting, with hands raised. The autopsy confirms that there were no signs of struggle, and no powder residue was present on the victim -- despite multiple wounds on unclothed portions of his body.

There are specific and substantive reasons why the public is viewing this event as a likely homicide. It is tragic that this officer apparently lost control of himself this day, but being employed as a law enforcement officer does not exonerate one from the consequences of one's actions.

seenitB4
93730
Points
seenitB4 08/18/14 - 02:23 pm
9
1
More versions

The initial claim that Michael Brown was virtually executed by a Ferguson Police Officer has been radically reversed.

An eyewitness to the shooting picked up on video and a friend of the involved officer both tell a similar story. Both accounts have Brown fighting with the Ferguson police officer at his vehicle, Brown turning to flee, and then Brown turning to taunt the officer. Brown then charged at the officer and forced a lethal force response.
----------------------------------------------------------------

Some say he was on the ground....some say he was shot in the back..on on...some say he returned to face the officer....

Let the facts come out please....,why is that so hard for some...dang

Riverman1
90653
Points
Riverman1 08/18/14 - 02:31 pm
8
0
I'm curious why Burn and

I'm curious why Burn and others think the officer who had an excellent record and worked in this community purposefully killed the man without cause?

burninater
9799
Points
burninater 08/18/14 - 02:34 pm
3
7
Seenit, those aren't the only

Seenit, those aren't the only relevant facts, unfortunately.

The police response to people exercising their Constitutional rights to assembly and speech, including an armored vehicle with a sniper turret, have become a larger part of this story than Brown's killing.

itsanotherday1
46989
Points
itsanotherday1 08/18/14 - 02:36 pm
6
1
Amen seenit; I pray that

Amen seenit; I pray that exonerating evidence comes forth, though the blind and dumb will claim it is doctored. Right now, my gut says that this particular officer did not shoot this fellow without cause. It just doesn't pass the smell test. However, if it PROVES that he did, I will be the first to call for his prosecution and incarceration. Either way, without some strong corroboration, no one on either side knows what happened.

And BTW burn, if your version is true; how did the officer receive bruises and abrasions that were treated at the hospital? Or is that a fabrication, like the video of Brown robbing the store?

itsanotherday1
46989
Points
itsanotherday1 08/18/14 - 02:39 pm
4
1
Your 3:34 Burn

I agree to an extent, but what came first; the heavy handed response or the unruly behavior? If it was just a peaceful gathering of people protesting, then the response was indeed inciting and unnecessary. However, if the police could see tensions rising and violence on the horizon, a strong response is warranted.

burninater
9799
Points
burninater 08/18/14 - 02:58 pm
1
6
iad1, it's entirely possible

iad1, it's entirely possible that Brown pushed the door back on the officer as he was leaving the vehicle. I am not arguing that Brown appears to be an entirely innocent victim. I am more concerned with the appearance of allowing that pretext to justify a disproportionate use of force resulting in a homicide. Remember, it is the police -- not Brown's witnesses -- that state that Brown was 35 feet from the vehicle when shot to death. This distance does not corroborate a "charge" requiring immediate lethal force as suggested above.

historylover
14420
Points
historylover 08/18/14 - 02:58 pm
2
4
Cobalt George

My post in no way indicated that I thought the officer was guilty. If you read my post, I am asking a question. Many posters have asked questions like " where are the protests and riots here?" "Why hasn't Al Sharpton come here?" The facts in the two cases are so disparate and I'm curious why all of this treating the two events as if they are the same.

Seenit - I see now that I apparently read your post too quickly. There was no comparison. Sorry.

I too a off and on here. I'll check back later.

burninater
9799
Points
burninater 08/18/14 - 03:15 pm
3
5
To me, the heart of the

To me, the heart of the problem is the asymmetry of accountability between the police and the public. When a conflict between public and official accounts exists that is not resolvable with physical evidence, the official account virtually always prevails.

Our criminal justice system exists in large part because we believe that the threat of punishment discourages antisocial behaviors. When we create a bubble of official immunity, the discouraging of antisocial behavior by threat of punishment no longer operates. The fact that many law enforcement agencies continue to resist the use of cameras does not inspire confidence that the official immunity is not exploited in a significant manner.

