Tags: Ferguson in Crisis | ferguson | wilson | brown

Move Past Ferguson, Focus on Solutions

By Friday, 28 November 2014 05:17 PM Current | Bio | Archive

In the film “Apollo 13,” there is a scene where two of the astronauts, overcome by pressure and tension, lash out at each other and succumb to the stress of the situation.

A heated argument breaks out over whose fault it is that a crippling explosion occurred. Jim Lovell, the mission commander and usually the epitome of calm, cool and collected, barks at them both.

“All right, we’re not doing this, gentlemen. We’re not gonna do this. We’re not gonna go bouncing off the walls for 10 minutes. ‘Cause we’re just gonna end up right back here with the same problems. Try to figure out how to stay alive!”

The astronauts shut up and recover their composure. The crew goes back to work. Despite massive damage and a host of unforeseen difficulties they survive. What could have been the greatest disaster in the history of NASA instead becomes its greatest triumph.

If there is a better analogy for the current state of our nation, I don’t know what it is.

Michael Brown is dead. He was shot by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo., months ago. Based on the evidence available to the grand jury, which I have reviewed in detail, it appears pretty clear that the grand jury’s decision not to indict was correct.

The physical evidence is particularly persuasive. Wilson did what any police officer would have done under the circumstances. If he had not killed Brown, in all likelihood it would be Wilson who would be dead.

That does not change the fact that this is a tragedy. It does not change the fact that a young man with plans for the future and his whole life ahead of him is dead. Neither does it answer any of the real questions. Why was Michael Brown out on the street, stealing from a convenience store, assaulting a storeowner and careening into a deadly encounter with the police?

What was it in his life and in the world around him that drove him to his death?

Maybe most important of all, what is it that we as a nation, as communities, as parents, as citizens are doing or not doing that has lead to a situation in which far too many other young men on our nation’s streets are lost, angry and headed for disaster?

Michael Brown is gone. There are lots of others like him who are not gone but are steering their own courses for destruction right now.

These are urgent questions, and they demand urgent answers. We do not have time for bickering. We do not have time for finger pointing. We do not have time for hysterical debates on television focused far more on theater and ratings than on illumination and finding solutions.

Our educational system is a disaster. We are the laughing stock of the developed world. Every year we churn out millions of high school graduates who cannot begin to compete for meaningful work in the world economy today. Huge numbers of other kids are simply dumped from the system along the way and never even receive diplomas.

We do not have time for endless debate, ranting, raving and the scoring of political points. We can scream all day and night about the role of unions, political correctness, social agendas and the like. None of it is helping the kids whom we are failing every day.

Abroad we are faced with an increasingly dangerous and unstable world. The enemies we face are as evil and as dedicated to our destruction as we have ever seen. We do not have time for endless debates regarding which president did the worst job handling national defense and foreign policy.

We don’t have the luxury of ignoring our problems and hoping they will go away. We can’t possibly afford to continue launching ruinous nation building exercises, which drain us of both blood and treasure.

We need solutions. Not made for TV public relations stunts and initiatives designed to pander to the political base: We need real solutions. We need creativity. We need hard work. We need to pull together as a team.

We built this nation from the ground up out of a mass of disparate peoples who came here from the far corners of the globe and were united by exactly one thing, the desire to build a better life.

Out of the raw ingredients of the North American continent, those people, of all colors, creeds and ethnicities, pounded together the greatest military, economic and political power this planet has ever seen. In 200 years we went from a handful of colonies clinging to the Eastern seaboard to a superpower.

We need to remember how they did that. We need to rediscover the secret of the unity and drive that made that possible. We need to say less and do more. I don’t know that I have all the answers as to how to accomplish that, but I’ll give you one clue.

It won’t happen as long as we’re bouncing off the walls.

Charles S. Faddis, president of Orion Strategic Services, LLC, is a former CIA operations officer with 20 years of experience in the conduct of intelligence operations in the Middle East, South Asia, and Europe. He is the senior intelligence editor for AND Magazine and a contributor to a wide variety of counterterrorism and homeland security journals. His nonfiction works include "Operation Hotel California," a history of the actions of his team inside Iraq from 2002 to 2003, "Willful Neglect," an examination of homeland security, and "Beyond Repair," an argument for intelligence reform. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Michael Brown is gone. There are lots of others like him who are steering their own courses for destruction right now. These are urgent questions, and they demand urgent answers. We do not have time for bickering.
ferguson, wilson, brown
Friday, 28 November 2014 05:17 PM
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