The Day of New London (Conn.), Nov. 26

The rioting that took place following a grand jury’s decision not to indict a white Ferguson, Missouri, police officer for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen was understandable, but inexcusable.

It was understandable because the black neighborhood in this St. Louis suburb is filled with idle young men who view the overwhelmingly white police force as if it were an occupying army. The grand jury’s decision to exonerate Officer Darren Wilson for gunning down one of their own in the street Aug. 9 affirmed their sense of powerlessness and their conclusion that cops are above the law.

They lashed out violently, angrily, horribly and, ultimately, foolishly, destroying small businesses in their own neighborhood, many owned and staffed by people of color who did nothing to anyone. Hoodlums and agitators, taking advantage, looted and incited the anarchy.

The rioting was inexcusable because this is a nation of laws. Agree or disagree with the failure to indict, there was a judicial process. A 12-person jury looked at a lot of evidence before concluding that it did not have the grounds to indict Officer Wilson for either murder or manslaughter, persuaded that he was acting to protect his safety when he shot 18-year-old Michael Brown multiple times.

Evidence viewed by the grand jury presented a much different version of events than the information that circulated soon after the shooting. This was not a teenager out for a stroll when a chance confrontation with a police officer left him dead.

Instead, when Officer Wilson confronted Brown and the friend he was with, he realized the pair might be those being sought for strong-arming some cigarillos from a convenience store minutes earlier. They were. Physical and eyewitness evidence showed Brown struggled with the officer, leaning into the patrol car window. The officer fired two shots, one grazing Brown’s hand.

Brown, a large young man, started to run away, with Officer Wilson pursuing on foot and ordering him to stop. The teen did stop and turn. There appeared no credible evidence that Brown raised his hands in surrender, an act repeated at many subsequent protests. Instead, there was testimony he moved toward the officer, though eyewitnesses varied greatly on how threatening were his movements, ranging from a stumble to a charge.

Did Officer Wilson have to stand his ground and fire when there was an option to fall back, the suspect having displayed no weapon and backup was on the way? An argument could be made that the fatal shots were a criminal use of excessive force, but the grand jury did not see it that way.

There are many lessons to learn from this tragic series of events.

Policing an urban community with a force that bears no racial resemblance to the people that the officers are sworn to serve and protect invites distrust and misunderstanding.

Racial profiling remains a problem in many places and it must be dealt with, not dismissed.

High unemployment in many black, urban neighborhoods leaves young men idle, never a good thing, creating pent up frustration that awaits an incident to release it. Fix that problem and you fix a lot.

The lack of strong community institutions, which appeared to be the case in the African-American community in Ferguson, is sorely missed in such stressful situations. Better local leadership could have given some structure to the protests and clarified demands beyond punishing the officer, such as steps to improve police-community relations and better use of technology to record police behavior.

The decision by authorities to release the grand jury’s decision during the dark of night, when tensions were high from a day of anxious awaiting, was stunningly wrong. A morning release would have allowed easier pre-positioning of police and time for efforts to diffuse the emotions. But from the state level on down, this situation in Missouri has not been handled deftly from the start.

If lessons are not learned, there will be more Fergusons and more nights like Nov. 24.

The Boston Herald, Nov. 28

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has really gone and done it this time!

He may try to substitute that yogurt drink for hardier adult beverages and no one takes that particularly seriously. Or he claims Islamic explorers discovered America long before Columbus. Whatever!

The often-controversial Erdogan ”“ once pro-Western, now heading down a more Islamist path ”“ this week took on a new enemy.

“You cannot put women and men on an equal footing,” Erdogan said. “It is against nature. They were created differently. Their nature is different. Their constitution is different.”

He added: “Motherhood is the highest position … You cannot explain this to feminists. They don’t accept motherhood. They have no such concern.”

It’s not just that the head of this NATO ally country has offended about half the population ”“ his own and others around the world ”“ it’s that he may well have violated his own nation’s constitution. That’s what women’s rights advocate and lawyer Hulya Gulbahar told The Associated Press. Turkey’s constitution and its body of laws are quite specific in guaranteeing gender equality.

“Such comments aim to make women’s presence in public life ”“ from politics to arts, from science to sports ”“ debatable,” Gulbahar said.

The president’s rantings notwithstanding, women have played an important role in their nation and are deeply involved in its banking industry, its legal community (including an often-embattled judiciary) and in the arts. We share Gulbahar’s concerns about the long-term impact of such comments and Erdogan’s motives.

And in the short term, Erdogan is surely managing to make himself an international laughingstock.