An Open Letter to Our World:
CIGAR ROBBERY NOT THE REASON
MICHAEL BROWN WAS STOPPED

My dear Brothers and Sisters on this Journey of the Soul…

On Aug. 14 I posted an open letter here saying that as much as I don’t want to pre-judge, it seemed clear to me that the police officer in Ferguson, Missouri made a terrible mistake. I said I didn’t know how else the police department could explain it.

Today, the department released surveillance videos from a convenience store a short distance from where Michael Brown was stopped by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer now identified as Officer Darren Wilson, and have claimed that Mr. Brown was a suspect in the “stong-armed robbery” from the store of a box of cigars.

The video appears to show a person looking very much like Michael Brown roughing up a store sales clerk, who alleges that Mr. Brown, accompanied by another male, was leaving the store with a box of cigars without paying for them.

MSNBC reported earlier today that the lawyer of the second man, identified by police in the surveillance video as Dorian Johnson, confirmed that Michael Brown had taken the cigars from the store.

Mr. Brown allegedly left the store, allegedly with the cigars still unpaid for. The store clerk said he called 911 and the Ferguson police subsequently put out a radio alert for its officers to be on the lookout in the area for the suspect. That alert contained a description of how the alleged suspect was dressed.

In the information given to the press by the police today (Aug. 15), it was indicated that the officer originally responding to the store’s 911 call (that officer was not Darren Wilson) also responded to the later police call to the site of the shooting, and identified Mr. Brown, from his review of the surveillance video from the store, as the person allegedly involved in the cigar-stealing and store-clerk-assault incident.

If Officer Wilson stopped Mr. Brown on the street to question him about the store incident, and if Mr. Brown, as the officer asserts, became physically threatening in an altercation with the officer, reaching through the police car window for the officer’s gun, then the officer would have a legal right to defend himself, and the firing of the gun at the window would be both understandable and legal.

But the Ferguson police chief said today that Officer Wilson did not know that Mr. Brown was a suspect in the robbery when he stopped Mr. Brown, but that he stopped to tell Mr. Brown and the man who was with him to move out of the middle of the road, as they were blocking traffic. So, the police chief said, the two incidents were unrelated.

What happened next appears not to be in dispute in the statements of three alleged witnesses to the ensuing events (one of whom was Dorian Johnson, who was accompanying Mr. Brown) and the account of the police officer. Mr. Brown apparently turned and ran from the vehicle.

Now we are waiting for more information from the police department on what the officer did next. Witnesses say the officer got out of the car and ran after Mr. Brown, shooting as he ran. Mr. Brown was apparently hit. With this, multiple witnesses said Mr. Brown stopped, turned, and faced the officer, putting his hands in the air.

Those witnesses say that the officer then fired multiple shots at Mr. Brown, who crumbled to the ground and died. He was found to have been unarmed.

According to police, Mr. Brown lay dead approximately 35 feet from the police cruiser, seeming to corroborate all reports that he was running from the officer when he was shot multiple times. There may be some question — we have to wait until we hear Officer Wilson’s personal account in full — as to whether Mr. Brown had his hands in the air when he was shot, although multiple witnesses — one person looking on from a building window above the scene — indicate this was the case. Could he, instead, have been advancing on the officer, his hands in a menacing gesture?

I have tried and tried and tried to think this through, to figure out why a police officer would do what this officer is alleged to have done. Did he fear for his life when Mr. Brown turned around? Did he think that Mr. Brown might have had his own weapon and was turning around to use it? Did he not know that one of his shots had already hit Mr. Brown and that his runaway suspect was already wounded? Did the officer feel threatened at the highest level, such as to cause him to fire multiple rounds at Mr. Brown? My rational mind is telling me that he did.

Yesterday I asked, why would an officer shoot at a runaway suspect in any event? If the officer had no idea that Mr. Brown was a suspect in a criminal assault at a nearby store, but if Mr. Brown attempted to assault the officer who had stopped to tell him to move out of the middle of the street, and did, in fact, struggle with the officer for his gun, it would have been legal for the officer to have fired a shot at Mr. Brown as he ran away, in a legal effort to apprehend him.

