Justice in Ferguson

Depending on an individual’s point of view and their own values and background, they might see something differently than someone else. Different people may classify certain actions as being just, while others might claim that those same actions are unjust. So, who really is to say that something is entirely just or unjust in everyone’s eyes?

Last week, the Supreme Court made the executive decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the death of teen Michael Brown. Immediately following the decision, protests and riots erupted in the town of Ferguson. Angry protesters

Michael Brown and Darren Wilson

began setting local businesses on fire, blocking tunnels, and overall causing extreme chaos in the city (Sanchez). That wave of riots then began to spread across the country as more and more people joined in to protest the Court’s decision. The protesters were arguing that the ruling was an unjust act of racism against black teenager Michael Brown. In Ray Sanchez’s “Why Ferguson Touched a Raw, National Nerve,” he writes that, “To them, Ferguson is just the latest reminder that the American criminal justice system doesn’t treat blacks and whites the same — and that young black men in particular are often killed with impunity.” The people of Ferguson strongly felt that the final decision by the court was extremely wrong and unjust. Just as Martin Luther King protested the injustice toward colored people that he had witness in his lifetime, the rioters in Ferguson were fighting back against a ruling that they felt was unjust.

However, though both protests were acts against a system in which the people felt was unfair, King advocated for nonviolent action and “civil disobedience.” It was crucial for King to make sure that the actions were nonviolent because he wanted to respect the law that the state has a monopoly over violence. With that said, King still strived to take a stand and rebel against the laws in place, such as Jim Crow Laws, that discriminated against black people. Just as he quotes in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” “an unjust law is no law at all.” This idea of rejecting unjust laws is exactly what the rioters in Ferguson were aiming to do. Their anger and outrage at the court’s unjust decision caused them to up rise

and riot in the city of Ferguson.

The people of Ferguson clearly felt a strong connection to Michael Brown and the case in general. Based on their own values and identities, they saw the ruling as unjust, even though the court felt it was the right decision. It is nearly impossible for everyone to agree that certain things are just, or reasonable, thus difficult decisions must be made, ultimately leaving some people unsatisfied.