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Youth Is Wonderful | Howard Levinson Blog


The band I am in, Bold Adventure, played a gig at an America Legion Hall where the average age of the party goer was in the 70s. When we were setting up the equipment, I had serious reservations that we were the right band for this party. About half of our set is original music written by me or Scott, the other songwriter in the band. My songs are primarily in the country genre and Scott’s are rock. Our cover songs range the gamut from Steppenwolf to Tom Petty to Stones. We are a five-piece band and can be aggressive and loud.

As we got underway, I thanked the crowd, numbering nearly a hundred, for their service and got a few chuckles when I mentioned it might be best if they turned off their hearing aids. Only one woman with a 12” beehive hairdo came up to the stage and said it was too loud. Maybe she was a retired librarian.

We got a hearty round of applause after playing  my tribute song to the military, “Cut One, We All Bleed.” When we played slow cover songs like Wild Horses, Sea of Love and Wonderful Tonight, the dance floor filled up. I noticed one of the men squeezing his dance partner’s butt while dancing. The power of the blue pill.

Of late, one of my parents ended up having to do some short-term rehab in a nursing home. We chose a nursing home with a large presence in the area with a good reputation. However, the halls were lined with wheel chair bound residents, their skeletal faces and hollow eyes paying no attention as we walked by. Moans or gibberish wafted from rooms. The staff was a mixed bag of quality, caring professionals and apathetic, unmotivated employees. Having spent my twenties and thirties as a paramedic, responding to numerous 911 calls at nursing homes, I was not surprised at the conditions or the staffing. It’s a nursing home, don’t expect Five-Star service.

My attitude towards the infirmed back then, in the prime of my life, with no clear expectations about who/what I would be in 30+ years, was clearly skewed. I was less empathic and caring as I should have been. I felt as if these nursing home calls were a nuisance. They were less important than the gunshot victims or heart attack patients upon which I could be using my life saving skills. I couldn’t see that three or four decades earlier, these elderly folks were probably just like me. Young and in their prime, proving themselves and forging a life in really difficult times.

I know we can’t go back as they did in the movie Cocoon, but if I could, I would certainly do things differently on those nursing home calls. And I hope that in ten or fifteen years, I will be that frisky dancer.

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JOHNNY STRABLER (The Wild One) meet GEORGE BAILEY (It’s a Wonderful Life)

JOHNNY STRABLER (The Wild One) meet GEORGE BAILEY (It’s a Wonderful Life)

This story is about the exuberance, excitement and passion of youth. Johnny Strabler and George Bailey were clearly excitable boys. George Bailey was played by Jimmy Stewart. All George wanted to do was to get the hell out of his home town of Bedford Falls. He didn’t want to settle for a mundane life like the rest of his family. George wanted to travel to exotic places, do exciting things and make his mark on the world.

Shit happened and he ended up staying in Bedford Falls, working at the family business, marrying his high-school sweet heart, buying an old, drafty house and raising a slew of kids. He never traveled to exotic places, did exciting things or made his mark on the world (outside of Bedford Falls). By the end of the movie, he learned the same lesson Dorothy learned in the Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.”

Most of us were dreamers like George. We wanted more, we wanted to travel to exotic places, do exciting things, make our mark on the world. And like George, shit happened, and we settled for a life less than what we had dreamed. With any luck, you had some moments of exhilaration that touched on those youthful dreams, as you changed diapers, mowed the yard and paid the bills.

Of late, the streets are filled with passionate and exuberant youths. It reminds me of lyrics from the classic 1960s protest song by Buffalo Springfield, “For What It’s Worth.”

“A thousand people in the street

Singing songs and carrying signs

Mostly say, hooray for our side

It’s s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound

Everybody look what’s going down…”

This tune, by Stephen Stills, reflected the angst in the streets of LA at the time. It was written about the closing of a rock club on the LA strip, but became a song for the times, as the fury against the Viet Nam war blossomed.

The kids on the streets today are equally passionate about the recent turn of events. Some of their disappointment and anger has a legitimate basis. Good for them…protesting, making your voice heard is a cornerstone upon which this country was founded.

