I realize I missed posting on Black Friday. I have been fighting a very long sinus infection, but even if I had been well, nothing would have convinced me to go anywhere yesterday. Perhaps it’s the many Thanksgivings, Black Fridays Christmas Eves and then Christmas mornings I worked during 15 years in retail sales. I know I would have much preferred to be at home relaxing than I would working Christmas Eve and then return to the same store bright and early Christmas Day. Black Friday takes the cake though. It is American consumerism at it’s worst. More people (by far!) turn out to score a good deal on a large screen TV or something they think they absolutely cannot live without then do people that vote or attend neighborhood meetings to improve the safety and beauty of the land they live on. Hell, more people line up days before Black Friday at large electronics retailers like Best Buy, and then rush through the doors of all major American retailers at whatever ungodly hours the stores open (earlier and earlier) each year than the number of people that protested the horrid, completely wrong killings of two young African American boys-first Michael Brown by the police officer in Ferguson, and another boy, Tamir Rice who was killed because he was playing with a toy gun, just a few days ago in Cleveland.
The fact that more American people care about the discount they can get on an item they truly don’t need each Black Friday, instead of spending quality time with families, thinking of the families that did not have their children at the dinner table with them on Thanksgiving, should give every single parent and family a moment of silence and gratitude that our own children are alive, healthy and with us each day to fill our lives with joy. I cannot fathom the loss the families of Michael Brown and Tamir Rice must feel- not just this holiday season, but for the rest of their lives. Hearing that Darren Wilson was not indicted for the brutal shooting of Michael Brown made my heart ache for Brown’s family. Granted, punishing the now-no-longer-police-officer Darren Wilson would not bring their child back, but hearing that the officer is not being punished for his obviously wrong, wretched, aggressive killing of Michael Brown makes me question the soundness of our justice system for not the first time, Tamir Rice was brandishing his toy gun at people at a Cleveland park, but the person who called the police even said the gun was pretend, he was pretty sure it was fake. The Cleveland police stated that the officer who arrived at the scene and immediately shot and killed Rice did not get the message from the 911 call. Why the hell not?
Today, tomorrow and every day I wrap my arms around my children and tell them I love them with all my heart. I truly cannot imagine life without them, just as the parent’s of Brown and Rice could never imagine a life without their sons in it. Please take a moment out of holiday shopping and overspending and just sit with your children, hold on to them as tight as you can, and consider ways, other than protests that turn violent, that we as parents can demand change from our flawed justice system and demand that our children are safe when they are out of our homes. We must do something, and fight for change so that no more families lose their innocent children at the hands of the very people that are supposed to keep those children, and the rest of the communities they serve, safe. Protesting does not need to be violent. Reflect on all Gandhi was able to change in his country without ever even raising his voice. That should be our guide.