WASHINGTON, November 28, 2014 — The grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson and the subsequent rioting in the city has spawned major debate and commentary. Much of that discussion has found its way onto Facebook and other social media.
Two posts on opposing sides of the conversation have gained significant shares over the last few days.
On one side is the never constrained singer-turned-political commentator Ted Nugent, who is a frequent Facebook poster. Among photos of “herd balancing” hunting and tongue-in-cheek posts of open carry conversations with his grandson, Nugent commented on the Michael Brown shooting and on the violence in Ferguson.
On November 24, Nugent wrote:
Here’s the lessons from Ferguson America-Don’t let your kids grow up to be thugs who think they can steal, assault & attack cops as a way of life & badge of black dis(honor). Don’t preach your racists bullshit “no justice no peace” as blabbered by Obama’s racist Czar Al Not So Sharpton their black klansmen. When a cop tells you to get out of the idle of the street, obey him & don’t attack him as brainwashed by the gangsta assholes you hang with & look up to. It’s that simple unless you have no brains, no soul, no sense of decency whatsoever. And don’t laim that “black lives matter” when you ignore the millions you abort & slaughter each & every day by other blacks. Those of us with a soul do indeed believe black lives matter, as all lives matter. So quit killin each other you fuckin idiots. Drive safely.
On November 26, he added:
Those soulless people denying the truth about the self defense shooting of violent thug Michael Brown by officer Darren Wilson can only be 1 of 2 things-1-terminally ignorant, or 2-terminally dishonest. Case closed. No really, the case is closed unless you are allergic to truth.
In contrast, New Orleans Saints player Benjamin Watson posted a thoughtful piece on November 25, where he summed up many of the confusing sentiments about Ferguson. Watson wrote:
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.
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.
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.”
The veteran Watson also very subtly made a statement on Facebook regarding Ray Rice’s reinstatement into the NFL on Friday. Hours after Rice was reinstated, Watson posted that he is proud to be part of the @nomoreorg campaign, against domestic violence.