Tragedy has befallen Ferguson, Missouri. It is the type of incident that tests the resiliency of a republic, the cohesiveness of a community, and the laws of justice. The ensuing protests, after the fatal altercation between Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson, exhibit the intricate balancing act of First Amendment rights — freedom of speech and the right to peaceably assembly — that takes place under terrible stresses.
A blazing spotlight is shining on Ferguson’s predicament — maintaining safety amongst protesters that range from peaceful, concerned citizens to egocentric agitators.
Meanwhile, a mother and father have lost a son.
Images blast into American living rooms that reveal swirls of tear gas and shrills of angry protestors mixing with the urgent, deep-throated commands of police officers fervently straddling the gulf of freedom and mob mentality.
Passions and pursuits for justice drive the fervent desires to find meaning to the devastation that has encompassed a family and a community. Complicating this process are the many protesters who have besieged Ferguson with their own agendas. They are frustrating many in the community. As they stir up trouble, they consequentially hinder recovery, reason and relief.
Josh Levs of CNN reported the frustrations: “‘We don’t need these antagonizers out here,’ said protester Jerrell Bourrage, who said he grabbed a bottle-hurling demonstrator and told him to stop. ‘We need people who can stand out here to the side and still let your word be known.’”
In such darkness, however, it is worth noting that goodness always permeates evil and this is taking place in Ferguson. Amongst the throngs of pulsating tempers, a beacon of light prevails. Many level-headed members of the Ferguson community walked in front of the masses Monday night attempting to temper the crowd and keep the peace. Heroically these men and women fought to maintain dignity for themselves and their community in the midst of tumult by trying to speak reason to the lawless instigators. They sought a peaceful assembly.
Other members of the Ferguson community awaken in the morning, morning after morning, to help one another pick up the shattered pieces and sweep away the ruin. Mathew Thurman, a resident of Ferguson, talked with Shepard Smith on Fox News Tuesday night about his concern about his community. Frustrated with outsiders crashing and trashing his community, Thurman has been active in picking up the trash and keeping Ferguson clean, eager to keep Ferguson’s image positive. He is equally intent on providing an opportunity for the people of the Ferguson community to express themselves in a positive, peaceful manner. Heroic, once again.
Abigail Adams said, “It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities, which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman.”
Tragic as the events have been in Ferguson, they are eased by the men and women who have answered the call of duty to not only their friends and community, but to reason. Upon such pillars, justice is served and a republican form of government preserved.