Some of the protesting is based on emotion without a factual basis. And the violent protestors bring nothing to the table but response in kind. And unfortunately, some of the ‘song singers and sign carriers’ are professional, paid protestors. And finally, some are protesting in the same fashion as Marlon Brando’s character ‘Johnny Strabler’ in The Wild One. In it, Johnny was asked what he was rebelling against. He responded with, “What do you got?”

I’d like to remind the folks out on the street, that we have been here before. The country will survive, life will go on, things  may get worse, but they will eventually get better. I like to think that things may even be better than before.

Fifteen years from now that angry kid with a bandana masking his/her face, waving a “Not My President” or “Black Lives Matter” sign will likely be pushing a shopping cart with a kid or two in tow, looking for the best price on ground chuck. They will have become George Bailey. And there is nothing wrong with that.



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We were on a cruise out of the country all last week and were “Off the Grid.” We did not know who won the election until late Wednesday.

When we hit a port in the US Virgin Islands my phone was blowing up with texts and Facebook posts about the election. There were so many messages and posts prompted by emotion and disappointment. They were laced with vitriol and anger. I found it to be the most perfect and lovely time to be away from home and ‘off the grid.’

My message to those who fear that the end of civilized society is at hand, you are forgetting who WE are. WE are AMERICA. We have been through this and much worse before. When many of you were not even a sperm cell swimming upstream in search of an egg, the political shit was hitting the fan. And yet we are still here.

Just a few examples are:

• An admitted communist-Lee Harvey Oswald killed President Kennedy on 11/22/1963. (Or the CIA, La Cosa Nostra and the shadow government did it.)
• An admitted racist, James Earl Ray assassinated Martin Luther King on 4/4/68.
• A Jordanian anti-Semite, Sirhan Sirhan, assassinated Sen. Robert Kennedy on 6/5/1968.
• Thousands of violent Vietnam War protesters battled police in the streets of Chicago at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Similar violent anti-war demonstrations including bombings and shootings continued for years.
• Ohio National Guardsman shot and killed four Kent State students during a Vietnam War protest on 5/4/1970.

Close your eyes and try to remember a time when you were 18-22 years old and you didn’t pay attention to elections and politics. While you were playing beer pong, taking college finals, playing sports, or making a few bucks at a job, contentious bipartisan politics was happening. We had Watergate and the Iranian Hostage Crisis and 911 and we got through it.

If you are still so upset that you can’t even think straight because your side lost; remember we are AMERICA. We have been through worse. This too shall pass. Hang in there.

I will give you something to worry about if that helps. The real danger involves the people behind the curtain who are really running this country, regardless of who sits in the Oval Office. You know, the military-industrial complex, the  Fed, the Bilderberg group types. They pull the levers that run the show. Yes, tough times are probably on the horizon, but not because of Donald J Trump. It’s much bigger than him.


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St. Louis-Murder City. Hard to believe we rated above New Orleans, Detroit and Baltimore. Yes, Baltimore. The city behind one of the best murder books, David Simon’s “Homicide-A Year on the Killing Streets” upon which a gritty, realistic TV show “Homicide-Life on the Streets” aired for several seasons. Not to mention, the recent Baltimore race riots following the Freddie Gray incident.

So the stats in the news say the 2015 murder rate in St. Louis, population 300,000, of 59.3 incidents for every 100,000 city residents was the highest rate of any American city. The 188 murder cases in 2015 represents an 18.2% increase from 2014 and a 66.4% increase from 2011. The majority of murder victims in St. Louis in 2014 and most of 2015 were young African-American males.

On the upside, we are still way behind the curve in the murder stats compared to the early 1990s during the gang wars over crack cocaine distribution. In 1993 there were 267 souls smoked on the streets of the Gateway.

What’s The Answer?

Some say we need more gun laws, we need less people carrying weapons. New weapon laws, or the ability to carry a concealed weapon will have no effect on a shithead, crack dealer or car-jacker hell bent on killing a rival gang member crack dealer shithead or stealing your car. They have never, nor will they ever, live by the laws and rules of a civilized society. And there is an organized, underworld business of illegal gun trafficking to sell these guns to the shitheads that keep them well armed and the killing fields active.

Is This Fixable?

