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Ben Carson
Ben Carson
20 Aug 2014
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A Problem Bigger than Ferguson


The international spotlight has recently been shining on Ferguson, Mo., after an 18-year-old black man was fatally shot by a white police officer. There was massive national and international media coverage, much of it engendered by the tantalizing thought that here was a clear-cut case of racism leading to police brutality and indicative of the evil inherent in American society. Violent demonstrations and riots ensued, with massive property damage and many outside agitators descending on the town, supposedly to guarantee justice as defined by mob mentality.

Perhaps it would be useful to examine the tragedy with the facts on the table rather than through the lenses of hypersensitized emotions stimulated by those attempting to exploit the situation.

Michael Brown was 6-foot-4 and 290 pounds. He had marijuana in his system and was purportedly involved in a strong-arm robbery prior to the shooting. He and a companion were walking in the middle of the street and obstructing traffic and therefore were admonished by a police officer to move to the sidewalk. Brown, who may have been pharmacologically impaired, became belligerent, and the ensuing struggle produced facial trauma and an orbital fracture of the police officer's face. The officer, who may have been dazed by a blow to the cranium severe enough to produce a fracture, attempted to apprehend the assailant, and shots were fired, six of which struck the suspect, resulting in a fatality.

Regardless of one's position on the political spectrum, we can all agree that this was a horrible tragedy and needless discarding of a precious life. How could this have been avoided? Two obvious answers: The officer could have ignored his duty and backed off when it became apparent that his instructions would not be followed, thereby avoiding a confrontation, or Brown could have complied with the officer's instructions, according to his civic duties.

If police officers generally adopted the first solution, chaos would reign supreme in all of our streets. If the populace generally adopted the second solution, there would be even fewer incidents of police violence.

Last year, 100 black males were killed by police in the United States. In the same year, 5,000 blacks were killed by other blacks, the vast majority being males. Could it be that we are erroneously being manipulated into making this incident a racial issue, when, in fact, it is a component of a much larger social issue?

Why are there so many young black men in the streets of America with defiant attitudes that frequently lead to incarceration or death? Could it be that a large number of them grow up without a father figure to teach them how to relate to authority and the meaning of personal responsibility? This is not to say that mothers cannot convey these important social lessons, as mine did. But in too many cases, these young unwed mothers have never themselves been exposed to personal responsibility and self-esteem, and the vicious cycle continues. As a society, we must concentrate on ways to break this tragic cycle that has produced a higher poverty rate in black communities across America with the increasing frustrations that underscore potentially explosive, tinderbox situations, as we have seen in Ferguson.

Once we get the most powerful economic engine the world has ever seen back on track with sensible economic policies, we should devote some of the tax revenues generated to child-care facilities that would allow many of those unwed mothers to get their General Education Development or higher degree and become self-supporting. There are also a number of programs across the nation that offer free classes that teach social and job skills, which would give many of the young men some different options.

We must concentrate on these kinds of programs because we cannot afford to lose large segments of our society to despair and underachievement in an increasingly competitive world. We have a social crisis brewing if we continue down the path we are on now, but we have the power to change our downward course with true compassion that allows people to rise and escape dependency.

Ben S. Carson is professor emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University and author of the new book "One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America's Future" (Sentinel). To find out more about Ben Carson and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit




