It is a tragedy that we know more about Robin Williams' death than Michael Brown's death.
Robin Williams died on August 11, 2014. He was a beloved actor and comedian. The news was even more tragic because he apparently committed suicide and had a history of mental illness. Depression is a terrible terrible disease. What people show on the outside is not always how they present themselves, and depression kills.
Michael Brown died on August 9, 2014. He was an 18 year old black man in Ferguson Missouri who was shot by a police officer. He was unarmed. And according to several witnesses to the event he was holding his hands above his head in a gesture of surrender when he was killed.
We have heard intimate details of Robin Williams' death. We now know all about his marriage, his illness, his medical information, his assistant, and many other things. Things that in my opinion should be private.
The Williams family is mourning the loss of a loved one. Shouldn't we grant them the right to mourn their loved one in private? Shouldn't we give Robin Williams some dignity. All over Facebook I see tributes to Robin Williams. Even Blizzard and World of Warcraft has gotten into the mix. Apparently Robin was a player and there was a petition signed by over 11,000 gamers to have an NPC (Non Player Character) put into the game to remember him. Now just to be clear I am an avid World of Warcraft player. However, I did not sign the petition. Something about it just didn't seem right to me.
In fact, I was unaware of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri until I read about it on Facebook on a post by The Bloggess talking about another unarmed black man shot by police. So many of the comments were awful! Racism is alive and well in this country, I am sad to say.
However, in sharp contrast to the abundant information about Robin Williams' death, we have almost NO information about Michael Brown's death. We don't even know the name of the Police Officer involved because the Chief of Police feels it will endanger him and his family to say his name. We have been told this young man "reached for the officers' gun. Which is contrary to what the other man with him has stated. An eye witness to the shooting who arrived on the scene after it began said she saw the Officer shoot Michael in the back, and then shoot him again at least two more times after he had his hands in the air.
I am a mother. I have two sons. I am white. I have a stark awareness of the fact that I don't have to teach my sons about how to "not talk back to police", and I don't have to worry every time they go out with friends if they will survive the night. I do worry when my oldest goes out, but only because he is now at an age where he is driving and he is in the car with teen drivers. That worries me. But it is NOT the same as worrying about whether your son will be killed simply because he is black or brown.
I am acutely aware of the fact that my sons can walk around our neighborhood at night with a group of friends and NOT worry about being hassled. According to an article I read, a black man is killed by a police officer every 28 hours in America. That is a startling number. You can find the article and read it yourself.
Why is it that a celebrities death is more important than an unarmed young man? Why do we know more about Robin Williams' death than Michael Brown's death?
Even in my local area of Virginia if you go to the Local TV station Wavy 10. The top story in National news is Robin Williams wife saying he had Parkinson's disease. Below that is a story about President Obama talking about the Ferguson situation, and then some photos of the protests in Ferguson. Can't you do better than that Wavy??
WVEC channel 13 online is not doing any better.
By all accounts Michael Brown was a gentle young man who was leaving for college in a few days, He was walking with his friend to visit his grandmother.
His death was senseless.
His death was brutal.