In the Aftermath of Ferguson, Stay Angry and Stay Woke

The band of trigger-happy chickens running the Ferguson Police Department finally released the name of the officer who gunned down unarmed 18-year-old Mike Brown. But we can't let one halfassed gesture of goodwill erase what has happened in the past week. We need to stay angry, and stay woke.

Release of the officer's name comes after they withheld the name for days over concern for the officer's safety. How thoughtful of them. Safety sure does seem like a top priority for this group of potatoes with guns. Ferguson police brought out that carrot before they hit us with the stick that is the truly ludicrous story they are trying to feed the public about the events that led to Mike Brown's death.

Stay woke.

For many, yesterday was considered a victory of sorts after this exhausting and painful week. Now, it's all peace, love and handshakes—at least that's what the photos out of Ferguson will have you believing.

Much, if not all, of this is thanks to Captain Ron Johnson from the St. Louis highway patrol, who took the reins from the Ferguson police and treated the protestors like human beings deserving of respect and their Constitutional rights. To his full credit, Captain Ron Johnson really did step the hell up and we're lucky to have him.

But oh, they think they're slick.

They think that distracting us with this sudden burst of competency will somehow make us forget about the load of bullshit they just dropped. The Ferguson Police Department is now trying to paint Mike Brown as a robbery suspect in order to justify his shooting. Yes, they are trying to give grounds for riddling the body of an unarmed 18 year-old with bullets. Trying to suggest that because he may have tried to steal a box of cigars, he deserved to die.

Not just that, the Ferguson Chief of Police has admitted that the officer who shot Mike Brown had no prior knowledge that he was a robbery suspect when he shot him. Which begs the question: What the hell reason do you have for releasing the footage or discussing that information in the context of this case when it had absolutely nothing to do with his death?

Furthermore, he claims that he released the footage because "the media" was asking for it. Apparently this is the same media who didn't even know the footage existed. They can't even be remotely subtle about their attempts at a smear campaign.

I don't care if Mike Brown was running around kicking puppies with an open container of alcohol while wearing stolen clothes. The punishment is not death. And we all know that even if Mike Brown did steal those cigars, if he were white, he would still be alive right now.

I guess we should just be happy that no one got shot by rubber bullets last night—an accomplishment achieved only by the absence of Ferguson police.

Stay woke.

But that's always the case with these incidents—the victims are put on trial. Trayvon Martin deserved to die because he was wearing a hoodie. Renisha McBride deserved to die because she was drunk. Eric Garner deserved to die because he was selling loose cigarettes. And people will believe that. They will take that narrative and run with it because they believe that black lives hold such little value that the loss of one simply deserves an explanation rather than justice.

Stay woke. Stay woke.

Do not fall for the false narrative that we only want to march and make a fuss when it's them shooting us but not when we're shooting each other. The alluring lullaby of black on black crime has been used to dupe many into complacency and silence.

Just because you don't know what the hell is going on doesn't mean nothing is happening. You think the people of Chicago don't march against the violence in their community? You don't think there are community organizers in black neighborhoods across the country working to solve these issues? President Obama launched an entire initiative aimed at empowering young men of color.

You think the youth doesn't care? You obviously haven't heard about 14-year-old Caleb Christian who, along with his two older sisters, developed an app to document police abuse. You think people aren't having conversations like this every day? Do not place your ignorance and selective memory onto others.

Stay woke.

Communities across the country deal will Mike Browns all the time whether you hear about them or not. This isn't even the first time the Ferguson Police Department has used excessive force against a black man and lied about it. These communities don't get to pick and choose which stories will be propelled onto the national stage. And be clear, the same things will continue long after the news crews have left.

Stay woke.

On August 9th, four days before Mike Brown was shot, 22-year-old John Crawford was gunned down by police in a Wal-Mart because he was carrying a toy gun that they mistook for a real weapon.

On the same day Mike Brown was shot, 25-year-old Raymond Wilford was pepper-sprayed and detained by a Westlake Center security guard in Seattle even as witnesses tried to explain that he hadn't done anything wrong.

On August 11th, two days after Mike Brown was shot, 25-year-old Ezell Ford was shot and killed by Los Angeles police while lying on the ground unarmed. The LAPD is trying to say that Ford, who was mentally challenged, tried to grab the officer's gun. Sound familiar?

(Is there a big handbook of lies to tell in order to justify your fuckups that they hand out with those badges?)

This doesn't stop here and the outrage we feel shouldn't be forgotten. The anger, the disgust, the utter disappointment needs to be remembered if we're ever going to better ourselves as a nation. Malcolm X said, "Usually when people are sad, they don't do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change."

We worry about this shit all the time. The people in these communities worry about this shit all the time. Everyone needs to be worried about this all the time. Stay angry and stay woke.

Image via Getty.