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December 08, 2014



As I began reading this I had the thought that most "innocent victims" end up being pretty little white girls. It is overplayed in the media when a well-off, white child is accidentally shot in her home but does it even get a mention when a similar tragedy occurs to a child of color? Or is it seen as, "What would you expect?"

a concerned citizen

My problem with the information we get from most media sources is that sensationalism sells, and most media outlets are businesses that are selling something. Journalism used to be about getting the facts by doing footwork, talking to people, and researching before presenting information. Now, with everything so immediate on the internet and mobile devices, the general public is too impatient to wait for the necessary gathering of information so that the information presented can be as accurate and unbiased as possible. All media sources (left/right/flying purple people eaters) are guilty of this, and we, as consumers, crave it. We want to know, and we want to know NOW. None of this waiting until facts and evidence can be collected, compared, and evaluated. Tell me what you know NOW, which usually ends up being what you think you know and not what you actually know. I can't see how any high-profile case could possibly seat an unbiased jury in any jurisdiction with today's culture of immediate information.

In the Ferguson case, the grand jury viewed evidence and information that hadn't been released to the public before so as to not taint the court proceedings. Michael Brown's autopsy was released today, and it corroborates the police officers version of the incident. But all of this doesn't matter now. What matters is that emotions have been so stirred up with immediate responses to the shooting that no one on either side will concede and allow healing to happen.

I don't know all of the facts in any of the cases Shannon mentions in her post. I don't know if anyone does. It is always sad when someone's life is taken at what seems to us too young an age or in a violent way. But it is also sad when we allow our emotions to ascribe guilt and punishment to the person or persons still standing before as much as can be known is known. It weakens our societies and cultures when we do that. It makes our children afraid of authority figures who may stop events so that they do not become the next victim. It makes us separate ourselves into Me vs. You groups that will only cause more misunderstandings and heat-of-the-moment actions that may lead to more violence. And then consumers of immediate information will glut themselves on the images and headlines so that the cycle continues.

At some point, someone has to say enough is enough. It stops here. No more blame throwing. No more victimization. It hurts my heart to think what might have been if Martin Luther King hasn't been killed. What if others like him could get media time and attention without it costing them their reputations or lives? Is there anyway to save this country and the almost-perfect ideals behind its imperfect founding?

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