Finally, psychological experiments have shown that a majority of people in an organization, or taking orders from a perceived authority, will behave in ways that contradict their personal ethics if the organization or authority demands. If an organization demonstrates a culture of contempt for the public -- and the police response in Ferguson has arguably shown repeated instances of that -- it is possible that even an individual with the best intentions will adopt that contemptuous attitude without meaning to.

This brings us back to this editorial, and the importance of acting from an attitude of love -- even as an institution, such as a law enforcement agency.

Angela H
9722
Points
Angela H 08/18/14 - 03:20 pm
4
2
Witnesses at the scene

Witnesses at the scene corroborate the officer's story....but only when they don't think the media is listening.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdL9dqkyjhM&feature=youtu.be&t=6m1s

Darby
28388
Points
Darby 08/18/14 - 03:22 pm
4
1
Michael Ryan -

In theory, you are right, of course.

On the other hand, "love" as the article describes it, must be reciprocal in order to have any chance of success.

When we have POTUS, his Attorney General, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson et al., continuously cheer-leading against racial harmony, and against rational and measured responses to events such as occurred in Crown Heights, South Central Los Angles, the Trayvon Martin incident and now Ferguson....

....the "love" you pursue will forever be elusive and unrequited.

You're talking one-way traffic on a two-way street!

Darby
28388
Points
Darby 08/18/14 - 03:34 pm
5
1
And one more thing.....

I'm sick to the teeth of the New York Times, leading with "The unarmed teen" etc.

No he didn't have a firearm. But the photos and video in the convenience store show him to be more than large enough and powerful enough to snap the neck of an opponent.

We don't know yet if he charged the officer... On the other hand, if he or someone like him is bearing down on me with obvious intent to do bodily harm, I'm shooting first.

And no, my liberal friends, while I'd prefer that he survive, I'm not "shooting to disable" whatever the heck THAT is!

itsanotherday1
46989
Points
itsanotherday1 08/18/14 - 03:49 pm
3
1
burn

I'm on the same page with you on your 4:15. Well stated.

Angela H
9722
Points
Angela H 08/18/14 - 03:49 pm
4
2
"Shooting to disable" is an

"Shooting to disable" is an irresponsible and dangerous act that liberals would do if they didn't oppose guns in the first place.

Angela H
9722
Points
Angela H 08/18/14 - 03:51 pm
5
2
Yes, burn....I agree with

Yes, burn....I agree with your 4:15 as well. If you are ticketed because a police officer says you weren't wearing a seat belt, and you say that you were....and their is no other evidence.....just who's side will the judge go with? Guilty unless you can prove you are innocent.

ELLIOTTMESS55
1335
Points
ELLIOTTMESS55 08/18/14 - 07:12 pm
0
0
someone, somewhere has a
Unpublished

someone, somewhere has a video of this incident.almost everyone excluding myself has a need to capture everything that moves on their dumb down silly gadgets.the fact that none has been seen is a good indicator that this case will boil down to a he said she said mess glad i"m not on the jury.

myfather15
55844
Points
myfather15 08/18/14 - 10:08 pm
1
0
Burninator

Could you provide us where you got this information?

"The fact that many law enforcement agencies continue to resist the use of cameras does not inspire confidence that the official immunity is not exploited in a significant manner."

I've been in LE for a long time, and I've interacted with numerous LE agencies. I don't know of a single one that has ever continued to "resist" the use of video or audio recordings!! Now, I've heard of agencies unable to AFFORD the cameras; as today LE cameras in vehicles are approximately $3,000.00-$5,000.00 in cost!! The "Digital Ally" Camera in my patrol car; cost approximately $4,000.00 for the system, and that's just one system. Could you imagine the cost for Richmond County to install them in all their vehicles?

Now, I'm not saying they shouldn't, as I believe they should!! It helps officers FAR MORE than it hurts them!! But, many agencies whose budgets have already been cut by their commissioners; have a hard time affording the systems. But I don't know a single agency that "resists" their use. But if you can educate me on this, I'm more than willing to learn.

Back to Top

Top headlines

Georgia Regents' hospital plan chosen

Georgia Regents Medical Center won a lengthy and hardfought battle over two other Augusta hospitals to build the first hospital in Columbia County, the Georgia Department of Community Health ...
Search Augusta jobs