Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson: The Aftermath

Rioting and looting continues 24 hours after a grand jury chose not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year old Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. It's at the point now where most of the "protesters" are causing chaos because they can, not because they're truly outraged over a perceived miscarriage of justice.

As has been affirmed the past 24+ hours, it's basic common sense to always take a few minutes for one to gather one's emotions when stricken with a sense of anger and outrage. As such, when the grand jury decision was announced Monday evening, it would have been best to not immediately take to social media and vent frustrations. 

Valeria Silva, superintendent of the St Paul Public Schools, learned this lesson the hard way. 

Such an irrational and emotional statement resulted in retorts such as this:

Not surprisingly, Ms. Silva deleted her tweet shortly thereafter. Apparently she doesn't realize Twitter is forever. The St. Paul Police Federation learned of  Ms. Silva's statement and issued a stern response.

Ms. Silva would go on to issue an apology on Tuesday.

"I apologize for the misunderstanding around my first tweet Monday night in which I reacted emotionally to the Ferguson grand jury's decision. My purpose was not to challenge the judgment of the police or the grand jury, but to express my sadness about this tragic situation. I recognize that the Ferguson decision impacts many students and community members. But it deeply and profoundly affects the lives -- quite literally -- of many of our black students. That is why I tweeted what I did. The amount of time that people spent questioning my tweet and the time I spent responding underscores that race still matters in this country."

So when Ms. Silva asked the question "How do I explain this to my black students?," perhaps she could take a few minutes to explain how the mainstream media's editorializing the news isn't the same as conveying actual facts about the case. She could also talk about forensic evidence in the context of how eyewitnesses can fabricate but physical evidence is unbiased. Of course, per John Gilmore's suggestion in his tweet above, Ms. Silva could emphasize how it's not a great idea to make an attempt at grabbing a law enforcement official's firearm.

But none of that seems to fit within the narrative now, does it?



walter hanson said...


She should tweet that it is quite obvious I'm not qualified to be super of the Saint Paul School District and I'm resigning immediately.

Walter Hanson
Minneapolis, MN

Bike Bubba said...

You explain it by pointing the kids to the evidence presented to the grand jury, and explain that when you pick a fight with an armed person and grab for his gun, you are likely to get shot.