This type of violence cannot be legislated away. This type of criminal activity can only be broken up by risk taking, courageous law enforcement officers either on the beat or assigned to undercover or covert task force, using surveillance, wiretaps, search warrant, stop and frisk and other tactics most liberals find reprehensible in this so-called free society.

As stated in the news of the day, many of the victims are black kids who never had a chance. They grow up without a family or social structure and they have role models like rappers. Our government makes promises about better schools, better opportunities, better jobs in their neighborhoods, but never delivers. We are conspiratorial minded, believe that the government thrives on these poor folks in a state of dependence for a voting block and for a means of control.

I drive through North City regularly and have lived and worked in North County for decades. I’ve seen the decay and white flight over the past 30 years increase. Please tell me what laws and state or national congressional actions over the past decade have made the poorest of poor lead better lives, improved the schools and lessened the temptation of a kid to join a gang in place of a family, sell drugs instead of get a job.

Morality cannot be legislated. New gun laws and more governmental regulations will not create the circumstances that foster the desire for the return to nuclear families and responsible behavior.

If the government really wanted to help, there would have been a revitalization with incentives for companies to put manufacturing and business back in the worst of the worst neighborhoods where it is needed most. The government would have done something with the slumlords, vacant houses and blighted neighborhoods that would help instill hope in the residents unable to leave that somebody does care.

In The End

Unfortunately, there is no government that is willing to do anything more than maintain the status quo and put Band-Aids on the problem when a transplant is needed.


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Abbie Hoffman

Abbie Hoffman, the 60’s leader of the counterculture revolution garnered thousands of supporters. They were primarily young adults of the age we see nowadays, only with their heads buried in their iPhone posting selfies. Abby urged his supporters to join a revolution to change politics as usual, to stop the Viet Nam War and essentially burn down the system and start over. Their tactics were dramatic, comedic and often violent. I think it is no small stretch, that our country is every bit as f##ked up now as it was when Abbie Hoffman was leading the charge against the establishment machine.

America’s place in the world is no longer recognized as the best and most solid nation. Our once vibrant inner cities have turned into ghost towns filled with gangs, drugs and hopelessness. The corrupt, union run, school systems have failed. They cannot perform the job of teaching and being a family to kids who have little or no social support system to show them right from wrong. Industry and good paying jobs have moved from hands-on production to sophisticated technology which requires education. Since the schools are unable to fill that need, unemployment brings more gangs, drugs and hopelessness.

Our roads and bridges running through our urban areas are falling apart. People with means have been fleeing the cities for decades. They leave and with them goes the taxes they would have paid to make improvements in the area. They leave behind those without means, to make it any way they can. And as some have said, “If society fails you, you make your own society.”

The military industrial complex and the political corruption that was targeted by Abby Hoffman and the Yippies in the 60’s and 70’s is stronger than ever. Outrageous activities like the obscenely expensive Mylan EpiPen, the corrupt Justice Department giving Hillary Clinton a free pass for her classified emails, illegal Mexican gun running in the ATF’s ‘Fast and Furious’ f##k up, illegal gun running in Benghazi, the lies and cover-up told to the American people on the Sunday news shows about Benghazi, the genocide in Syria, the terrorist attacks on American soil and an ongoing war in Iraq and Afghanistan. The hits just keep on coming. And Obama is sending more and more ‘military advisers’ to these places. Did he not learn anything about the failure of the concept of wartime ‘military advisers from the history of Viet Nam?

YES…He learned plenty over the last two terms. He learned that ‘Hope and Change’ is impossible. He learned that the power of military industrial complex-the political machine, the lobbyists and the super-rich elite cannot be sustained without national and international conflict and war. Obama, the Clinton’s, Trump and all of those holier-than-thou clowns in Congress you see on the 24 hour news cycle are part of the machine.

If things remain the same, our third World War is coming. It’s just good business for the powerful elite running the country. You think our hands-off approach to the Middle East, the rise of ISIS and the artificial manipulation of the economy by the Federal Reserve is happen-stance? This is all part of their master plan.

