The events Friday and Saturday are tragic events, but the lingering tragedy is in the fuel that burns the false impressions into the minds of ignorant people from the media coverage of these events. No, there's nothing false about the news, but it's the intensity given the story. The articles are going out of their way to give the truth about crime rates and the exceptions that these incidents represent, but people like Joe Deters are using it and will use it to build fear. All they need are the images and the words describing what happened. The headlines and the pictures are what linger in the minds of the average Joe-Q-Public. When there are three or four different headlines about the same story, an extra importance is perceived.
This results in the false perception of the city and of Downtown. It strengthens the bigotry of some and it puts doubt in the fickled ignorant, who consume news as if they are window shopping for shoes. This is a cultural state that is plaguing the public and I don't know any type of solution, short of driving around every cul-de-sac and neighborhood in the tri-state area, shouting slogans on a megaphone. That still wouldn't get the truth into minds who don't want to know anything that isn't easy and familiar.
What I am bracing myself for is the political onslaught of fear mongering. There was some from Deters in the article above. He's done it so many times I think everyone expects the same and they get the ignorance he puts out, like his ignorance on Times Square crime rates. (Hat Tip to CincyCapell).
What I am really hoping we don't get are Council Candidates using this as political fodder. I encourage council members and candidates issuing comments that are introspective or positive. We need to work together to prevent crime and we need to make people understand that our city is safe. We don't need council candidates claiming this is any type of indication or example of something that should drive future action of government. Here the system worked. No more or no fewer police officers were going to prevent a person from carrying a gun illegally in a public place. It is tragic that a 16 year old put himself into this situation. I also really hope that the police actions are allowed to be reviewed, but not used as a tool to build hate. If there are questions, they can be asked. We don't need to push fear of the police. I am looking right squarely at Chris Smitherman on this. I hope he does not play politics with these incidents. Instead I really hope he helps people understand what happened, not assume they know what happened and create more false perceptions. False impressions build walls. Many of us have tried to tear down all of the walls that separate us into conflicting factions. It is the duty of all public officials, and those trying to become public officials, to help keep those walls down and create open spaces were people and their cultures can freely blend with all others.