But again it must be asked, why shoot multiple times—as the officer is alleged to have done—if the man turned and raised his hands? Reports have it that as many as seven or eight shell casings were collected at the scene from near Mr. Brown’s body. Police concede that all came from the officer’s gun.

I hope the officer’s full report will reveal his reason. Yet the community will always wonder, was the officer’s reasoning the best demonstration of the kind of judgment call we hope that law enforcement officers, given their training, can and will make in moments such as these?

As I have watched the events in Ferguson unfold, I have gone deep inside to quietly and purely explore: What is my highest spiritual reaction to this event? And what, for that matter, is my spiritual reaction to the horrific events taking place in Iraq at the hands of ISIS, which has beheaded and crucified its begging-for-their-life victims, and posted videos on social media to boast about it? And, for that matter, what is my highest spiritual reaction to the events in Gaza, where two sides in an ongoing battle of nerves, rockets, and bullets can’t seem to stitch together a cease fire lasting more than a few hours, even as people are dying every day as a result of their intransigence?

My reaction is compassion. And deep sadness. Sadness that we apparently insist on evolving this way as a species, when there could be other ways to do it. Compassion for all of the misguided people involved in these and other misguided events of our day and age. And then, a move to deep inner knowing…and deep, earnest prayer. Prayer for those on all sides of these experiences, that all might find their way to inner peace in the midst of the outer turmoil of their lives. Prayer that all might find God. Not the God of retribution and violence of which so many have heard, but our true God of love unconditional, who would never sponsor or encourage violence of any kind against another living thing — and who would bring us self understanding and self healing even in the midst of our own violence as a species.

My knowing is that our species will find its way out of this maze of blind confusion about what it means to be human, what the purpose of life is, what our relationship to God is, what our relationship to each other is. That knowing is accompanied by an internal setting of searing intention that our human species will rise at last to its higher awareness, and then demonstrate its larger purpose, its true identity, its greatest possibility.

Yet I want to be honest and tell you that as I move to this place I nevertheless keep finding myself asking: What is happening to our world? And are we really — really and truly, totally and completely — unable, even as we declare ourselves to be a species of evolved sentient beings, to stop any of this?

But most of all I keep asking myself: Why do not all the people of our planet rise up and say, “How much more? Oh, God, how much more of this insanity are we as a global species willing to suffer before we stand together as a collective and challenge ourselves, call upon ourselves, beg ourselves to join together and find a way to stop it?”

I believe people are looking for, searching for, hoping for a way to stop it, but can’t seem to coalesce enough collective energy to do it.  Conversations with God gave us one answer. No one, least of all me, is saying that it is THE answer, but it is at least one answer that certainly couldn’t do any harm. Is anyone willing to listen? Is anyone willing to join together and do something about all of this? Does anyone think that anything can be done? Who’s willing to try?

Let that be our question for the day: Who’s willing to try?

Why bother? Does it matter? In the evolution of our own individual Soul, does any of this “other stuff” matter? Is there any place where Individual Spirituality and Communal Life On Earth mix? Can the first serve the second in any way? Does one even have anything to do with the other?

Is it time for an Evolution Revolution?

Offered in sincerity,

Neale Donald Walsch

 

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  • Mussarrat Haq

    I feel we need to pray consistently regularly and collectively. We need to send out as much positive energy as possible.

  • Erica Bates

    I think it can be done. In the face of what seems madness more and more people are saying enough is enough!

    Because it is so horrid…because at this space in time mainstream and social media shows the horror perhaps more graphically that at any other space in time. Could it be that to turn the tide world events and local events are escalating….with purpose…..to break through the numb day to day and hit us in the face so to speak, so we cant ignore any more.

    And thus discussions begin at the water cooler, on facebook, over coffee and over drinks at the pub people talk about what the heck is going on ……..and dissatisfaction begins and compassion stirs……

    Until there comes a time in space where the tipping point is reached and community and humanity desire for peace and oneness is great enough to move the right people into places of power, supported by the people….for the people….and spirituality connects us rather than religion and divide.

