Now Ferguson's about jobs

For those not yet aware, it turns out the riots and the looting in Ferguson happened because there are no jobs. This, at least, according to some residents who bemoan the lack of economic opportunity per a recent CBS report that opened with the following:

The National Guard began pulling out of Ferguson, Missouri today. It was quiet again last night. Just eight arrests. The grand jury investigating the fatal shooting of Michael Brown – an unarmed black man by a white police officer, Darren Wilson…. Today CBS News learned the panel is made of six white men, three white women, one black man, and two black women.

Right out of the gate we’ve got the familiar refrain: an unarmed black man shot by a white police officer.

Enough already!

A 6’4” 300 pound man can inflict serious physical harm without having a gun. That’s a fact, whether some folks like it or not.

Second, people need to stop assuming there is some kind of racial animus involved. There is not a shred of evidence to support this inflammatory meme. Should such evidence come to the fore, then it should be dealt with appropriately.

Ironically, the assumption is often about racism. It never seems to occur to anyone that there may have been animus directed toward the police officer because he was white and/or because he was a police officer. Why should that possibility be any less meaningful?

Third, describing the racial and gender make up of the grand jury was an insult to every single person serving on that jury, as if one’s skin color and/or gender would bias a person one way or another. If that is now the default position, we might as well pack it up and forget about our criminal justice system because Americans have become too stupid and too untrustworthy to participate on a jury.

OK. So much for CBS’s introduction. Cut to the interviews conducted by Mark Strassman who was in Ferguson. Strassman started out by noting the unemployment rate in Ferguson for black males ages 22 – 24 is a staggering 46%.

As I listened to his interview with three young black men, it was hard not to see the irony of them complaining about the lack of opportunity in a town where countless businesses were just looted.  

And it was sad and frustrating to realize these men, with their tattoos, large diamond earrings, and an unprofessional manner of speech appeared to have little insight into how these factors impact one’s chances of being hired.

In addition, at the end of the interview, Strassman spoke with John Vons (I’m not sure I heard Strassman pronounce the last name correctly, so I apologize if I got it wrong), a former gang member who serves “as a bridge between protestors and the police.” Vons spoke about various entry level skills people in the community have such as cleaning, painting, mowing lawns, and the like. He ended by saying: “Give us those jobs. Set it up to where we can get those jobs.”

I could feel Von’s frustration and perhaps even desperation. It’s awful to be able-bodied, willing to work, but unable to find a job. At the same time, I was puzzled as to what he had in mind. It sounded as if he expected someone to show up in Ferguson with jobs to give away. Among other things, I was unclear as to who he thought was supposed to “set it up” and how that worked.

The piece ended with Strassman behaving like a trained seal. As Vons finished his thoughts, Strassman chimed in like a politically correct robot: “No jobs, no peace.” To which the former gang member said, “No jobs, no peace. Period.”

So much for being a bridge builder.

For those not yet aware, it turns out the riots and the looting in Ferguson happened because there are no jobs. This, at least, according to some residents who bemoan the lack of economic opportunity per a recent CBS report that opened with the following:

The National Guard began pulling out of Ferguson, Missouri today. It was quiet again last night. Just eight arrests. The grand jury investigating the fatal shooting of Michael Brown – an unarmed black man by a white police officer, Darren Wilson…. Today CBS News learned the panel is made of six white men, three white women, one black man, and two black women.

Right out of the gate we’ve got the familiar refrain: an unarmed black man shot by a white police officer.

Enough already!

A 6’4” 300 pound man can inflict serious physical harm without having a gun. That’s a fact, whether some folks like it or not.

Second, people need to stop assuming there is some kind of racial animus involved. There is not a shred of evidence to support this inflammatory meme. Should such evidence come to the fore, then it should be dealt with appropriately.

Ironically, the assumption is often about racism. It never seems to occur to anyone that there may have been animus directed toward the police officer because he was white and/or because he was a police officer. Why should that possibility be any less meaningful?

Third, describing the racial and gender make up of the grand jury was an insult to every single person serving on that jury, as if one’s skin color and/or gender would bias a person one way or another. If that is now the default position, we might as well pack it up and forget about our criminal justice system because Americans have become too stupid and too untrustworthy to participate on a jury.

OK. So much for CBS’s introduction. Cut to the interviews conducted by Mark Strassman who was in Ferguson. Strassman started out by noting the unemployment rate in Ferguson for black males ages 22 – 24 is a staggering 46%.

As I listened to his interview with three young black men, it was hard not to see the irony of them complaining about the lack of opportunity in a town where countless businesses were just looted.  

And it was sad and frustrating to realize these men, with their tattoos, large diamond earrings, and an unprofessional manner of speech appeared to have little insight into how these factors impact one’s chances of being hired.

In addition, at the end of the interview, Strassman spoke with John Vons (I’m not sure I heard Strassman pronounce the last name correctly, so I apologize if I got it wrong), a former gang member who serves “as a bridge between protestors and the police.” Vons spoke about various entry level skills people in the community have such as cleaning, painting, mowing lawns, and the like. He ended by saying: “Give us those jobs. Set it up to where we can get those jobs.”

I could feel Von’s frustration and perhaps even desperation. It’s awful to be able-bodied, willing to work, but unable to find a job. At the same time, I was puzzled as to what he had in mind. It sounded as if he expected someone to show up in Ferguson with jobs to give away. Among other things, I was unclear as to who he thought was supposed to “set it up” and how that worked.

The piece ended with Strassman behaving like a trained seal. As Vons finished his thoughts, Strassman chimed in like a politically correct robot: “No jobs, no peace.” To which the former gang member said, “No jobs, no peace. Period.”

So much for being a bridge builder.