The article about black scholars responding to Ferguson (NCR, Jan. 16-29) started off positively but took a dramatic turn when quoting two presenters' comments at the symposium.
Jesuit Fr. Joseph Brown and Social Services Sr. Eva Maria Lumas were very divisive. Brown said that black men are "targeted" and killed by a largely white police force. Lumas indicated that even if African-Americans try to do the right things, "it is open season on black men."
At the start of every day of work, a police officer is given descriptions of individuals who have committed serious crimes in the last 24-48 hours. Police officers are also given information on street gangs, ongoing criminal activity, and areas where narcotics enforcement should take place. After this briefing, the officers go out in patrol cars and try to find these suspects, in between answering 10-20 radio calls for service during their single shift.
Police officers have a difficult job: serving the public in their areas while ensuring that they go home to their families at the end of duty. It is extremely disheartening to hear their religious leaders tell them they are targeting black men for no reason or being guilty of having "open season on black men." I would suggest that Brown and Lumas go on a ride-along with those officers who are targeting or hunting and see how it really works.
(Deacon) NEIL W. ZACHARY