    I believe, feel, know in my gut that the tide is already turning……

    • Erica Bates

      Yes Neale……..Definitely time for a Revolution in our Evolution

  • Michael L

    Here is my take on this evolution we are creating.
    Chaos complete and utter.
    From day one 6 years ago we have been heading down this road.
    And as Erica has alluded to….When we get to that tipping point.Things will change.
    Every single day children are looking for a way out from the killings in their urban centers, or from the indoctrination into violence.
    I see no soul search for change from the majority of folks. We are a separated lot. And we are waiting like we have for 2 thousand years for someone to come and get us out of the mess.
    So we create this life to make it more miserable. More pain and deaths.
    What will we create in the last 2 remaining years of chaos, and beyond?
    What ever it is it can not be something that hasn’t worked all this time.

    We take the heart of loving each other as humans and from that heart we take all the best stuff from that break and create.
    Next April is Pay it forward day, the 30th. We can’t deny that energy for sure.
    Really we can not expect anyone with authority to change our world for good,(they only hold the status quo) it has to come from inside each of us.
    Thanks be to God for the internet!!!

  • AngelaMooreDuck

    Yes, it is time for a global evolution revolution. I am willing to stand with you and pray the same prayer. I believe it is part of why we who are willing have been called together at this particular time in our story. Where two or more are joined together in prayer, there I will be also……………..it is my deep understanding that this is a true statement. We are ‘two or more’. I would love to see us get together regularly to claim peace of all creatures.

  • Jamie Johnston

    I think the fact that this world is slowly becoming one of where no one is allowed to have their own opinion without fear of persecution is something. I think that in and of itself will make people rise up and say no more.

  • Ellen

    Living in close proximity to the situation, there are a number of realities that perhaps don’t seem to be conveyed by all the media coverage currently taking place. For one thing, the media appears to be fanning a flame to encourage it to burst into an uncontrollable fire. The second thing is that most of the conflict and violence that is bursting forth is coming from outside influences who prey upon situations such as this before all the evidence is there. I have always been an advocate of seeing two sides of a story…and knowing that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. That seems to be the case here – at least originally. It truly saddens me to see this community undergoing such terrible violence. There are families who have lived there their entire lives who are now afraid to go anywhere or do anything. It has nothing to do with their own neighbors and everything to do with the outside influences.
    Neale, I just discovered the Conversations with God books about a month ago and I am on my second reading. I understand that God is telling us to take responsibility for our world and what is happening within it. I don’t believe that the answer lies in burning down stores or looting small businesses during protests. I don’t believe that protests were truly warranted in this case….the policeman was a man…just like any other man. Michael Brown also. Michael was the result of his upbringing, and the parenting that he received along the way. We can never truly know or understand what Michael’s intentions or actions were that day..nor the officer. What I do think the underlying problem is that everyone wants someone else to take responsibility for what happened. They don’t seem to understand that Michael’s actions that day resulted in this tragic event, But rather than acknowledge that, his parents want law enforcement to take responsibility for the entire event. And law enforcement? Trying to justify actions that took place and still maintain the ability to have their officer, if necessary, be tried in a court of law – requires a semblance of withholding evidence. That is perceived as deception by the outside influences who have entered into the situation.
    If I listen to that still small voice within me – this situation has taught me many things. First of all, even the media that I believed was trustworthy – is not. I will henceforth listen or read the news with an open heart and mind. Not all is at it seems. Secondly, rather than inflame situations such as this or let them stir us beyond reason – we need to step outside of the situation and understand what would cause people to react in such a manner. We need to learn that tolerance comes from not being tolerant of those who prey upon others for their own agendas. I believe that the majority of people are far less racist than some are trying to portray. If you have a hundred people…and only five are violent, irrational thugs….they will appear to be leading the fray. But that is not always the case. I believe Humanity is changing. I believe we are all seeing through the deception some are trying to lay on our doorsteps. I believe God is reaching far more of us than many would think. I believe that this is a horrible tragedy that will lead us to see how manipulated we can all be by events and those who orchestrate them.
    By the way, I love you Neale. As a messenger…you are incredible. Thank you.

    • Michael L

      And more switnesses keep coming out all the time.
      We rush to judge, not a good way to live our lives.
      I pray for compassion for all sides. And get the federal government out of there.