The Mike Brown Tragedy: A Mother’s Perspective


Michael Brown, Jr.

I was in the airport recently with my 20-month old son when he spotted a police officer. My son ran right up to the officer with that cute little wobbly toddler gallop while smiling from ear to ear. The officer, a Caucasian man, promptly placed his cell phone call on hold, smiled right back at my sweet boy, leaned down, and kindly said “Hey there, little fella!” In the moments that followed that gentle exchange, I couldn’t help but wonder one thing. Sixteen years from now, would my then-teenage son be greeted with the same level of courtesy and kindness? This question and many others like it are on the minds of mothers all over the country who are raising black sons.

I have so many hopes and dreams for my child’s future. I often wonder which college he will choose to attend, which career will ignite his passions, when he’ll fall in love for the first time, and what social and political issues will inspire him to lend a hand to help others – the list goes on. As a doting mom, I have to admit that I’ve already envisioned my son’s Sweet 16 birthday celebration and already planned his wedding rehearsal dinner party. However, none of my visions include my son being unfairly targeted by law enforcement or hunted down by civilian vigilantes just because he’s black.

It is beyond my realm of comprehension that a mother could pour her heart and soul into loving and raising a child only for a stranger to play judge, jury and executioner after profiling him and deciding that his life is no longer of value – all in an instant. My heart goes out to the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Mike Brown, and all the other moms whose sons’ lives were unjustly cut short.

The murder of Mike Brown was a frighteningly familiar front page news story. He was an unarmed black teenager gunned down in the middle of the street on August 9th by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The story is even more disturbing after digesting the fact that Mike Brown’s lifeless body was left on display in the middle of the street for 4 hours, as horrified onlookers watched nearby. Even the bodies of executed death row prisoners are shown more respect than was shown to Brown’s body that day. He was a human being – an 18-year-old recent high school graduate who was looking forward to his future. He did not deserve to die under such horrific circumstances.

Yes, I’m aware that there are differing accounts of what led to the shooting that day, so it’s important that all the facts come out in order to have an accurate perspective on the events. However, two facts are clear in my mind: 1) Mike Brown was unarmed and 2) he was shot SIX times, including twice in the head. In light of these two facts, has anyone explained to Mike Brown’s grieving mother why her unarmed son was shot to death? Did he serve as an immediate threat even if he was allegedly a reasonable distance away from the officer when the bulk of the shooting occurred, as multiple witnesses have stated?

There are many great law enforcement officers, of all races, who are professional, respectful, and value the lives of those they have sworn to serve and protect. I’m sure many of these same officers are troubled by the way Mike Brown’s life ended on Canfield Drive. And, then there are the few bad apples – those who shoot first and think later.

Perhaps the only good thing coming out of this tragedy is the national conversation that is taking place on how to heal the wounds and fix the problem. Huffington Post recently reported on a proposal that seems to be a tactical step in the right direction:

“A White House petition that would create a “Mike Brown Law” requiring police officers to wear cameras has earned over 100,000 signatures in just one week.”

The article excerpt includes a link to the petition which I’ll repost here as well in case you’d like to sign it. As my Dad says, “Great strides start with small steps.” The petition is a small step – hopefully the first of many.

As an aside; I know you are used to me posting articles about my favorite past times – entertainment news and celebrity. Thank you for indulging me in a different lane from my norm. I just couldn’t let another day pass without sharing my thoughts on the Mike Brown tragedy.

  • Parker

    I so appreciate a civil and honest discourse on this matter. You are right, there are many wonderful men and women who risk there lives to ensure the safety so many of us take for granted but there are some that do not uphold the values you so eloquently wrote about. Unfortunately there is a pattern of unarmed African American males being killed by officers that cannot be ignored nor can the wide divide of how minority and non minority suspects are subsequently “threat assessed” continue to be a non issue. We must engage in civil discourse and acknowledge the truths that exist no matter how uncomfortable they are. Change will never happen without it. Your 20 month old and every other child in our country deserves at the absolute least, this. Thanks for being brave and knowing that while your readers enjoy a good celebrity story, we have the capacity to weigh in on matters of substance.

    • chitchatrunway

      Parker, thank you so much for your thought provoking comments and candor. I only hope that this type of discourse continues to take place because too many young lives are being lost.