LLCC members discuss aftermath from shooting of Michael Brown

The Lamp Online Staff

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By Michael Sauer
Staff Writer

We all know the story by now. On Aug. 9, a young, unarmed black male named Michael Brown was shot to death by police officer Darren Wilson.

Wilson allegedly assaulted Brown, because he wastrying to take the officer’s gun. However, some witnesses of the shooting say that Brown’s hands were in the air before he died.

To say the least, this now infamous incident unleashed a storm of rioting and looting across the town of Ferguson, Mo.

The worst of it, the New York Times says, lasted for about a week. But smaller, isolated protests still occur, bringing about the now popular phrase, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot.”

One thing that comes to mind, though, is: Was the killing the work of a racially fueled officer who went against protocol, an accusation that is so often used nowadays by the American people? Or was the event just a misunderstanding that involved a black male and a white cop?

Professor John Paul Jaramillo, who teaches english at Lincoln Land Community College, grew up in a rough Hispanic community in Colorado with his uncle who was a police officer.

“The shooting of Michael Brown was a tragedy, a horrible event, but it is nice to see people exercise their right to protest, and get some social unity out of it,” Jaramillo said. “I’ve personally written about similar incidents to this, so I sympathize with those who feel under-protected. However, my uncle was a cop, so I always see both sides of the story.”

Jaramillo said most of the officers in his community were white, so he is able to understand the social inequalities in Ferguson and how there may not be enough African-American police in that community.

“I want to withhold my opinion on this until the true court ruling. I guess I’m taking both sides here. I certainly see a lot of examples of racist police brutality in the media, like Rodney King, and there are multiple other specific incidents like this that have also been filmed. I do feel that there is an issue at the heart of this, and I think the federal government knows this as well.”

Sarah Goodman, a budget specialist at LLCC, took a very different view on this events.

“I think that it is asinine that so many people are willing to tear their city apart over a shooting,” she said. “It’s sad, but rioting and looting isn’t going to bring the life of Michael Brown back. There is a difference between a riot and a protest.

“We, as Americans, have the right to protest what’s wrong, which gets attention. Unfortunately, when protests become rioting, it becomes a more negative situation. However, until someone does something, people do deserve the right to peacefully protest. They shouldn’t just give up.”

Goodman said racism may have been a factor in the shooting because “with any accusation, there is some truth to it.”

Goodman continued: “However, once it gets in the hands of the media, it explodes into something huge. There are certainly those whose personal beliefs heavily cloud their judgment.”

Michael Sauer can be reached at 217-786-2311 or [email protected]

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LLCC members discuss aftermath from shooting of Michael Brown