Should You Stir the Pot Just to Get Blog Hits?

(Blogger‘s Note: This post was inspired from several comments on a recent post at this site, particularly a comment from fellow WordPress blogger Rich Brown. Due credit also goes to an inspirational post from Copyblogger.)

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stirring the pot stevenwwatkins

Should you stir the pot, just to get blog hits?

The short answer to this question is no.

The longer answer requires a few more keyboard strokes.

THE BACKGROUND

Two days ago, I wrote an objective, news-type post about a visit Jesse Jackson made to my hometown in Jonesboro, AR. Jackson was here to lead a prayer vigil and peaceful march to bring attention to the circumstances of the death of Chavis Carter, who on July 28, committed suicide by gunshot wound in the back of a police car.

Questions regarding how such circumstances could transpire have permeated the local community and added fuel to a growing racial divide.

I wrote this post about Jackson’s visit, and the post itself became nearly as controversial as the original circumstances that prompted it.

The post generated a number of comments, one of which challenged my right to “spread the mess” of the timely and newsworthy topic. And so I responded to the reader’s comment here.

Via social media, I’d been publicly accused of “spreading a mess,” and encouraged to “hush up.”

EVEN JUSTIN WILSON “STIRS UP” DIRTY RICE

I’ve written a number of posts that some might consider Christian genre. I’ve talked about forgiveness, compassion, etc., etc., but…

There are at least four things I will not tolerate:

1. Don’t mess with my wife.

2. Don’t harm a hair on my children’s head.

3. Don’t even think about limiting anyone’s freedom of expression.

4. Don’t hide behind your racial prejudice.

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MY OPINION

Journalists have been “stirring the pot” since the time Galileo declared the world wasn’t flat.

We live in a great country that happens to be in a horrible mess. Never before have we been so divided along the lines of race, religion, life and opportunity. So much of it is, I believe, because we just don’t talk about it and reach across the lines of our discomfort.

So, back to the message. Is it okay to stir the pot just to get attention? No, not for that reason.

It’s okay to stir the pot when you passionately believe in a cause and wish to exercise your God-given right (moreover, your obligation) to take a stand, fulfill your purpose, and make a difference.

A wise man once told me that life’s not wrapped up in a pretty little package. We should be most concerned, he said, when we rest in the comfort and belief that we have things all figured out.

If you passionately believe in a cause, and genuinely want to make a difference, you’re not stirring any pots. You’re pursuing your destiny.

I HOPE THIS IS YOUR TAKEAWAY

The rights we all share to agree to disagree are a magnificent thing. We should never allow our uncomfortable disagreements to bring us to the point where we stop talking altogether.

If you’re standing and writing for the things in which you passionately believe, you’re not stirring any pots.

And we all benefit from the pursuit your higher calling.

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Related articles:

Jesse Jackson: Jonesboro Man’s Death Shrouded in Mystery

Chavis Carter death

Rev. Jesse Jackson prepares to lead a peaceful march on the Jonesboro Police Department. At Jackson’s left is the mother of Chavis Carter. – Aug. 22, 2012.

Story and Photos by Steve Watkins

JONESBORO, ARRev. Jesse Jackson led a prayer vigil and peaceful march to the Jonesboro Police Department on Wednesday, calling on authorities to make account for a missing segment of video that would explain how a man died in the back of a police car.

jesse jackson and chavis carter

Chavis Carter

It’s a case “shrouded in mystery,” Jackson said, with “many unanswered questions to be pursued.”

Jackson attended a series of meetings in Jonesboro and Memphis on Wednesday following the death of Chavis Carter, arrested by authorities on the night of July 28. Carter was handcuffed, placed in the backseat of a patrol car, and minutes later was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

Police have released video of the event, absent a three-minute segment that includes

chavis carter memorial

A simple memorial placed at the scene of Chavis Carter’s death.

the moment of Carter’s death. An autopsy performed by the Arkansas State Crime Lab ruled the death a suicide, but Jackson and others question the ASCL’s ruling and the lack of details released in the case.

“The authorities are giving what amounts to a Houdini explanation for how a handcuffed man, left-handed, could shoot himself in the right side of his head,” Jackson said. “This smells like a cover-up and the stench is growing.”

Jackson said Carter’s family asked him to contact the U.S. Justice Department calling for an independent investigation of the case. Earlier in the day, he met with Carter’s mother at The Cochran Firm in Memphis.

The crime lab report showed Carter’s blood contained trace amounts of methamphetamine, marijuana and anti-anxiety medications at the time of his arrest.

Two arresting officers searched Carter twice, who was wearing only boxer shorts and a t-shirt before placing him under arrest. Jackson and others now question how police missed Carter’s alleged possession of a handgun.

The Carter case has prompted a number of accusations against the Jonesboro Police

jonesboro chief of police mike yates

Jonesboro, Arkansas Chief of Police Mike Yates

Department with allegations of racial profiling and claims that officers target minorities in low-income neighborhoods.

chavis carter and jesse jackson

Rev. Jesse Jackson organizes a peaceful march calling for the release of more details in the death of Chavis Carter in Jonesboro, AR on July 28.

Some have called for the resignation of police chief Mike Yates, further claiming he left his previous position in Americus, Georgia under questionable terms. Claimants have produced no such evidence against Yates.

One JPD officer speaking on condition of anonymity said further details will be released soon, making it clear Carter’s death was indeed a suicide. He said arresting officers in their search, did, in fact, miss a .380 caliber handgun in Carter’s possession.

“It’s a horrible, horrible thing any time when something like this happens,” he said. “But accidents do happen. I searched a man twice in one case and missed an eight-inch knife on him. It’s just a miracle he didn’t use the gun to fire on the officers.”

The officer said he believed Jackson’s visit complicated the divide between African-Americans and the JPD.

“He’s supposed to be an educated man, and everyone would be a lot better off if he waited to get the facts before passing judgment in a case like this. It’ll be clear soon how all this came about.”

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An Interview with Rev. Jesse Jackson

Chavis Carter death Jonesboro, AR

Rev. Jesse Jackson in Jonesboro, AR just after a prayer vigil, and preparing to lead a downtown March as questions surround the death of Chavis Carter in the back of a local police car. Officials have ruled the death a suicide, but questions remain.

Tomorrow on this site:

An interview with Rev. Jesse Jackson on the death of Chavis Carter in Jonesboro, AR.