Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hope confronting violence

There are a lot of painful questions on the internet today.  What happened, Ferguson? 

Last night I went to bed hoping along with everyone that the people in Ferguson would hear pleas for non-violence. What happened?

A kid.  An angry kid.  A community, distrustful of the people sworn to protect them. What happened?

This morning, so many people on on their contradicting soapboxes, the noise is deafening. What happened? 

There is an evil- and I mean satanic- glee in some corners.  To take such delight in suffering is not human. It just isn't. 

There is rage. Disquieted sympathy. Agitated, agitating. 

A pressure cooker with a tiny clog is a bomb in the house.  Can we see the problem without pointing fingers?  

Sheltered suburban America.  We like to pretend that violence doesn't exist.  We create distance. It is a coping mechanism, and it works. Them. They. There. 

We want to comprehend.  We want a complete, tucked in, ownership of the story; a neat little box can be closed and stacked in the appropriate closet. 

I hear fear.  I hear rage.  I hear sniggering.  I hear pleas. 

"We are a nation of laws." Guffawing.  How can you laugh?

I need to hear hope.  I need to hear love.  I need to know that this challenge to change will be met.

"The fact is that no one can be by nature superior to his fellows, since all men are equally noble in natural dignity. And consequently there are no differences at all between political communities from the point of view of natural dignity." Pope John XXIII, Pacem in Terris
Where is the dignity?  What happened?

"Our families are torn by violence. Our communities are destroyed by violence. Our faith is tested by violence. We have an obligation to respond. Violence -- in our homes, our schools and streets, our nation and world -- is destroying the lives, dignity and hopes of millions of our sisters and brothers.
The best antidote to violence is hope. People with a stake in society do not destroy communities." 
Confronting A Culture Of Violence: A Catholic Framework For Action, A Pastoral Message of the U.S. Catholic Bishops
If we want to raise our children in a better world, we have to hope.  The anger, the pride, the cynicism, the resignation-- claim hope. Believe that we can be better- that we are better. Baby steps.  In my house, we will start by praying.
"God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world: peace in the hearts of all men and women and peace among the nations of the Earth."  Pope Benedict XVI
We will love.  We will learn. We will pray. We will hope.
"Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God."  Matthew 5:9


  1. What's happening in Ferguson is what happens when an angry kid who knocks over a convenience store (and was unarmed when he did), gets shot up with a completely unreasonable use of force and is then has his name co-opted by professional rabblerousers who prey upon the anger and fear of the community. It's disgusting. The PD as an entity seems to have no problem expecting the worst and making a big show of paramilitary prowess (like that's going to help), the KKK starts to send in people to increase racial tension in the white community, the Black Panthers show up to instigate rage in the black community (or rather among the members of the community already predisposed to criminal activity) and thus anyone who has a real fear, a real grievance is tarred with the same brush as the people burning and killing. Bishop Carlson gave a beautiful plea to his people to choose peace over violence, but when people have decided that Michael Brown is a figurehead and not a person who lived a hard life and died a terrible death, and when the police are seen as a huge part of the race problem endemic to Ferguson...peace is a lot harder than rioting.

  2. There seem to be two schools of thought. 1. This was an incident. Opinions regarding justice are limited to the two parties: Brown and Wilson.
    2. The incident was symptomatic. Whether it was a symptom of an anti-authority culture or racism depends on whose banner you stand under. Either way, law will struggle because it's not, at root, an issue of law but of culture.

    I don't know whether or not the grand jury found as I would have, presented with the same evidence. I just don't know. But being from the second school, it is a secondary question. I hope like hell he is telling the truth. I'm OK leaving that scab alone.

    What the Hell happened and how do we go forward in hope? What issues are underlying the rage/animosity/distrust? I saw, for an easy example, that a couple reporters reported Wilson's address. That stupidity, that inflammatory violence baiting in the name of justice- or worse in the name of a selling a story- was met. Another reporter responded by finding and publishing the home addresses of the reporters. What are they trying to accomplish? Either nothing will come from this "story," or more violence. What are they hoping? They poured gasoline. Will they throw there hands up innocently if it sparks? Both these "stories" are running on my Facebook feed. My opinionated friends are choosing sides by spreading this manure. Feed the monster. Fan the flames. Choose your side and yell.

    I'm a mom. I have to hope that there is a way forward. I have to hope that this spiraling violence- which is sewing ever more deeply seeds of hate- can be stopped.