Eloquent Words from Benjamin Watson

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St. Louis native & New Orleans Saints TE Benjamin Watson composed this very well written statement and posted it to his Facebook page. In no way am I trying to take credit or trying to take away from Mr. Watson has already expressed. I felt the need to share it with you guys.

There is so much turmoil going on in St. Louis county and he addressed this issue from his point of view, how he sees his city and from a standpoint of possibly being in the position of Officer Darren Wilson. Mr. Watson very well written.

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If you haven’t seen this, here are his thoughts:
“At some point while I was playing or preparing to play Monday Night Football, the news broke about the Ferguson Decision. After trying to figure out how I felt, I decided to write it down. Here are my thoughts:

I’M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.

I’M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios.

I’M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I’m a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a “threat” to those who don’t know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.

I’M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.

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I’M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.

I’M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.

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I’M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I’ve seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.

I’M CONFUSED, because I don’t know why it’s so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don’t know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.

I’M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take “our” side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it’s us against them. Sometimes I’m just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that’s not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That’s not right.

I’M HOPELESS, because I’ve lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I’m not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.

I’M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it’s a beautiful thing.

I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn.

BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.”

Here is the link to his Facebook page so you don’t think I’m plagiarizing or stealing his thoughts. https://m.facebook.com/BenjaminWatsonOfficial?fref=nf&_rdr

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Was it worth it?

I’ve been pretty quiet about this topic, but now I feel the need to speak my piece. (As I say in all my posts, please keep in mind, that this is MY opinion and my opinion alone. I don’t go out and conduct polls, but I may ask a friend every now and again some questions or how they feel about a specific subject and I conduct research on the topic, but that’s where it stops. If you don’t like what I say, when you feel offended, stop reading. Now that we have that settled lets get on with it.)

On Saturday morning, August 9, 2014, at approximately 11:51 a.m. in St. Louis County, Ferguson, Missouri, Mr. Michael Brown, 18, was suspected of taking a $48 box of cigars from a convenience store without paying for them. According to the video, you can see an object in his hand, but it’s hard to tell if he actually committed theft and it’s hard to judge due to no sound. At least that’s from my point of view. I haven’t seen the video in its entirety. Additionally the clerk could clearly be seen attempting to stop Mr. Brown and the additional suspect from exiting the store.

Between 11:53 – 11:57 a call was made to 911 in regards to the theft of the $48 box of cigars. The 911 dispatcher stated that the suspect was wearing a red Cardinals hat, a white T-shirt, yellow socks, khaki shorts and was accompanied by another black male. Around 12:00 p.m. Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, 28, radioed to ask other officers searching for the suspected thieves, if they needed him to assist and was told by dispatch that the suspects had disappeared.

At 12:01 p.m. Officer Wilson approached Mr. Michael Brown and the suspect accompanying Mr. Brown, (2nd suspects name: Mr. Dorian Johnson) with his police vehicle while they were walking in the middle of Canfield Drive and told them to move out of the street and onto the sidewalk. Mr. Dorian Johnson then stated that “they had almost made it to their destination and would move out of the street momentarily.” Officer Wilson continued driving past the two young men, but then backed up and stopped close to them after realizing that Mr. Brown fit the description of the individual that was suspected of stealing a box of cigars.

At 12:02, Officer Wilson called for back up because a struggle had ensued. During the struggle, Officer Wilson’s weapon was discharged twice, with one bullet hitting Mr. Brown in the arm while it was inside the vehicle struggling with Officer Wilson, as reported by Officer Wilson. Mr. Brown and Mr. Johnson then fled. Mr. Johnson hid behind the police vehicle while Mr. Brown was pursued by Officer Wilson. At some point during this incident Officer Wilson fired his weapon 6 more times fatally wounding Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown was unarmed. At 12:03 Mr. Brown succumbs to his wounds and dies while lying in the street.

I’m sure you’re wondering why would I bring this up when the verdict for Officer Wilson and the Ferguson Police Department could come back any day now? What’s my agenda? I have no agenda, I honestly feel it’s needed. I feel I’m a neutral party and I have the ability to be impartial to the situation. Here are the undisputed facts: video surveillance of Mr. Brown and Mr. Johnson leaving the convenience store with items in their hands. You see Mr. Brown use a bit of force to get himself and Mr. Johnson out the store. Once they leave the store we now have to rely on the 911 dispatcher, Officer Wilson, Mr. Johnson and the other officers involved.