The rise of a Donald Trump is a testament to the fact that so many are so fed up with the established politically corrupt machine and they want a different direction for the country. Trump may be an outsider to the political machine, but he has been an insider to the powerful and elitist groups running the country for decades and thus we can rule him out as the next Abbie Hoffman. Just because he is the lesser of two evils, still leaves him as evil.

Sure this sounds a bit paranoid. William Burroughs said, “Sometimes paranoia is just having all the facts.” Perhaps someone legitimate will come on the scene, call for change, and we will listen.

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Is Your Cell Phone Killing You?


Is Your Cell Phone Going To Kill You?

In my sci-fi novel, The Mercury Vapor Lamp Experience, electromagnetic forces (EMF) were used to facilitate mind control by aliens bent on saving the planet from the human species who were slowly, ecologically destroying it. Only a handful of kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders were able to identify the threat and save the world.

Do you own a cell phone?  Thought so.  As in all of my writing, I spend considerable effort doing research. Despite what the government wants you to know, there is convincing evidence that exposure to electromagnetic forces alters normal physiological processes. It’s a pretty simple concept. The function of our heart, lungs, kidneys, nerves and brain are all dependent on electrical potentials at the cellular level. Remember that stuff from biology class about sodium, potassium, calcium and chloride ions and action potentials? Well, it is important after all.

I Want My Free Wi-Fi

I am sitting in a Panera Bread Company typing this, using their free Wi-Fi. There are some 25 people in here working on their laptops, tablets and texting or talking on cell phones. We are surrounded, even drowning in EMF. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, high voltage towers, cell towers, self-parking cars, automatic light switches and automatic toilet flushers. The new iPhone requires that we put wireless EMF receivers in our ears. What’s between your ears? You know, your brain, that very important organ that runs on EMF and properly functioning action potentials.

Ya Seen That Commercial?

There are commercials airing on most stations advertising radio frequency (RF) blocking wallets. These wallets are lined with an RF blocking product that keeps a crook from using an electromagnetic device to read your credit card information. It’s ironic that someone may find benefit in protecting their finances from intrusive EMF, but do little or nothing to limit their exposure to potentially harmful waves. So, if you are of a conspiratorial mind or are concerned whether your constant bombardment with invisible electronic waves poses a health risk, do your own research. Check out or for additional information.

Healthy Cell Phones

The kids who save the world in The Mercury Vapor Lamp Experience used simple EMF blocking technology and products that are affordable, available and easy to implement to limit their exposure to EMF. You may not save the world, but you may stay healthier, longer.

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California Vice (Land)



California Vice (Land)

The wife and I recently spent some time in California. Having been to LA and San Diego any number of times, this trip took us to northern Cali. I had not been in northern CA since the early 70s when a friend and I hitchhiked up and down the coast highway, camped in Big Sur and spent some time in the Haight-Ashbury District of San Francisco. It was just a few years after Woodstock, and there were hippies in tie-die clothes carrying Peace signs driving around in multi-color VW. Jerry was still alive. The vibe was warm and fuzzy, filled with love, flowers and plenty of that sweet smell of weed.

We stopped off in the Haight last month. There were a few folks clad in tie-die, that didn’t look that much different than their 70s counterparts. But there were more dark clothed, leather clad, pierced and tattooed kids walking the streets. Some were panhandling on corners, some sleeping in vacant storefront entrances. Walking by these kids, listening in on some of the talk while in a cafe, I didn’t sense the happiness and love that was prevalent during my first visit. There was no one handing out flowers or flashing the peace sign.

We were in a shop and saw a display of standard red and blue bandanas. Mine was getting kind of ratty, so I pulled one off the shelf. The tag said, “Vintage Bandana,” $18.00. EIGHTEEN DOLLARS! You can buy the same square, cloth bandana at any truck stop for $2.00. Capitalism and retail marketing to tourists is fully operational in the Haight. The vibe was definitely different than back in the day. Maybe it was because the weather was a bit damp and cool, or I am old and curmudgeonly. Probably a combination of two.

We travelled through NAPA wine country for some tasting. I guess my old and curmudgeonly persona was fully operational. It was like stepping into a scene at the Bushwood Country club in Caddyshack. Each place was full of couples in their 50s or so. The men wore deck shoes, crisp, pleated shorts and Lacoste Polo shirts. Their wives or girlfriends were all in sleeveless sun dresses, very tan and looked artificially younger than their partner.

