Thursday, January 22, 2015


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Bo
3 Shevat 5775/ January 23, 2015

On August 9, 2014 Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African-American male, was shot to death after an altercation with Darren Wilson, a 28-year-old white male Ferguson police officer. Brown was a suspect in a robbery committed minutes before the shooting.
On August 10, 2014, the evening after the shooting, people began looting businesses, vandalizing vehicles, and confronting police officers who sought to block off access to several areas of the city. At least 12 businesses were looted or vandalized and a QuikTrip convenience store and gas station was set on fire, leading to over 30 arrests. Many windows were broken and several nearby businesses closed on Monday.
On August 11, police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a crowd at the burnt shell of the QuikTrip convenience store, set on fire by looters the night before.
On August 12, several hundred protesters gathered in Clayton, the county seat, seeking criminal prosecution of the officer involved in the shooting. Protesters in Ferguson carried signs and many held their hands in the air while shouting “don't shoot”. That night, police used smoke bombs, flash grenades, rubber bullets, and tear gas to disperse the crowd.
On November 24, the grand jury decided not to indict Wilson in the shooting death of Brown. Following the announcement of the grand jury's decision, a dozen buildings were burned down; there was gunfire, looting, vandalism, and destruction of two St. Louis County Police patrol cars, as well as burning of various non-police cars.
On November 25, CNN reported that thousands of people rallied to protest the grand jury's decision in more than 170 U.S. cities from Boston to Los Angeles, and that National Guard forces were reinforced at Ferguson to prevent the situation from escalating. At least 90 people were arrested for arson, looting, and vandalism in Oakland, California. Protests also took place internationally, with demonstrations held in several major cities in Canada and in London.
After 210 years of unjustified brutality against an innocent and defenseless young nation, there were three days in which the former oppressors were mysteriously shrouded in utter darkness. What’s more, they were completely immobile, unable to move a muscle.
The former slaves, who were completely unaffected by the plague, followed instructions to search the homes of their former tormentors. But incredibly, nothing was taken or even moved. There was no arson, no demonstrations, no smashed windows, no looting, not even verbal epithets hurled. In fact, there was not even one instance of any attempts at revenge throughout the three days. 
Someone once noted that the police are astounded each year when on Purim thousands of men drink excessive amounts of alcohol, and there are no instances of vandalism, looting, thievery, or destruction (asides for the occasional accidental stepping on someone’s glasses).
What a people! 

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,
            R’ Dani and Chani Staum       

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