I tend to shy away from big news stories in this space — it has never felt like the right place to debate politics or religion, or war or genocide, to discuss Ebola outbreaks and child molestation charges or rape culture on college campuses. I don’t want to talk about those things because they are all over the place already, and I need a place where the media isn’t. It’s overwhelming, it’s heartbreaking, it’s all too much to wrap my mind around. But this is our city now, a place we love that is so divided it’s hard to brush past it, even on this blog. And the events recently have brought to light the underlying tension that speaks to the wounds around race relations this city has been unable to heal for generations now.
Yesterday afternoon, I sat in my car eating my lunch and listening to NPR, feeling the electric charge of the culmination of months of unrest and unease surrounding the shooting of Michael Brown this past August. I didn’t know that the grand jury would reach a decision in mere hours, but as the afternoon wore on, that became clear. Five blocks from our house, streets were barricaded off surrounding the courthouse. On my drive home from picking the boys up from school, I merged onto the parkway along with several police vans headed the same direction. After arriving home, I let the boys watch a movie so I could listen to live coverage of the impending decision while I made dinner. I went out to the garage to gather an armful of firewood, the sound of helicopters circling overhead and sirens in the distance filling up the evening air.
Andrew and I listened to the decision not to indict Officer Wilson and I felt a wave of emotion overcome me. I trust that the grand jury made an educated and fair decision based on the evidence that was presented, but somehow none of that makes me feel relieved or good in any way. I don’t know what to think or feel anymore, only that it is so sad and tragic and so much bigger than this. And the media’s involvement in this whole tragedy? Looking at video from last night, it’s clear that a huge portion of the crowds in Ferguson were reporters and cameramen… what part does this play in the entire story? There is so much anger, so much hurt here. I’m hoping for peace and progress in St. Louis today.