the sorrow of Michael Brown’s death

Have you ever entertained the thought that “there goes an accident waiting to happen” and even said as much out loud to whomever would listen? If so, perhaps it was a situation you personally had no control over. Maybe a car, truck, or motorcycle speeding around you at 90 mph on the freeway weaving in and out of traffic. Or maybe you can think of a better example. You can see what’s about to happen, but you alone can’t stop it or even slow it down. It’s a bad feeling, isn’t it?

It’s a feeling I have noticed in myself to an increasing extent while, of all things, I’m on vacation this summer. The trigger for it is that I’m taking time to read and to pay attention to things going on around me. Other day I blogged about Robin Williams’ death, sensing that even his death was a suicide waiting to happen, very preventable, but……… I later remembered my years of volunteering for Dayton’s Suicide Prevention Hotline and the many times I would gently say words such as, “one trouble with suicide is that it’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

Suicide is sometimes like the predictable but much less preventable accident waiting to happen.

But so is homicide, which takes me to today’s new topic. And to the death by police homicide in Ferguson, Missouri of one young, unarmed and unthreatening Michael Brown.

For me, the book of the year has to be Lisa Bloom’s “Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It.” If you’ve not yet read it, I hope you will soon. It’s a literary masterpiece. Or, if you’re not into books but do carve out time in your busy schedule for a few blogs, I hope you’ll read and see what Pastor Greg Boyd has to say today.

Friends, I feel bad even saying this but “America is an accident waiting to happen.” We presently have a terrible “fear problem” in our land. Bloom absolutely nails it in her book. There is undeniable evidence of it if we allow ourselves access to any external reality these days. One source of external mask-removing access I have is that I get facebooked from both friends of the right and left alike. That word “friend” is quite curious when the content below is a post from some rightwing or leftwing source of, well, absolute hate. Upon reading back and forth, with recent events in Ferguson, MO as a kind of epicenter of danger, I find myself repeating silently and now aloud here, “America is an accident waiting to happen.” One foot in a renewed Civil War between red and blue, and the other foot on a banana peel.” Both sides have tremendous fear. And then there’s the mathematics of gun ownership, where guns are estimated to outnumber even automobiles in our nation by 50,000,000. That’s right, million. To think I was worried about the car passing me at 90 mph the other day! Gun deaths already outnumber automobile deaths in America. I can’t stop or even slow down the predictable suicides (highest risk being white males over 60 like Robin) or homicides (highest risk being black males under 30 like Trayvon and Michael) but I can pray. Will you pray with me by simply reading as follows here:

Dear God, we feel sad when we hear about suicides and homicides alike that we cannot stop from happening each day. We lament the gun deaths of innocents such as Michael Brown. We confess that, lacking the power of control over other people, we don’t even try to influence them. We don’t even post a comment here or there or raise our own voice in protest against evil and injustice around us. We don’t even try to prevent the predictable. Instead, God, we choose our own blindness, our own deafness, we put ourselves on mute. Yet, we expect you to soon drop out of the clouds and rescue us, Jesus, just as the ancients pled with you to come down off the cross and show yourself to be their Messiah. Forgive us, Lord. Forgive us for seeing injustice and evil and crying out for you to “Do Something.” Help us to see, dear God, that you created us to do something about the accidents waiting to happen here in our own land. Supply us with the resolve today to let your perfect love cast out America’s great fear, so we might truly become one nation, UNDER THE(OS) INFLUENCE, indivisible, with liberty and justice for ALL. AMEN.


5 thoughts on “the sorrow of Michael Brown’s death

  1. Friends, I feel bad even saying this but “America is an accident waiting to happen.”
    America has always been a bad place for me. I have a learning disability, chronic depression, multiple addictions, diabetes, facial disfigurement, obesity. everyone I see who is houseless, disabled, old, a teenager, not a state approved ‘Christian’, a single mother, a Jew, an African American, Latino, working poor, (this is the short list) is sitting in front of a speeding train; ‘fascism’.

      • sharonleepeters says:

        in regard to your question; ‘How did you come to name the problem “fascism” of all things?’ i think the word ‘fascism’ carries a lot of historical baggage doesn’t it? i am glad you asked.
        ‘”fascism”, when manifested in a society or nation is recognizable in the cluster of behaviors and attitudes of its supporters as i think. i am looking into the nuances of ‘all things fascist’ today. i will try to get back to you after i do some research. btw, if you would care to share, what comes to your mind about the word ‘fascism’?

  2. I guess my own understanding of the word “fascism” is from the political ideologies of Hitler and Mussolini back in the 1930’s where there was actual human genocide and, of course, no democracy or social freedom. I’m open to considering new meanings, labels, etc. to see if we can join somehow in opposing today’s social problems as they affect you and so many, many others as well. Your help in “naming the problem” is welcomed, Sharon. Sometimes that’s the first step in empowering ourselves to find solutions.

  3. Wanted to share this comment in retrospect. I sometimes tend to shoot first and ask questions later in my own blog space. Where I stated in this post that Michael Brown was unarmed (true) and unthreatening (false) I was joining a chorus of those crying “wolf” before first gathering all the facts. My final question is then: do we all share in the guilt as Americans this temptation to shoot first and ask questions later? Typically we shoot off a blog or facebook post, etc. before really stopping to measure the consequences. Brown’s fatal consequence was cause by his shooter’s all too rapid decision. Maybe that’s the “real problem” we all have these days.

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