Good Grief: “Ferguson Is Now A Symbol, Not A Place” Or Something

When I first read that headline this morning on my tablet using the Washington Post app, minus the “good grief” and “or something”, I thought it would be bad when I started reading on the computer after grabbing the freshly made coffee. I really didn’t think it would be this bad. Or be an opinion piece in the Style section. Here’s Krissah Thompson

Six months ago, Ferguson, Mo., was the kind of nameless suburb visitors to the city of St. Louis passed through. That was before a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager on a street this summer and months of daily protests transformed the unassuming city into a symbol.

Ferguson is now a word that evokes feelings.

Though it has been less than four months since Michael Brown was killed, the town seems to have entered the pantheon of places that stand as metaphors. Ferguson’s symbolism now sits alongside Selma’s significance in the civil rights movement, Columbine as a symbol of teenage rage and gun violence, and Kent State’s historic link to anti-war protests. Those are places that have adjusted — some more smoothly than others — to their emblematic meaning.

Do we really need to discuss how insanely stupid this is? Those on the right will immediately understand that this is double facepalm material, those on the left will be bobbing their head in agreement with the article, without realizing that their policies are responsible for the problems in Ferguson. Anyhow, what kind of “symbol” is Ferguson?

In Ferguson, dozens of buildings and vehicles burned Monday night after the announcement of the grand jury’s decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson in Brown’s killing. It is impossible to imagine that the town will ever be the same. And people who knew the Ferguson of old are grappling with the change.

It’s surely a symbol of people who feel that it was A-OK for Michael Brown to rob a store, assault the owner, get stoned, walk in the middle of the street, attack a police officer in his cruiser, attempt to take the officer’s gun, then attempt to attack the officer out of the car. And, because of these actions, they feel it is OK to burn their own neighborhoods, riot, loot, and otherwise get violent, all in Michael Brown’s name.

Actually, I guess that does make sense. Michael Brown had been a violent criminal immediately preceding his death, so the protesters are just following his lead. Nothing says “symbol” like looting a McDonalds and a couple of beauty parlors.

It is certainly a symbol of the media’s excess, their attempt to turn a criminal action by Michael Brown into a cause celebre about raaaaacism and police brutality. It’s also a symbol that some people are complete idiots, taking the side of a violent criminal. But, then, liberals have often seemed to take the side of criminals.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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