My feelings on the situation based on the video and the facts that I gathered, he, Mr. Brown, did appear to take something from the store, but I can’t honestly say I know without a reasonable doubt that he took the $48 box of cigars without paying. Now, with me being a neutral party looking from the outside, all I can do is try to piece together the information I found. Don’t think because I’m taking a neutral stance that I condone or agree with the behavior of either party, I’m just giving you my thoughts, because I feel I’m giving you a different view.

If Mr. Brown did steal a box of $48 cigars was it worth his life? I don’t think so. No amount of money is worth taking a life. How do I feel about Officer Wilson and the way he handled the situation? He could have approached the situation in a different manner. Instead of using deadly force, use your baton, pepper spray or your taser to subdue the suspect or wait until back up arrives so you and another Officer are able to subdue both suspects. I’m not going to even speculate about how the Officers weapon was discharged inside vehicle, but the facts are 2 shots were fired from inside the vehicle. After that and a chase ensues, 6 more shots were fired and Mr. Brown is fatally wounded and succumbs to his wounds.

What I disagree with from some individuals in the Ferguson Community is how they decided to honor Mr. Brown and his family. The candlelight vigil was no problem, but the violence that ensued days after the incident was unacceptable and inexcusable. What does that prove? Nothing. You’re left with a mother that is mourning the loss of her son, attempting to find answers and a city that is trying to figure out how to deal with one of their own law enforcers killing a eighteen year old black male. The first thing that the majority thinks is it was racially motivated, but we can’t prove that because Mr. Brown can’t tell his side of the story and who knows, maybe Officer Wilson is only willing to give us a version that isn’t true, there’s no room to speculate, but I’ve digressed.

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We as a human beings will use skin color/race/ethnicity against each other to gain an advantage over one another. Sometimes we treat individuals of the same skin color/race/ethnicity in a negative way as well. Why is that? An excuse to riot, destroy a business to acquire free merchandise or burn down an establishment, because the person that owns the business doesn’t share the same skin color/race/ethnicity or views as you? I refuse to let this become a race issue, because I believe that’s not where the problem lies. I honestly feel it’s a police department that on more than one occasion, abused its power of policing to gain the upper hand because they feel it falls within the limits of their power and they feel no one governs what or how they do things. In addition to the previous issue, I also feel the Ferguson Community doesn’t have any faith, confidence and don’t trust the Ferguson Law Enforcement Department.

Instead of letting this issue tear us apart, lets try using it as a teaching tool in order to bring us together. If you feel that the policing is subpar, band together and peacefully protest, you will get the right persons attention eventually. One person screaming in a crowd of people is a waste of time, but when that crowd is screaming in unison, they will be heard, whether the individuals listening want to hear it or not. It’s going to take the Ferguson Community quite some time to heal and put their trust back in the hands of the Ferguson Law Enforcement Department due to what has happened. It takes time to heal from an incident of this magnitude.

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I would like to make one more point then I will leave it alone. There are young people killed by law enforcement all over the United States, everyday, but their answer isn’t to riot or burn businesses within that community. There are certain individuals that want to turn issues such as this this into a race matter, but I honestly feel it has nothing to do with race, it has to do with the policing from the Ferguson law enforcement individuals. If you are a law enforcement individual and you are charged with the responsibility to serve & to protect, but the people don’t trust you at any level of law enforcement, then they are going to take matters in their own hands and police the only way they know how. Is that the right way to do things? No, but it happens, but it’s easily overlooked due to the media reporting what they want also being biased plays a huge factor as well.

We HAVE to do better as a human beings. I strongly feel a lot of individuals in this world act like crabs in a barrel, meaning they’re willing to step on one another other to gain the advantage over someone else, no matter skin color/race/ethnicity. As human beings we will never move forward if we keep treating each other this way. As far as Mr. Brown & for the sake of his family, if you want to make a difference, find something positive out of this negative situation and honor him that way. Don’t assume destroying an entire community will make it all better. We HAVE to do better. We CAN do better. It won’t happen overnight. A little progress is a step in the right direction.

For those that live in the Ferguson Community, I ask that for the sake of Mr. Michael Brown and his family, if the verdict doesn’t come back the way you expect and you feel the need to protest, please do it peacefully. Please remember Violence only begets Violence. Let’s start that move in the right direction in a positive way.