St. Louis is making a serious bid at overtaking Las Vegas as the world capital of terrible ideas.
In the latest triumph of the moronically tone-deaf, a St. Louis police association has publicly protested the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture made by five St. Louis Rams players before their game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday.
To be fair, putting your hands up in front of 45 guys in Raiders jerseys is just common sense.
The St. Louis Police Officers Association (SLPOA) released a statement expressing “profound disappointment” with the players, saying they ignored “mountains of evidence” and “publicly [perpetuated] a narrative that has been disproven over-and-over again.”
The SLPOA’s logic on this issue is as clumsy as their acronym.
I encourage everyone to read the full statement, complete with its multiple ham-fisted uses of football parlance (“Someone needs to throw a flag on this play,” “That is way out of bounds”) that is then immediately pointed out as being a use of football parlance.
It is the comedic equivalent of an adolescent boy furiously tugging on a bra strap while proclaiming how awesome he is.
Aside from the Farva-esque attempts at wit, the statement highlights a disturbing disconnection from reality by its authors.
The assertion that the players were perpetuating a narrative that Darren Wilson executed Michael Brown in cold blood is incredibly shortsighted.
To conclude that the Rams players who made the gesture did so in order to troll police officers is, frankly, bizarre.
The gesture has been forged in the persistent state of antagonism between urban police forces and residents and stoked by individuals on both sides who are driven by ignorance to inflict damage on their community.
Citizens who use the death of a teenager as an excuse to loot and pillage their own community sit squarely in the same category as police officers who use force over brains and engage in arbitrary power trips.
They are both part of the problem.
The Ferguson situation is not an illustration of a divide along racial or economic lines; it is a divide between those who believe that a community subsists on the altruistic stewardship of its inhabitants and those whose ignorance and violent behavior undermines that stewardship at every turn, whether by a brick through an innocent window or a bullet through an innocent body.
Even though I’m loathe to quote Richard Nixon, I do believe there is a silent majority of civilians who want to raise their children in peace and police officers whose primary concern is preserving that peace through engagement, discussion, and understanding.
This majority must make obsolete the minority crowd that uses a grand jury finding as an excuse to loot a Target or takes a frustrated gesture of protest personally.