“Waiting with baited breath.” What a strange phrase. It’s probably not a phrase that is familiar or understood among the younger generation and when I was thinking about it, I wondered what exactly it meant. Going to the source of all knowledge (the internet, of course), I found a definition from Wikipedia that says “…refers to a state in which the speaker nearly stops breathing through fear, anxiety, awe, anticipation, or suspense”. That pretty well describes it. I, along with most of the Metropolitan St. Louis area, and maybe even the nation, wait with “bated breath” as the decision of the Grand Jury in the Michael Brown shooting nears.
What is going to happen and how bad will it actually be? As bad as anticipated? How will it impact the surrounding areas? Will anyone die? Will a police officer be killed? Will a police officer be forced to defend his life with deadly force? How many officers will be injured? How many innocent civilians will be injured? How many buildings will be looted or burned? How many people will be threatened or inconvenienced? How long will it last? How will we deal with the aftermath?
Or will the pleas of Michael Brown’s family for peaceful protesting be heeded? For some it will, those people who respect the parents and understand that violence will only beget violence. But for others, I doubt it. Those people whose agenda it is to cause havoc, to loot and destroy, or even kill, don’t care that they are further defiling the memory of Michael Brown. He is just a pawn for their own personal agendas.
Headlines are everywhere, causing us to cringe and twinge. Facebook is full of them: “Rioters to Target Whites: “You will never be safe-Not You, not your children!” “Law Enforcement sources confirming the FBI arrested two men in connection with purchasing explosives to be used in pipe bombs during protest”; “Security Experts: what to do if protesters surround your car”, “Two with Black Panther connections charged in St. Louis in federal firearms case”, “Private Military contractors Hired to Move Guns and gold out of Ferguson”; “St. Louis County Police Prepare for Ferguson Decision: 650 Teargas grenades, 2,000 plastic handcuffs, 6,000 pepper balls, 5,000 hours of additional training”; “FBI Sends 100 Agents to Ferguson Ahead of Grand Jury Decision”; “Jennings School district cancels classes Monday, Tuesday”; “Businesses and residents stressed over looming Ferguson grand jury ruling”; “RbG Black Rebels: If any store owner in Ferg/Stl shoots or harms any protesters promise your store will never open again. This is not a threat it’s a promise”; “Anonymous warns Ferguson police and KKK in new video: ‘We are the law now’”; “Missouri Governor declares state of emergency ahead of ruling on Ferguson shooting”.
Talk about ratcheting up the anxiety. Guess I should just stop reading my Facebook feed, but it’s sort of like a train wreck. Regardless of how gruesome it is, you just gotta take a peak. Like a moth to a flame; I gotta get closer even if it might burn my wings.
If the rumormill is to be believed, the decision will be announced early tomorrow evening. That would seem to set with the National Guard being deployed and on its way to the area and the Jennings School District cancelling their classes for Monday and Tuesday. That’s still a full 24 hours away; 24 hours to wait, worry and agonize. Maybe it’s like a cancer tumor. You dread the surgery, but you know you will never get better until they cut it out. The recovery will be slow and painful and getting back to normal may take some time, but in the end, hopefully, there will be a full recovery.
In the meantime, I wait with bated breath.