Saturday, August 16, 2014
If you're like me, you don't really live close enough to be *directly* impacted by Ferguson except for what you see on TV, and you may be trying to figure out how the situation impacts you.
This isn't meant to be a criticism nor an endorsement of what's going on in Ferguson, but I did a simple calculation to get some perspective for myself:
Let's assume there are about 2 million people in the St. Louis metro on the Missouri side (Wikipedia says 2.9 million on both sides of the river).
Ferguson has about 21,000 residents.
For the sake of argument, let's say that in the immediate area around Ferguson there are 100,000 people who live, work, shop, or otherwise are *directly* impacted/involved in the municipality and thus what is going on up there right now.
When I say "direct" I'm referring to the "boots on the ground", you-couldn't-get-home-from-work-because-the-street-was-blocked-off-by-a-protest, -type impact.
This is also not to say that the violence couldn't spread to other areas of the metro, or that the police presence up there is taking police away from other areas. I'm not talking about that right now.
What this means that roughly 5% -- or less -- of the metro area is directly impacted.
True, some of the ancillary issues now part of the societal discourse as a result of the crisis -- such as militarization of police, freedom of the press, and "race relations" -- impact us all in less-than-than-direct ways. And we ought to embrace some of those discussions.
However, it just seems to me like a lot of ruckus and coverage is being devoted to this. Yes, tragically, sadly, a young man lost his life. Let's not lose sight of that. We also know he may have also been part of a robbery minutes before. Then some people unjustifiably went crazy because a police officer, and then whole department, probably overreacted.
All this being said, I don't think we'd be having this conversation if this same shooting was done by anyone other than a police officer.
And to prove my point, do you know the name Antonio Johnson? I doubt it. So, go google "antonio johnson st. louis 11 year old" and then explain to me - without bringing race into the picture - why that barely got a peep. Because in my way of thinking, oh I don't know, maybe we ought to value ALL human life, not just the lives that are politically expedient.
Author's note: this was originally a personal facebook post. Because of it's length I also posted it here.