The wines ranged from $60-$300 and up per bottle. Some of the wines were described with such obtuse language as, ‘a muscular note of seasoned berry’, ‘a warm bonfire aroma’, ‘the scent of a blueberry cigar box’ or the ‘leathery notes of a saddle.’ Do you really want to drink something that smells like a saddle or cigar box? Clearly, I am no sommelier. In fact, I didn’t even know what a friggin’ sommelier was. In any event, it all seemed pretentious to a “Two-Buck Chuck” aficionado like me. At least we got a buzz from the wine tasting.

We had a better ‘Fruit of the Vine’ experience in Murphy’s, California. It’s a quaint, small tourist town that reminded me of St. Charles or Hermann, Mo. There were a number of winery tasting shops, small stores and restaurants. The people were authentic and the wine and cheese prices were reasonable. We got another buzz and enjoyed the atmosphere, a win-win.

From Napa wine country to California Weed country…California Vice (Land) continues on my next blog.




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Black Coffee, White Flight

Black Coffee…White Flight


Howard Levinson

February 11, 2015

I do a lot of writing at coffee shops; Panera, Starbucks, Picassos, Kaldis to name just a few. There’s Wi-Fi, caffeine, food and interesting people to watch and eavesdrop. You’d be surprised how many writers pick up quirky traits and mannerisms for characters that eventually end up in their books, from just this type of activity. I’ve done coffee shop writing written in just about every major city in the US. At a coffee shop in Atlanta, NY, Chicago, LA or Dallas, you will see nearly every type of human meandering in and out, a veritable Star Wars Cantina of diversity.

Recently, I found myself at coffee shop in the St. Charles County area. I was immediately struck by the lack of diversity of the patrons. These folks were ripped from the pages of a Bass Pro or Banana Republic catalog. I figured any minute, Mitt Romney would stroll in. I am sure there must be some flavor of customer other than vanilla at this place on some days. But on the day I was there, only soccer moms, dads and their 2.5 children, a few Bo and Luke Dukes, and a gaggle of women who would best be described as well past Cougar.

St. Charles County was one of the fastest growing counties in the US for several years running. I believe that part of that growth was due to the white flight from St. Louis City and North St. Louis County.  According to the “U.S. Census Bureau Quick Facts,” St. Louis County’s mix is about 70% white, 24% black. St. Charles County is 91% white and 5% black.

Why the flight of the whites? Well…if your neighborhood succumbed to an increase in graffiti, gangs, government housing, an influx of large numbers of disenfranchised folks from lower socio-economic groups (aka minorities), a decline in the quality of the school district, an increase in crime and lowered property values, what would make you stay put?

I think this demographic shift describes St. Louis City and municipalities like Wellston in the 1950s and 60s, University City in the 1960s and 70s, and the subsequent white flight of North St. Louis County in the 80s. I’m not bashing St. Charles County or the white-flighters. St. Charles is clean, fresh, new and safe with good schools, roads and neighborhoods. Subdivisions where people know each other and look out for each other. It’s a great place to raise a family. It’s a lot like St. Louis City, Wellston, University City, Ferguson and Florissant were at one time.

The problems that boiled up in Ferguson and elsewhere in our area were inevitable as the distance between us grew. Maybe we can somehow close the gap, but as the riots, demonstrations and civil unrest continue, I don’t see anyone coming up with answers.

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Good People of Color and Good White People – Beware

Good People of Color and Good White People – Beware


The release of the DOJ Report on Ferguson, which can be found at – looks for the Ferguson PDF document, indicating evidence of inappropriate practices regarding traffic stops, traffic courts and in emails comes as no surprise. In fact, the cultural biases in law enforcement is one of the themes influencing the behavior of some of the cops who play a central role in my book, “THE TAPPING. Art imitating life.


