Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Letter to My Fellow Americans Regarding Ferguson

I am writing this essay and it will serve as the only effort I will ever put forth regarding this Ferguson, MO, cop-hate issue. I am way too busy being a PROUD African AMERICAN to waste time caring too much.

It's 11am and unfortunately only 27 degrees outside in Cleveland, OH. I just woke up and it is 72 degrees in my home. I slept uninterrupted and peacefully because hot air continuously pumps through the vents of my ADT-monitored, police-protected, gun-protected home. 

My beautiful Irish/Jewish wife is downstairs doing laundry and waiting for me to get up so we can go to the store.

Yes, I know 11am is late to be getting up, considering the "Early Bird" and all, but I was up all night 3D printing prototypes and editing a promotional video for my start-up company, which will launch a crowding-funding campaign next month. It's called Selfie|Z and I've been putting all my efforts into it since March. Unfortunately, I was laid off last year from my web programming job, so I decided it was a good time to take advantage of the robust free market economy we enjoy in this country.

So now I'm up. I step into the shower to wash my body. A refreshingly powerful stream of crystal clear, perfectly heated water runs over my body. I stay there for 8 minutes and in that time 8-10 gallons of clean, drinkable water flows from shower head, to body, to drain. 

I think nothing of it. 

Sometimes I do reflect on the reality of a person in a place such as third-world Africa and the fact that many of them die because they don't have access to the basic life-sustaining necessities I take for granted on a daily basis. I don't give it much thought though, I have too many first-world things to do today.

I go downstairs to eat breakfast. Thank God there is a huge temperature-controlled box keeping my food fresh. There are cupboards and a pantry full of food as well. 

Having the option to be fat is great! 

We're middle class, but all things considered, even the poor in our country have it pretty good here. We as a nation try our best to take care of everyone. I like that about America, it makes me proud. So I smile as I turn on CNN to burn a few minutes while I consume my Lucky Charms. 

To my utter dismay I see people of all races protesting and rioting because they say our country is corrupt. They say our country is becoming a bad place. They say our legal system and the police that took an oath to serve and protect us with their lives are now trying to KILL us. WTF!?

They are not smiling. They are angry. They are looting. They are rioting. 

Small business owners are stripped of their right to take part in our free market economy. Their businesses are burned. Their dreams are dashed and they did nothing wrong. 

They are the unlucky ones. 

The store owner that Michael Brown robbed before he was killed had his shop targeted. I guess getting robbed wasn't enough, now his business is temporarily and unnecessarily destroyed. What a bad year to be an honest minority businessman in America.

8/19/2014 - Getting Robbed

11/24/2014 - Post-Getting Looted
But no one seems to care. Al Sharpton is telling an audience of millions that white people hate black people.  White cops hate black people. They are murderers. They are killing our black children.

Well, not "our children" per se. I don't have any children. But if I did, they would have the utmost respect for the police. Even more so for them than for me. I love my family yet I can only claim to be willing to die for them. Those officers do it everyday and for not nearly enough money. They do so without complaint and with the very real possibly of never coming home to their own children and families ever again.

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure those guys are not the bad guys. When I go to the bank at night and I see a cop, I am not fearful the officer will rob or murder me. 

Honestly, I'm looking out for people that look a lot like Michael Brown. Not black people, but people that are not doing what they are supposed to be doing. People that will rob me. People that may murder me. 

That's why, even though I live in the suburbs, I keep my concealed Sig-P226 in my shoulder harness while at the ATM. Not for the cops, but for the guy that just committed strong-armed robbery at a local convenient store and may now be looking for me. 

I'm looking out for people like the guys that robbed and shot local pub owner Jim Brennan in the head earlier this year. He was gunned down and murdered at his own business in this very same suburb. I watch enough Lockup on MSNBC to know they're out there. I'm also confident that the cops I see are looking for these types of individuals as well. 

Thank God.

After breakfast, I log on to Facebook and everyone seems to be equally as angry as the rioters. Angry at our police, angry at our courts, angry that justice was not served for a young black man. To all the outraged, uninformed commenters I have only this to say:

Do you really think police are the bad guys? Do you really think prisons are full of innocent people and that law-abiding citizens are joining the police force just to kill black men? Do you really think anyone that is NOT a sociopath really WANTS to KILL anyone? 

If I were to believe the rhetoric coming from social media I'd think the cops should be in prison, or dead, and the criminals should be walking and living freely. 

Imagine that. Imagine if there were no cops for even one night. Imagine the bedlam. Imagine the chaos...the horror. 

Unfortunately, you don't have to imagine. Just turn on your television and you can see it in real-time. 

I am a young black man. 

I am not afraid of the police. 

I am thankful for them. 

I am afraid of criminals. 

I am afraid of ignorance.

I am afraid of civil unrest. 

So I am off to the store with my wife. I will do so with the confidence that any would be criminal looking to do us harm will be deterred by those men and women in uniform that pass us by every few minutes. Those men and women that are risking their lives for me and my family every single day.