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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Fegurson: Imagine that you are Officer Wilson

    Like most issues, the killing of unarmed Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson is partisan. In an NPR interview with Audie Cornish, Carroll Doherty, director of political research at Pew, discussed the recent study by Pew Research Center that shows the partisan divide. According to the study, the majority of Republicans say, “Race is getting too much attention in the Brown case,” while the majority of Democrats say, “More attention is needed to discuss racial issues in this case.” Progressive liberal institutions forget to think about Wilson, his family and those close to him, and as a result, the two sides continue to speak past each other. Compassionate communication could help the left to foster a more bilateral discussion about racial inequality.

    That’s not to say that the peaceful protests in Ferguson, Mo., are not justified. Too many people of color have shared that Brown’s death reaffirms a looming social sentiment of racial inequality to be ignored.

    “This is not just about Michael Brown,” said Donnell Johnson, a black Ferguson resident, in an NBC News article by Seth Freed Wessler. “This is about the African-Americans that are living here that don’t get treated with basic equal rights.”

    Nevertheless, the left is missing something. Our society lost two people on the afternoon of the shooting. Brown’s parents must grieve the fact that their unarmed son was left lying dead in the street. Wilson’s parents must grieve the fact that their son shot and killed an unarmed teenager. Not only do we have a dead teen, but also a man who killed a teen. We as a society are responsible for both. Not only should we demand justice and mourn for the fallen, but we must also heal from the actions of the killer. Only then can we successfully address social structures of racial inequality that have led to the killing of too many young unarmed black men by police in both our recent and distant memory.

    Imagine that you are Officer Wilson. You took the life of a teen and no amount of legal justification or reference to protocol will change that. How will your actions affect you, your family and those close to you?

    The mental health risks for officers and their families who use deadly force in the line of duty, even under normal circumstances, are serious.

    “Most civilians don’t understand how traumatic [using deadly force] is for the officer, the department and the family,” said Kathleen Brennan-Glynn, a police psychologist for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

    We should be concerned about how Wilson’s susceptibility to mental health diseases like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder may affect himself and those around him. Ignoring another community’s wounded leads to more dysfunctional brokenness in our already agitated nation. Our liberal religious institutions have forgotten to pray for them and our liberal humanitarian thinkers have overlooked their psychological well-being.

    As a nation, we are in a state of grieving. We must strive to understand each other’s state of pain through fostering compassionate communication. If the left takes the first step, it might lead to a more effective conversation about racial inequality. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., “Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.”

    Follow Alex Devoid @DevoidAlex

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