There have been countless reflections posted to social media following the shooting of Ferguson resident Michael Brown and the decision to not prosecute police officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting.
In the post, Watson points out the multitude of feelings he is experiencing following the decision to not indict Wilson. It also includes reflections on race, justice, and an overall sadness over the events. The post is very long, and paints a great picture of the conflicting responses to the Ferguson event, and those that have followed.
Watson’s Facebook post reads in its entirety:
“At some point while I was playing or preparing to play Monday Night Football, the news broke about the Ferguson Decision. After trying to figure out how I felt, I decided to write it down. Here are my thoughts:
I'M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.
I'M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety movie sets and music studios.
I'M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I'm a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a "threat" to those who don't know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.
I'M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.
I'M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.
I'M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn't there so I don't know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.
I'M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I've seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.
I'M CONFUSED, because I don't know why it's so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don't know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.
I'M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take "our" side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it's us against them. Sometimes I'm just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that's not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That's not right.
I'M HOPELESS, because I've lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I'm not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.
I'M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it's a beautiful thing.
I'M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I'M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that's capable of looking past the outward and seeing what's truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It's the Gospel. So, finally, I'M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.”
The post has been shared 349,388 times and has received over 616,000 likes.
There are more than 56,000 comments.
“Benjamin, all I can say is I have never made a comment on any "celebrity's" Facebook account, but yours will be the one and only! Your words are so insightful, wise, and thought provoking! You have a way with words and I pray that when God is finished with you in football (hopefully not for a long time!) He uses you to preach His message! You are a wonderful inspiration and great example a true man!,” commented Debbie Cain Rivers.
Former police officer Gordon Waite left a very appreciative comment in response to Watson.
“As a former Police Officer who has had the misfortune to have survived a struggle with a man bigger than me while trying to arrest him, I can never relay the "fear for my life" I had when I felt him trying to get my sidearm from my holster. I had three things going for me that gave me hope that I would survive. I had a retention holster, you had to push the weapon forward and then up and out of the holster, I had a back up weapon in a simple holster inside my Kevlar vest, and I knew back up was on its way. Still, if during the struggle he had been able to get my primary weapon I would still have to reach into my shirt, under the vest and draw out my back up to defend my life from him using my gun.
“What do you think these criminals do with the officer's gun when they are able to take it from them? Do you think they run away with it shouting " I got your gun, I got your gun."? Do you think they throw it as far as they can and continue to fight hand to hand? No! You know as well as I do that they shoot you with it!,” Waite wrote.
Praise has been given by many of the commenters, some suggesting Watson run for president, and others simply thanking him for what he has written.
“The most inspiring, eloquent discourse I have read all day. Blessings to you!,” wrote Juliana Snoddy Barnett.
As the riots and looting continue in Ferguson and across the country, Watson’s eloquent and emotional response provides a detailed account of how one person, and possibly many others, are feeling.