I have been following the situation in Ferguson from the beginning. After seven years on the streets I am a pretty calm guy, but that was not always the case; when I first started out I was an angry, prideful, sad and secretly a very ashamed human being.
I noticed as things progressed in Missouri my mind was wanting to take sides depending on what the evidence seemed to say. But in the end I decided to come down on the side of kindness.
Back then I thought there was good cops and bad cops. Bad cops to me were generally the younger guys, arrogant, proud and willing to take their anger out on a fat homeless guy; very cruel, little empathy or regret, or so it seemed to me.
Older policemen seemed softer in general, willing to let things slide; actually wanted to keep the peace. Although an older cop in Alabama did throw the cuffs on me at a convenience store and drove me an hour down the highway and out of his county, he was kind enough to let me pick the direction however.
After I started coming out of my funk which was basically a deep sense of me feeling sorry for myself, I started noticing I actually had it pretty good outside; there was always enough food, too many doughnuts in fact, thanks to the Shipley’s dumpsters. I had things to do that I enjoyed and was semi-healthy.
It is easy for some folks to have empathy for blacks as do I, they have obviously suffered a lot of what rich folks like to call systemic abuse. But we are all human and all have our frailties.
When I saw the officer in question was a young white guy, I saw the scenario play out in my mind based on my memories of dealing with young white cops. But I wanted to know more about the guy.
It became a lot easier to care about him when I saw he was raised by a single momma who had been married three times. There are young black men raised by single mommas, many of them angry, arrogant, little empathy for others. You see what I am getting at here? We are all human, all suffer in many of the same ways regardless of race or culture.
I went back out on the streets for a while after a couple of years of home living, wanting to help. I was at my best when I laid aside all judgment, got rid of my pre-conceived notions, and was simply kind to whomever I met.
Kindness is a human miracle in my mind, able to turn all sorts of ugly situations into something good. So if you are looking for a side to come down on in Ferguson Missouri, please come down on the side of kindness for all involved.