What Ferguson Taught Us: Captain Ron JohnsonBlog / Produced by The High Calling
On our first night in Ferguson, we talked with Captain Ronald Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Captain Johnson was appointed by the governor to coordinate security in Ferguson, after the death of Mike Brown.
We asked Captain Johnson about the work and calling of law enforcement officers, particulary for such a time as this. Here's what he had to say:
"Since Thursday, when the governor came (and assigned this task) … this uniform has taken on a whole different meaning. Every day I get up and put it on with pride. I do.
"Since Thursday it’s kind of been like a coat. It’s like it’s been over my whole body. It’s kind of like in winter time and you put that coat on, and you have that sense of protection, that warmth. And it’s giving me that feeling. I know that some of that is the people who are here.
"For years, when I’ve put this uniform on, I don’t know what I’m going to face in my day. But when I’ve put it on since Thursday, I know I’m going to face a better tomorrow. Every day since Thursday has been better. We don’t always get to see that in our lives—a better tomorrow—back to back to back to back. And I’m at a point now where I just don’t want it to end. I want it [that sense of constant improvement] to keep going, keep going, keep going.
"But I was telling somebody, you know, sometimes when we really call on God, when we are backed in that corner, it makes us say we’re sorry for those good times when we didn’t say ‘thank you.’ We’ve had some good times in Ferguson. And I’ve had some good times in this community. We took it for granted. But I think after this, nobody in Ferguson will take some things for granted. I see how a lot of people in Ferguson—and across this country—won’t take things for granted.
"A couple days ago the clergy came out. There were a lot of them. A lot of people made a difference —the elders and everything else—but to see just a group of clergy walk and take control, shows us that the road to make this better is built on faith. We all have different faiths and different beliefs, but whatever you believe in in your life that can make things better, whether that’s a god, whether that’s a rabbit’s foot in your pocket, whatever it is, you have to believe it. That there’s something that can make things better."
Deidra Riggs, managing editor for the High Calling, was among a group of five writers who traveled to Ferguson last weekend to listen to the stories of people who live and work in the community. Read more about that trip on Deidra's blog, or at community editor Jennifer Lee’s blog. Other writers on the trip were Preston Yancey, Lisha Epperson and Nish Weiseth.
What Ferguson Taught Us About Hope
Last weekend, The High Calling and several others visited Ferguson, Missouri, to listen. We heard stories from pastors, police, and members of the community. All week, we are sharing what we learned from this experience in a bonus theme What Ferguson Taught Us, chronicling everything from our time with Capt. Ronald Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol to our time with people on the street.
" … hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:5