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Detroit Raw by Sam Riddle

St. Louis or South Haven?

A.03.NEWRAWPHOTO.Sam and the grands

Sam with the grands in South Haven, Mich., Aug. 19. RIDDLE FAMILY PHOTO

Special to the Michigan Citizen 

The Michigan National Action Network was loading up a car caravan to Ferguson, Mo., to protest acts of police terrorism in the aftermath of Michael Browns brutal murder.

I, on a very personal note, had a decision to make: Would I join my courageous NAN members who were prepared to face tear gas, rubber bullets, jail or worse? 

For over 45 years, the decision would have been an easy one. I would buckle up, tell war stories about back in the day,drive a bit, sleep a lot and wake up in St. Louis.

Last year, I had driven the nearly three hours to South Haven, Mich., joining grandchildren in a small cabin set on an ideal spot just a short walk to the beach or across the street — for some great fishing with the grands.

I made a promise I would meet this highly spirited group of four grandchildren (two girls and two boys 7-11 years old) the next year for a few days of South Haven again. Next year can roll around quickly.

The very day NAN was slated to head for the show mestate was the same day I had committed to arrive in South Haven.

St. Louis or South Haven?

Kids are kids. Surely theyd get over me not showing up.  I could make it up to them later. Problem was that I wouldnt get over it.

After you have been on the planet 67 years plus 11 months, you figure out a few things. Tomorrow may never arrive. Tragically there will be plenty of other trips to make for the cause because white privilege has a way of whacking us at will year in and year out. Only the names of the victims and travel times change.

Grandchildren must be a non-negotiable priority because their very lives are at risk given the behavior pattern of terrorists with badges and guns. We must share while we can. We dont need a fortune to offer ourselves as human life preservers for the children.

Sam's granddaughter Mariah in South Haven. RIDDLE FAMILY PHOTO

Sam’s granddaughter Mariah in South Haven. RIDDLE FAMILY PHOTO

We must teach our children that victimhood is not a destination.

It is not cool to end up with your face on the cottage industry R.I.P. T-shirt even if it is airbrushed. Your killer may be convicted and jailed, but you are quite dead. Life is a precious gift from God. God is love.

Know that your behavior and mouth can get you killed That does not mean you walk in fear — just understand the importance of walking with love for self and respect for all in your heart and appropriate behavior will tag along. Until you are ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder, Grandpa will continue to confront and resist those who would kill you with military grade weaponry in the name of law and order.

We must never let haters cause us to lose hope or dislike ourselves and never let haters make you weak in your faith. Keep the faith. Stay on the battlefield.

Sam Riddle is the political director for the Michigan National Action Network. Follow him on Facebook at or Twitter at

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