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Monday, August 18, 2014

Today's World - Riots & Ice Buckets

In Ferguson, Missouri, hoards of people are hitting the streets to protest the recent shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man who was shot by Darren Wilson (28), a local police officer.

On August 9th, Michael and a friend of his, Dorian Johnson (22) were walking down the middle of Canfield Drive in Ferguson, Missouri when officer Wilson pulled up and ordered them to step over to the sidewalk since they were jaywalking.

Ten minutes before this incident happened, the two boys were caught on videotape robbing Ferguson Market a few blocks away on West Florissant Avenue. Apparently, the boys refused to moved to the sidewalk and this seemed to anger the police officer. Neighbors reported hearing the screeching of brakes and tires as Wilson backed up to enforce his request. This is apparently when a struggle took place with one bullet being fired inside or into the squad car. Eye-witnesses report that at this point, the boys began to run away, but officer Wilson kept shooting.

However, Dr. Michael Bayden, a well-known but former chief medical examiner for the city of New York stated in his autopsy report that all 6 shots that were fired towards Michael were fired into the front of his body, twice in the head and 4 times in his right arm. The fatal shot was fired into the top of Michael's head. The first shot into Michael's head was through his right eye, came out his jaw and into his collarbone. He was 6 ft. 4 in. and weighed 292 pounds.

These events horrified the residents of this small St. Louis suburb and many have taken to the streets in protest of the police officer's actions. Speculation on both sides of the coin has it that possibly the officer was still shooting at Michael even after he had been hit and was down. On the other hand, others contend that he may have been falling to the ground while officer Wilson was quick firing. In either case, the fact remains that Michael was unarmed when he received the fatal shot.

The police report says that Michael was struggling with the officer for his gun. Eyewitnesses say that Michael simply was shoving the officer back into his police car. I guess we'll let the jury decide. Adding insult to the injury of this small town nightmare is the looting and rioting that's taking place. Many residents have expressed the fact that they suspect these latter events are being conducted by out-of-towners that have come to town simply to stir up trouble and make the difficult job of executing justice in this case even harder.

In other parts of the country, celebrities and commoners alike are videotaping themselves with icy buckets of water being poured over their heads for the purpose of raising money to benefit ALS. ALS or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease is a fatal disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord causing the deterioration of voluntary and involuntary muscle movements such as speaking, swallowing and breathing.

This is called the Ice Bucket Challenge, whereby individuals post these ice dumping videos to their Facebook pages and then tag a friend or friends challenging them to do the same or else make a donation to ALS. The hope is that many people will make the video for fun, to spread awareness for the illness and to inspire motivation to join the challenge and then make a donation as well.  As of today, the ALS's website, alsa.org reports that $15.6 million has been donated to help fight the disease due to this challenge.

A sincere expression of sympathy goes out to the family of Michael Brown for their very tragic loss and a sincere hope that the residents of Ferguson will find some comfort and peace very soon. With things heating up in Ferguson, one might wonder if a bucket of icy water would do some of the troublemakers there some good.

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