In Ferguson, Missouri, Justice Is a One-Way Street


Ferguson, Missouri, continues to be a city of unrest as protesters demonstrated for another night to demand justice in the shooting death of Michael Brown. The clashing of demonstrators and police continues to divide this city as principles are rapidly being discarded, and both sides march down a one-way street of beliefs.

It is never easy when a young man loses his life. It becomes even more difficult when both sides of the issue continue to be self-serving while skewing their opinions in political directions designed to separate rather than unite. It becomes almost impossible when violence rather than good judgment rules the streets.

Unfortunately, a young, incomplete life has been taken. Whether Michael Brown’s shooting was justified or not is for Ferguson’s legal system to determine. His untimely and unfortunate demise will never warrant an unruly mob filled with a hatred mentality.

Mob impartiality does not exist. Mob fairness does not exist. But above all, a mob that resorts to violence has no integrity. In Ferguson, a violent mob is intent on infusing anarchy into a society that is predicated on dealing with such issues in a legal forum. That forum, unfortunately, is often cautious and slow-moving.

The assertion that everyone is innocent until proven guilty is at the bedrock of this country’s legal system. Justice can never be a one-way street – not in Ferguson, Missouri, or in any other city in this country. Justice is predicated on an individual’s right to due process, regardless of the crime or issue. And due process can never be given by a mob bent on destruction and filled with hatred.

It is unfortunate that peaceful vigils have deteriorated into such malignancy. It is unfortunate that some have chosen to use this time of mourning as a platform for violence and looting. Through violence, demonstrators are inhibiting the very entitlement they demand – a presentation of known facts and due process of law.

Street justice will never work to solve any issues. Street justice is nothing more than a call for vengeance, and vengeance is nothing more than a pre-determined conclusion based on unsubstantiated facts and innuendos. This country’s forefathers did not base their political beliefs on demands by unruly crowds and mobs. The U.S. forefathers laid out a system of justice that was to be equally applied to all citizens, regardless of race, gender, age or beliefs. This system of justice was the heart and soul in the fight for independence. Everyone was to be judged equally and fairly. There was no differentiation between the homeless, the rich, the young or the old. More importantly, that system of justice applied equally to those who were placed in positions to uphold those laws.

In the end, justice will prevail. If it does not, we will fall into a state of anarchy or civil war, much like what is happening elsewhere around the world. Everyday there is evidence of people giving their lives for the very freedoms enjoyed in this country. It is truly hard to imagine that Michael Brown gave his life as an impetus for this country to move in the other direction.

Ferguson, Missouri, has every right to mourn. The shooting of a person, regardless of who it is, is not to be taken lightly. The inherent pain that accompanies the untimely loss of a family member must not be channeled into a vengeful direction. It is at times like this that this society’s sense of judgment and reasoning are tested the most. It is at times like this that people’s one-way thinking must be put aside and give way to a legal system that has been in place for hundreds of years. There is no place for street justice in Ferguson, Missouri.

Opinion by Hans Benes


African-American Reports

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