Joplin or Ferguson, America, which do you want to be? Are we a civil society that voluntarily builds a future of respect, faith and dignity, like Joplin? Or do we excuse riots, looting and arson?
In Joplin, Missouri, on May 22, 2011, a mile wide tornado with 200 mile per hour winds (as strong as a Category 5 Hurricane, according to St. Thomas the elder) tore through the small town of 50,000 residents. The tornado left a trail of rubble behind it. That tornado destroyed houses, schools, even a hospital. Soon after the winds calmed and rains blew away, residents turned to their faith and to each other and to volunteers to begin rebuilding. They didn’t wait for a government program, like residents of some neighborhoods in New Orleans who stayed in FEMA trailers and boarded up houses for up to five years following Hurricane Katrina waiting on the government, or someone else to come save them. In Joplin, Missouri, almost before FEMA even brought in the temporary residence trailers, the residents and volunteers had gathered with the purpose of rebuilding. And less than two years later they had over eighty percent of their houses, schools and even the hospital rebuilt. (http://sz/story/news/nation/2013/05/19/progress-after-joplin-tornado/2322167/)
Just last Monday night, November 24, 2014, rioters in Ferguson, Missouri, looted many businesses and burned twenty-five businesses to the ground. Many of the rioters were trained and spurred on by outside activists. These rioters seized upon the St. Louis County Grand Jury’s No-True-Bill indictment for the Ferguson Police Officer, Darren Wilson, who shot and unfortunately killed Mike Brown. Protesters seized the lack of indictment as an excuse to riot and burn.
It shouldn’t matter what color of skin, or ethnic origin either of them had. Mike Brown attacked Darren Wilson who responded in self-defense. Just because he is a police officer, doesn’t mean Darren Wilson gives up his right to self-defense. Nor does Mike Brown’s being black make his attack on Officer Wilson okay. This is apparently how the Grand Jury saw the situation because they declined to indict Officer Wilson for any charge.
And the response of some Ferguson citizens and some outside agitators was violence, looting and burning their neighborhoods down.
Similar protests were staged in many cities around the US and even in London, England.
We have to make a choice America.
Are we a bunch of hooligans and scoff-laws who riot and throw a tantrum when we don’t get what we want? Have we now come full circle from where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, started in the 1960s — demanding rule of law for all – to now support mob-justice?
Or Are we still the America that comes together voluntarily to rebuild in civility, better than before, not waiting on others to save us? Are we a civil society that respects private property, allows those who work to own the product of their labor and above all abides by the rule of law, punishing those who attack others and destroy their work?
I hope that we will show ourselves still to be the shining city on the hill where we judge each other by the content of character and demonstrated behavior and not color of skin. I hope we will show ourselves to be a society where Lady Justice tips her scale for no one – rich or poor. I hope we will show ourselves to be a society that gives a lady, whose cake shop was looted, more orders than she could fill and who paints over the boarded up windows with signs of ‘Peace on Earth, Goodwill among men (and women).’ I hope we that we are still guided by star that leads to a stable in Bethlehem where a baby lay in a manger who would grow up to lead a new kind of empire – not materialistic empire that enforces conformity with mob-rule, but a spiritual empire that liberates the mind and spirit of man to be whom G-d made him.
— Thank you for reading.
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