There are pinheaded bigots in all professions. There are racist lawyers, doctors and school teachers. Those with cultural bigotry should be taken to task. Police work is no different. There have been more than just a few times in a squad meeting or roll call at the PD where one of my fellow officers, white, black or blue, would make a rude and offensive comment such as;

  • “I jewed the dealer down on the price.”
  • “That towelhead’s place always smells like spices.”
  • “I don’t know why she stays with that coal hauler.”
  • “All those beaner landscapers are probably illegal.”
  • “You deck shoe wearing crackers are all crazy.”
  • “That was one flaming faggot.”


We, of sound mind and of minority culture, would typically tell the loudmouth to “Shut the F##* up!” And that would generally be the end of it. One could complain to the Chief, or go to the ACLU. However, these same knucklehead cops are your back-up, who you rely on to save your ass. Or they may be the first on the scene and save the life of that Jew, Arab, Black, Hispanic or Gay that they just verbally bashed. Discriminatory attitudes and moronic language does not necessarily make a poorly functioning officer.


However, the Ferguson DOJ report cited examples of rather egregious police officer behavior that seems to challenge that assumption. If the DOJ report is accurate, I have to wonder whether there are hundreds of Ferguson civil rights violation lawsuits and criminal cases working their way through the federal court system.  After all, it’s a government report led by an Attorney General who has his own biases.


Cultural insensitivity is not the only driver of the skewed number of traffic stops or court issues in black communities. The residents in those communities often lack a family network of support, resources, employment skill sets and the money to be able to keep their vehicles legal with proper inspections, license plates and insurance. And those with little family, limited resources, few employment skill sets and scant money often have their own skewed beliefs and biases.

They may be more inclined to engage in activities society views as unacceptable such as speeding, strong arm robberies, failure to obey police officers, burning down gas stations and looting tire stores and hair salons. Little was said in the DOJ report about whether the actions of some of the people who live, work or travel through the Ferguson area share any responsibility for the issues under scrutiny.


As the focus on police bias continues, we will see some changes.  I expect the police will be much more hesitant to engage in proactive crime intervention activities. Police will become more like fireman and wait until something bad happens to respond. The group of youths walking through your neighborhood at 2am will probably proceed unchallenged, whether their intent is honorable or not.  Traffic courts will come up with new avenues to assess fines and punishment.

I expect there will be less enforcement of traffic violations committed by minority drivers. That may result in more un-inspected, unregistered and uninsured vehicles on the road. The roads in those neighborhoods will probably become less safe. And to seem more fair, I expect the enforcement of traffic violations committed by white, non-minority drivers in the Ferguson area will increase. Good people of color or not, beware.

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Ferguson Protesters – Count Your Blessings and Look In The Mirror

Ferguson Protesters – Count Your Blessings and Look In The Mirror


March 18, 2015


  1. First Black President in the history of the US
  2. First Black Attorney General in the history of the US
  3. Many Black national and local political representatives
  4. Many ‘legitimate’ Black Pastors supporting you
  5. A thorough investigation of the Michael Brown shooting by the Black Attorney General
  6. A thorough review by a Democratic St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
  7. The resignation of the Ferguson Police Chief
  8. A scathing review and overhaul of the Ferguson Police and court system


  1. Majority of single parent or no parent families.  How can a child learn personal responsibility from a parent who is irresponsible or absent? How can a male child learn to be a responsible man if he has no responsible men in his life?
  2. The “Entitlement” mentality.  If you are a second or even the third generation in your family who is dependent on the government to survive……Read my section above titled “YOUR BLESSINGS.” Many people of color are successful and escape their hard times. You cannot improve your lot in life without taking responsibility for yourself. Unless you are physically or mentally disabled, strive to get off the government dime and be responsible for yourself.
  3. Failed school districts.  Obviously, the current system in which school district after school district in North County loses their certification is not working. Children don’t have a chance without a quality education.
  4. Self-inflicted racial genocide.  Black young men are killing each other every day. You cannot blame the police or racism for the alarming rate at which black on black violence visits your streets.
  5. Community involvement.  A big deal was made because there were no blacks on the Ferguson City Council. The Democratic process urges participation. All you have to do is, just do it.

Protesting, by holding a sign evoking inaccurate platitudes such as “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and screaming obscenities and threats at the police does not help.

Look in the mirror protesters. Part of the problem may very well be looking back at you.