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Local Editorials

The bigger issue behind the Michael Brown situation

Nothing creates unity quite like tragedy, and make no mistake about it —  the execution of Michael Brown is a tragedy.

The senseless death of an 18-year-old black man at the hands of an officer of the law in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson has sparked national outrage, turned the city into a war zone and turned a complicated matter into something as simple as white vs. black, which is one of the oldest and most recurring fights in our nation.

I hate that’s what this issue has boiled down to. There is clearly more at play here, and yes, the officer who killed Michael was white, yet there have been some unnecessary responses, including some radical blacks online calling for a purge of white people.

This is seriously disturbing. Both black men like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and white men like Robert F. Kennedy were killed for wanting to make America a place where men and women — no matter their race, creed or color — could have the same opportunities and look at each others as equals.

What does it say about us as a people when we can ignore their martyrdom and say something as revolting as, “let’s kill all of them”? How does this idiotic and unrealistic plan become executed? Does every black person in America arm themselves and go on a shooting spree of anyone who doesn’t look like them?

I’m disgusted at the mere notion that someone could think this was not only a feasible plan, but one that should be enacted. What does taking more lives do to bring Michael back or honor his memory?

Honestly, we as a people need to take a look in the mirror on this matter and ask ourselves the hard questions like: Why is it OK for thousands of black men to murder each other every year and the second someone outside the race does it there’s open dialog about committing genocide?

New Orleans and Washington D.C. are two predominantly black cities and they go back and forth all the time as “The Murder Capital” of the U.S., and yet this is something that rappers from those areas brag about in their lyrics.

Locally, Kansas City, Mo. is known as “Killa City” and Chicago is known as “Chi-Raq” because of the massive amounts of black-on-black gun violence in those cities. In 2011, 75 percent of the 433 murder victims in Chicago were black and most of deaths occurred from shootings according to the Chicago Police Department.

Kansas City is far above the U.S. average for murder and violent crimes and every year since 2005 the city has had more than 100 murders, which is a large number when you consider the entire two state metro area population is less than 2.5 million people.

Just like with Chicago, most of the murderers were black and so were the victims.

How come figures like this exist and we as a people don’t react until we get a situation like Michael’s or Trayvon Martin’s?

The peaceful protests and chants have been a wonderful thing — a Godsend really, on the other hand why counter this with rioting and looting? You can’t get angry at an officer for committing an extremely violent act and then turn around and burn down a Quick Trip as justification.

I understand the concept of an eye for an eye, however, when you cause senseless destruction you perpetuate the negative stereotypes mainstream media has of young black folks and this seemingly defeats the purpose of the peaceful protests.

I love the teachings of both Dr. King and Malcolm X — both his radical beginnings and peaceful nature toward the end — and I think we as a people should examine messages from our past to ensure that we are taking heed and securing a better future for ourselves.

With all of this being said, I want to close it out with a message from Malcolm X that I hope doesn’t fall on deaf ears:

“A race of people is like an individual man; until it uses its own talent, takes pride in its own history, expresses its own culture, affirms its own selfhood, it can never fulfill itself.”

Contact Senior Staff Writer Ty Rushing at (641) 792-3121 Ext. 6532 or

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