A 16-Year-Old Kid In Ferguson Says More With A Marker And A Piece Of Paper Than All The Media Did

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Most of the press coverage of the protesting after the shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson has centered around his character, personal issues, and a small number of looters rather than asking why people are mad. Much of the media is playing up the looting and rioting, ignoring the vast majority of protesters who are peaceful and standing up for their rights. Almost none of them are asking the question "Why are people reacting like this?" If you want to get to the heart of why people are so frustrated and enraged, look no further than 16-year-old Shane Flowers, who expresses at 1:47 much of what people are struggling with. At 3:27, he writes down the question many in the community might be asking.

People need to know that Ferguson is about much more than just the horrific shooting of one teen. If you wanted to help people learn why the protests are happening, you could share this.

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This is what we're doing out here, man. It's crazy out here though. Man, he shouldn't have... He didn't deserve to die. I mean, he didn't deserve that many shots though. Like, you can shoot somebody in their leg to stop them from running. You can shoot somebody in their leg to stop them from running, but you ain't got to shoot them down, bro. Why do you got to shoot them in the head? He didn't even have no gun on him. It's crazy.

I feel like they should keep protesting till it's over with.

And if we don't get justice, then that's just what's going to happen, man. We're going to be out here every day until something happens. Come on now, let's keep walking. I saw Trayvon Martin, I saw George Zimmerman get away with it. Now, it's another case. Now, if this police get away with it. Now, I'm telling you all, man. This ain't Florida. This is St. Louis, Missouri. Come on, brother. Quit talking about my R, bro. He was so young, man. He was feeling to go to college. Like, dead like... What if that was me, man? Like, I'm 14. I'm just not going to school and stuff. Like, what if that was me, feeling to go to college? And then the only person in my family and then I die right before the day school starts.

So, what's that all about? What's that?

He was 18. He was too young to die.

What is that though?

I don't know what that is. That's them. I wrote this.

Let me ask you something. If you don't make a point, then why do it?

They put this on. I'm trying to scrape it off so I can write on it.

But see, that's what I'm saying. Why put it on there, when you can go get a piece of paper and put it on there? Mike might have made a statement in time now. Know what I'm saying? We have to keep his memory alive by not defacing property. And this is what they want y'all to do. This is defacing property. Look at this. This doesn't even say nothing no more. No one can really see it. When the rain comes, it could be washed away. But this right here, will never be washed away. All these people out here, will never be washed away. I bet if you get out there in the middle of the street, they're going to see you because of your age. It's just like fighting with your mind. Fight with a pen or a paper or a marker. Know what I'm saying? Make it bigger in every way, so they can see it.

All right.

Don't shoot. Hands up. Don't shoot. Hands up. Don't shoot. Hands up.

All for a murder, bro. This is how we all have to unite, bro. All of us African Americans, this is what we all go through to unite. This is what it leads us to, man. Everybody holding hands. Everybody showing love. Everybody standing here to support. That's the point of what's going right now, man.

This is what we have to do to get respect.

And what's so crazy about it, nobody hears us until we do shit, until we do stuff like this. Like, from the riot, everybody breaking stuff. Nobody was tripping over that until everybody started breaking into stuff. It was all on BET, CNN. They weren't worrying about the Michael Brown death. You got bigger and other things to worry about than people breaking into these stores. I understand what they did was wrong, but you have to realize. If the law was going to sit there and shoot this man like that, we wouldn't go through none of this. The stores wouldn't get broken into. Foot Locker wouldn't get broken into. This wouldn't get burned down if it weren't for them.

Hands up for Mike Brown!

There may be small errors in this transcript.

"Am I Next" by Transient Pictures (who I'd like on Facebook) and Weissman Studio for Time, who you should check out for more coverage of Ferguson. A couple of extra shoutouts to the people who made this beautiful short film (and our posting of it) possible:

— Video production by Nicholas Weissman and Jeremy Levine

— Production assistance by Jordan Jones

— Featuring the work of Jeff Truesdell


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