Too soon to judge in Ferguson

To the editor:

In your editorial Aug. 23 you said using the term “execution” in the shooting of Michael Brown “may have been overstating it a bit.” Use of the word “may” indicates you feel “execution” may be appropriate to use at this time. To me it is not appropriate and it exhibits bias and lack of judgement. I believe a reasonable person should prefer to wait until evidence is gathered. You are merely parroting what the vast majority of the news media is doing. Irresponsible remarks can stoke anger that incites the violence and looting seen recently. It is very regrettable that the journalism profession has sunk to the level it has. Intentional distortion and misleading reporting is common.

We do know Brown was fatally shot by a policeman. To this date we have NOT received substantial evidence of what occurred before and during this event. If Brown was shot without any justifiable reason, he (the police officer) should be charged with murder and convicted. If Brown attacked the policeman the shooting may have been justified.

Certainly there are bad policemen. However, I do believe the vast majority perform in an honorable matter and at times must defend themselves from serious injury or death by an unarmed person.

I regret that you immediately condemn the policeman and label this shooting as racially motivated. Your editorial implies the policeman just decided to shoot a black man for no reason other than he didn’t like the color of his skin. Does the policeman have a record that indicates racial activity or hatred? If you are privy to evidence supporting your claim please provide it.

What incidents can you cite regarding the racial “unrest and tension” in Ferguson prior to the shooting? Please provide it. I readily admit that I do not know what the situation was in Ferguson prior to the shooting nor do I know why he was shot. You insinuate that YOU do know. So tell us specifically! Not speculation; not about something that happened elsewhere. A policeman’s life, his family and his future are at stake. He is not responsible for deeds committed by others.

You state there will NEVER be rioting anywhere in Minnesota like that in Ferguson. Evidently as the basis for this you use the analogy comparing the possibility of rioting in Willmar with Ferguson. Willmar, populated overwhelmingly by whites, a rural community located about 100 miles from an urban area is compared to an urban community, Ferguson, with approximately 70 percent black population. Would it be more reasonable to compare the urban community in Minneapolis that you describe as having developed a “rough reputation” with that of Ferguson? I sincerely doubt there will ever be racial rioting in Willmar nor in Marshall. But I also believe it is very possible a policeman may in the future shoot someone in Willmar or Marshall and NO rioting will result.

Then you go on to say “Feel blessed that you don’t live in Missouri.” “Enter at your own risk.” Are you insinuating we are more safe because in this area and state we aren’t outnumbered by the black population? If so, that is another sad commentary on your part! I do not think that is your belief. But it does exhibit willingness, regardless of validity, to join in condemning and perhaps bringing great harm to a person if it fits with your goal.

Judging guilt, innocence or justification with little or inadequate information is wrong. There is the adage, “There are two sides to a story!” Also, “You are innocent until proven guilty.” Your editorial indicates you do not subscribe to either!

Each person, regardless of race, should be treated with respect. We each have a responsibility, especially the news media, to refrain from unsubstantiated remarks or articles that divide us. Sadly, racial relations have deteriorated in recent years.

George Holcomb

Marshall