Violence Is Not The Answer

Posted on 08/18/2014 by John Poland CEO, Town Hall Foundation

A tragic shooting in Ferguson, Missouri occurred when a police officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed Michael Brown. The headlines continue to refer to Brown as the unarmed victim of murder by the police. On Friday the 15thof August, the Police Chief of Ferguson reported that Mr. Brown, 18, was a 290 pound six-feet-four suspect identified as the perpetrator of a strong arm robbery just moments before the altercation. Officer Wilson approached Mr. Brown and his co-suspect Mr. Johnson only blocks away walking down the middle of the street blocking traffic.

Officer Wilson confronted Brown and one of the suspects pushed Wilson back into his squad car, a shot was fired from Wilson’s gun in the vehicle, Wilson was injured and subsequently shot the suspect three times resulting in his death.

This incident is under investigation by the local police and the FBI.

The night of the shooting led to violence in the streets, looting, tear gas being fired, Molotov cocktails being thrown at the police and on. The Ferguson police responded with an equal show of force and that lasted for three nights.

On Thursday evening, the State Highway Patrol took over and there was calm on the streets and a dialogue between the citizens and the police. In an interview on Friday the 15thof August, Captain Johnson, of the Highway Patrol, said, “There is no place for violence in Ferguson” and when asked a question about “an old wound that does not heal” he responded that, “this is an old wound and we should close it for good”.

Another question from the audience asked why the authorities did not have the education and skills to handle the outbreak of violence. Capt Johnson said “When all the facts are known and the press leaves town we should work together as a community and solve this problem.”

There are two distinct issues at play: the death of an 18 year old man and the subsequent violence and looting in Ferguson. In this editorial, we will focus only on the violence that occurred over three consecutive days.

Ferguson is a suburb of St. Louis. Two thirds of the town are African American and the police force of 53 has only six African American officers. This could be construed to be gun powder waiting for a fuse.

To frame the THF’s position, we believe that actions taken by mobs generally have a base of support in education. It would be hard to believe that parents are teaching children to reach out and kill someone. After the death of Brown, his mother referred to him as a good son who was going to college in the fall. A proud mother who in our opinion did Not teach her son that robbery or other violence that ended in his death were appropriate behavior.

So where did Brown learn that violence and crime were acceptable behavior? Our position is clear. Music lyrics by some music artists teach the bad behavior. Without control or limits, these musicians pen and sing about the thrill of killing, abusing, violent behavior against others and insinuating to their listeners that violence is OK and the norm.

Let’s be specific. Ace Hood in his song, Trials and Tribulations pens lyrics included on our Website such as: “Hit her and go, give me a pistol then run with the K’s, Signing' bonus hit that man that's from thirty feet I got shooters out the D-league”, from Lil Wayne, in his song I Am Not a Human Being II, “All rats gotta die, Yeah, Murder 187, I be killing them bitches, I'm killing these hoes, Nigga try me, that a dead ass pussy. AK on my night stand, right next to that bible, But I swear with these 50 shots, I'll shoot it out with 5-0 And I make that pussy tap out, I knock that pussy out cold, Nigga you get beat the crap out but that's just how the dice roll”  and from Young Jeezy, Get Right “almost killed a thug, Party scene turn to a murder scene, You fuck with me, I put my foot in your ass”.

These lyrics are graphic but to the Town Hall Foundation are clear evidence that the teacher of violence are music artists that incite youths to violence, and are paid very well to do it. Remember that we have connected by academic studies the CAUSE and EFFECT of the lyrics on childhood development and the BRAINWASHING that occurs from the repetitive listening to these songs by way of SmartPhones, IPods and Mp3 players.

While the community of Ferguson rails against the authorities, maybe they should look first at their kid’s smart phones and manage the content that their kids have downloaded.

That’s the message for today, more coming.