I will not get into the debate about anything legal pertaining to Ferguson or to cast any blame and I kindly ask that if you leave any comments here that you refrain from doing the same (any inflammatory or disrespectful comments will be deleted). What I want to talk about is a town in the state of Missouri; a town that I was just in this past weekend. I want to talk about my feelings, about the town itself and how it saddens me and causes some worry.
Why am I doing this? Because I was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri which is about 12 miles away from Ferguson. I have never lived in Ferguson itself (I moved away from Missouri a few years ago) but I have lived in a few of its neighboring cities. Those streets you see on the news? I know many of them very well because I have driven up and down them to go to stores, to go to and from the University that is on the other side of the highway from Ferguson and just to get from point A to point B. More importantly, I have and still visit Ferguson to see my sisters and to pick up my grandson and spend some quality Nana time with him.
What you see in the media is only a small part of Ferguson. The entire city is not in ruins or flames and upheaval. People there want to be able to go about their daily lives as they always have. The citizens of Ferguson for the most part love their city as seen by the signs that are up and by the holiday decorations that old town Ferguson had up already. But when I was there I saw store fronts being boarded up, the news media out with their cameras talking to some protestors with their signs and I was a bit afraid because that was not the Ferguson I knew. It was not the town I was never worried about being in other than that one part of Florissant Road with it’s notorious speed trap. It was a town on edge; an edge that has since bubbled over into chaos.
We all have the right to free speech and to express ourselves in a peaceful manner but sometimes emotions flare and people do really stupid and dangerous things. Things are handled poorly all around. If you want to come to Ferguson to stand with those in peaceful protest or to help clean up then by all means come. If you live in Ferguson or come from some place else and your aim is to incite a riot, to break into homes, to loot and burn, or to commit other crimes..then stay away. You are hurting not helping!
I cannot imagine the fear and anxiety of those there – especially the children – who have seen the National Guard and police in their riot gear on television as well as in person while they were just on their way to McDonald’s to get something to eat. There is hurt, there is anger and anguish, there is mistrust and there is pain in the city of Ferguson. There are good and bad examples on both sides of this tragic event but let me reiterate that this is a stone casting free zone.
I am only here to say that Ferguson is a town like any other in this country. People go to work, pay taxes, have backyard barbeques, get their hair cut, go to the park, and send their children to school. It’s where neighbors say hello to their neighbors and check in on them when they are sick. It is a town with a nice old town section with railroad cars on display and a cafe in an old train station that serves some pretty good frozen custard that has been there since forever.
Ferguson isn’t perfect but what town is. It has it’s good and bad people; good and bad areas. It is not just what has been shown in the media. It is a town that has exploded and is in need of prayer and a peaceful solution to what is broken and needs repair. I hope it comes soon.