1 Comments | Post Comment
Sir;... What is Evil? I'm serious. If you have to ask, you will never know.
And it is still a serious question because to me, evil is using words undefined which will never be defined because they are infinites- as though everyone knows the meaning of these words, and takes for granted that they do so.
If you think about love, or God and you try to define these you will define these quasi concepts in a way entirely subjective to you. And the fact that ones quasi definition shares many attributes of ones cultural definition means only that the culture is subjective in its thinking, designing their Gods so to speak, in the image of themselves. Even our desire to humanize God is no less than our anthropomorphising of all of nature. God, or at least a definition of God- is in each of us. The inability to make a worm beside the ability to create Gods is farcial, but the fact that this situation is taken for granted and played upon is one that should end.
To say Evil, is flippant. No primitive believing as a nominalist that the name was the thing would ever invoke death by calling it by name. We use Euphemism. You know when you say Evil, you evoke a certain idea of Evil in the minds of your readers. You say: Coverage engendered by the tantalizing thought that here was a case of racisim indicative of the EVIL in American Society.
Do you think any of us actually feel that way, or is this obviously some crappy little predicate you can toss like the apple of discord because you know your side, the side with not much education or time for knowledge already think it true. Love it or leave it. I am waiting to hear it. How about I love, and you leave. When you level charges like this with absolutely no intention of defending only because your numbskulls take it as God's truth, I think that is certainly evil, my evil, my subjective definition of Evil. Think of the terms in which we are cast. Our coverage was engendered. Is your coverage engendered? Is your coverage engendered by some tantalizing thought? Are you writing an ariticle or a lingerie ad.
What would you think- of any one judging good people known to you as good- as evil? No one thinks they are living in an evil land with evil people, or one, and all would try to escape. Would you stay for mere money, and to have that, would suffer the presence of your definition of EVIL? If you can live with evil, your subjective definition of evil as a reality, then perhaps you may have sold out to the evil long ago.
There are many people not among us, not citizens, not anyone we should normally care much about who think we are collectively evil. There are many who see what this country does, how it is working, or rather, not working who see the immoral damage it does to the environment we all own, and the moral damage that it does to all who contact it, and think these not only specific evils, but particular evils practically defined by example. It is wrong to put this last group in with the former, and that is exacly what you have done, and it is EVIL.
It is misleading slander of whole groups of concerned people who are concerned about some remedy for this obvious and particular problem. It is no blanket indictment of America to say we have a problem with race. Good people all over this land do not have to come up with a worthless judgement of America to realize that in the light of what was once possible for free people we have fallen far short of, precisely because we are not free, and have never been free. We suffer a slave morality that is not moral at all, rather like youself. Like you, many of us find it impossible to relate even with those we should most easily relate to. Do you believe you will not be black, not be seen as black if you take up the white cause and deny your people?
This America is not the place I grew up thinking it was. A lot of people never escape their dream of America long enough to realize their dream is some one else's nightmare. If people are racist they will as often be unconscious of it, and they will not rush to charge anyone acting under racist motive. I do not think there was more at work in the death of this child in Misery than mutual stupidity. Whites killing blacks has a sort of sour taste in some mouths that is sweet to others. Just as you rush to judge the boy, others rush to justify. That is a sign it is time for talk, for compromise, or agreement and understanding. How much nearer are we today with this article?
Right out of the box you spit in the left's face as though the left should expect it. We are tantalized. But not by thoughts of evil, but of resolution. People have a right to their lives. The age of this idiot was obvious. He had done nothing to warrant death besides being black. No one told the officer he was an army of one. No one told him he had to kill the only witness. He made these choices which the blacks and much of the left disagree with. Let's talk this out.
Look at the sexual overtones in your comment about EVIL. I am certain this is as a matter of choice, and I disagree with murdering the language as much as with murdering citizens. I would argue that the right has ever been engaged in an attack against truth because denied truth, the people become slaves. Because I am more conscious of my language, I see when people are actually making an unsupported and unsupportable moral agument in the adjectives they choose. You could have either said out straight what you wanted people to believe for all to reject, or you could slip it in like a small knife in the back that only the initiated would recognize. I understand your choice. What is your motivation?
I get that you are working for them, the people who hate you, and distrust you because you are black. Is it money that has moved you so far from your natural center that you cannot relate even to human objections to murder? The kid had no choice. He had to be an idiot because he was born that way. He had no concept, even a quasi concept of death. The cop must certainly have been aware the the damage and death that come out of a gun. What in hell was the problem with backing off, and taking care of the problem later? Only an absolute ass shoots people, especially those they are sworn to protect and serve when that oath might mean helping rather than executing.
If you want to call the left something nasty you should just come out and do so rather than hiding your opinion inside a garbage predicate. Inside that garbage you can hide your hate while your loyals baaa, and agree. I am asking you to be a man, and not say what you cannot defend.
Thanks... Sweeney
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:39 AM
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