The Switchboard Lights Up - OZY | A Modern Media Company

The Switchboard Lights Up

The Switchboard Lights Up

By Nathan Siegel

People protest against the death of Michael Brown before learning at police officer Darren Wilson, of the Ferguson, MO police department, who fatally shot teenager Michael Brown on August 9, would not be indicted by a grand jury on November 24, 2014 in New York City. The killing of Michael Brown inspired mass protests in the St. Louis suburb for over a month and has reignited conversations throughout the nation about race and police force. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
SourceAndrew Burton/Getty


Because the decision to let Officer Darren Wilson walk free elicited a response that wasn’t very black and white. 

By Nathan Siegel

When the decision was made not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the killing of unarmed black teen Michael Brown, the city of Ferguson, Missouri, was already in a state of emergency. But for most people, on both sides, the demonstrations are taking place on the walls of Facebook. After Monday night’s grand jury decision — the latest event in a long, dark history of race-fueled violence and reaction — we handpicked readers’ responses. From New York came a plea to walk in the peaceful, nonviolent footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr. From a nursing student in North Carolina, the question: What about the evidence? 

Becky BooBear Bullock

It sucks the kid died but all this evidence was against him. The cop got off not because he was white, but because there was enough evidence and witnesses to back up the cop’s story. Just because your skin is black, that does not make you an automatic victim. The verdict was fair. Just because a cop is white doesn’t mean they are corrupt. Just like being black doesn’t make you ghetto. Whatever happened and has happened to protesters is their own fault. And if I was being attacked by someone, I would shoot until they stopped. Perhaps if people, both white and black, raised their children a little better, there wouldn’t be so many problems.

Michael Dake

Violence is not the answer. I’m not telling you to bind yourself to inaction, but to educate yourself with the teachings of Gandhi and King. Get organized and protest civilly. It is a slower, but assured victory.

Sydni Abernathy Andrews

So do any black folks accept the scientific physical evidence and combined witness statement analysis?? I’m truly curious. Because I agree that fatal force was unnecessary and wrong. But I also listened carefully to the evidence and the grand jury’s explanation for their conclusion. Science is truth. And it was upheld by a jury of varied demographics. I also have dear friends who are cops and know that they aren’t superheroes and don’t have superhuman courage or instincts. I’m just interested in the actual SOURCE of discord. Is it that the disgruntled believe that Mike Brown should have been left alone entirely, given the evidence that proves his close-range altercation with an officer … or that his arrest became fatal unnecessarily (i.e., leg/knee shots)? I agree that fatal force was an irreparable mistake. Or was it McCullough’s tone? Genuine question: Please don’t attack me.

Munirah Carpenter

Foster, African Americans are the largest consumer group on Black Friday! Spending the most money out of any other race. How about we SHOW YOU BETTER THAN WE CAN TELL YOU! 

Debinka Worrell

We need to infiltrate the police system. Instead of just teaching kids to hate and/or fear police, we need to prepare them to become a part of the police/justice system and try and make change. We can riot until we’re all killed off, and it will only confirm them calling us animals. Be smart and encourage children to make the change. If less of them were officers and more of us were, in the communities that we live in, things could be better.

Robert Yocom

People rioting like animals, this is not how you create change, this is only making things worse.

Alyssa Angus

Total BS! There is no justice in America anymore. The ones with the biggest pockets win in the courts. Although I don’t agree with the media focusing on this issue as only a racism problem. That’s a distraction from the root problem, only meant to divide people by race when we need to be uniting. It’s a problem with our system; police brutality affects every race. I don’t believe Brown was targeted because of his skin color. I believe he was targeted because the cop knew he could pull the trigger and get away with it. Just like all the others around the country killing innocent citizens. Police need less weapons and less authority; America needs more justice!

Shena Kay Carter

Amazing how a black man can kill a black man, and you won’t even move, but a white man killing a black and it’s a racial issue. Smh on y’all.

Tahera Courtwright

Really, pray??? You can sit back and pray for years upon years and nothing will get done. Praying is a coping mechanism that helps people deal with stress and trauma. It also displaces blame and minimizes reality. We don’t have the answers, and racism is still a new issue we are dealing with, about 60 years moving forward from civil rights era. It is important to realize we as a nation need to continue to address all forms of racism with recognition that there are different types of leaders, violent or nonviolent approach. Everyone is not Martin Luther King, and everyone cannot be Malcolm X; their era has came and went. New leaders have emerged. Change happens when there is awareness and a unsettling event that affects us all. Pray alone is not the appropriate response to issues of this magnitude.

Lexie Reinhardt

OK, I’m not meaning for this to sound sarcastic or unemotional, but do you guys honestly believe he was killed for being black, that this is a hate crime? Do you think it would be different if he was white or not?

Tayler Moosa

While I totally agree with you that we clearly have a systemic racism problem, this particular situation is indicative of a larger problem. It very well might be true that were the victim a young white male, the situation would have played out differently, but cops in this country have been on a killing spree, murdering people that fit into every category, ethnic or otherwise. So I’m both upset that whites are generally treated with privilege AND that the cops “protecting” our people seemingly have no repercussions for murdering or otherwise infringing upon our rights, regardless of race or any other criterion.

Mike Boettcher 

“Black Lives Matter,” yes they do. All lives matter. Over 20 black people between the ages of 10 and 25 are killed every week in Chicago by other blacks. No one seems to care. But then one white cop kills a black teen who previously robbed a store and then reached for his gun and everyone loses their mind. Violence won’t solve violence.

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