Questions or comments? Contact Britt Chester at

How tryptophan steals the show on Thanksgiving is beyond me, but it does speak wonders to the population’s ability to blow something completely normal out of proportion in order to misplace blame.

You’d have to be delusional to think that the events in Ferguson, Missouri won’t send ripples into every social lake, stream and puddle town in America. When St. Louis County prosecutor Robert Mc- Culloch revealed that Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man, would not face charges for his actions, it was one of those moments that some – this era of viral videos and buzz words – may look back on and say, “I remember streaming the live-feed on my phone when that happened.”

To voice my opinion about whether or not I think Darren Wilson is guilty or innocent is irrelevant. I wasn’t on the jury that saw all the evidence and listened to all the witness’ statements. I’m not fully educated on the law as it pertains to police officers and what they are supposed to do in a time of crisis, especially in Missouri. I didn’t read every shred of provided evidence to defend or reject the credibility of the police officer or the police department’s decision to support him.

Most of what I know about the events that took place I learned from the Internet, and that’s not really a reliable source, these days. Social media has become this place where anything can happen – The New York Times just submitted a retraction on behalf of one of its columnist who quoted a satirical website stating Mr. West compared his rump to that of his wife – and everything is taken as the grain of salt that soured the meal. Facebook “Likes” are translated as validity, and Twitter “retweets” are translated as credibility. That’s scary, considering Facebook status updates are the modern day equivalent to passing notes in grade school, except we are passing those notes to everyone in our classroom.

If one person creates a hash tag memorializing someone’s death, whether or not it is confirmed, there’s a good chance it will get blindly shared…because that’s the world we live in, now.

Instead of the public doing its due diligence to reinforce news outlet’s efforts to provide compelling news, the public – you and I included – are just giving in to whatever we are fed, which results in false information.

To get back to tryptophan – it doesn’t put you to sleep anymore than the double cheeseburger from Dirty Ron’s (Mc- Donald’s) will after consuming. Turkey contains the same amount of tryptophan, perhaps a little more or a dash less, than most other meats. It’s the carbohydrates consumed that trigger insulin (see, I’m even just regurgitating what I just read on the internet) and blah blah serotonin blah blah pineal gland blah blah melatonin, and wham! you’re hit with postprandial somnolence, which is the fancy word for food coma.

We tread dangerous waters when we don’t research our news sources. I made an error in publishing an incorrect statement in last week’s cover story that required a retraction – something made apparent to me by a reader of YES! Weekly. I hate myself for making that mistake, but I am grateful that readers feel the conversation is open for them to contribute.

For the events in Ferguson, you’ll want to research as much as you can before you place blame on the right or wrong person. The fact presented is simple: A police officer shot an unarmed black man. That happened. It’s been the golden egg of click-bait for Internet headlines for three months, but it’s also shed light on the justice system and plight of black men and women in this country who still suffer discrimination at the hands of what some refer to as a rigged system.

Again, I’m not saying Darren Wilson is guilty or innocent. The court of public opinion has already determined guilt, but the jury of peers found no need for indictment. This is law versus emotion, and sadly, emotions are culpable for this situation not being handled better.

The fall out from this, though, is the tryptophan. The burning, looting, robbing, and riots happening are what we choose to focus on because that’s what the media is serving to us. The Vices, Huffington Posts, and Buzzfeed-like sites of the Internet will compile inflammatory images of police, rioters and the public – all of which are real photos, but likely taken entirely out of context – to show you what is really happening in Ferguson, Missouri. Don’t eat it up. If you want to sound intelligent, do your research on the topic – the evidence, the law – and come to a conclusion based on your understanding.

Let’s just skip to the meal here and say that sadness and mourning are occurring. There is a community of people who are not happy, which speaks louder to the overall justice system, and not one, singular situation.

Whether or not those unhappy voices will be heard is completely dependent upon the deafness of the ears those voices are falling upon.

If Ferguson, Missouri is the turkey, and riots and protests are the tryptophan, then it’s obvious that we don’t understand what we are consuming. We aren’t taking into account the other items on the table – the justice system, the jury, the officers, Mike Brown’s family, and seeing that all of these things are at fault for our misunderstanding of the result.

How often does this happen to me?

I’ve never been shot by a police officer before, but I know that when I choose to focus on singular factors as prioritized by me according to relevance and credibility in a long equation, the answer is always wrong. Then again, I’ll eat the entire bowl of mashed potatoes before I even touch the turkey, and then blame my drowsiness on the final bite. !