In which I ramble about topical stuff for a bit... (language warning)

Everything is terrible. Everything is also okay.

As humans, we have to accept that we like knee-jerk reactions. Our entire news media, which includes social media outlets such as Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, all know and cater to this fact. If we hear something plausible and outrageous at rapid pace, we're going to have a knee-jerk reaction to what we heard. Even if your reaction is indifference, it's still reacting without using much of the brain's power to formulate a decent and fair view of everything the situation has to offer.

In some respects knee-jerk reactions are good. It can help us get motivated to help find out more about the issue at hand and help us get involved in something that we normally wouldn't get involved in. At other times....well....

Everything is terrible. Everything is also okay.

A few miles from where I live is the city of Baltimore, MD. Currently there are riots going on over there due to the recent shooting of a young black male by a white police officer, a sad trend that's going on in our law enforcement. I've been hearing helicopters fly by where I am now a couple of times as police divert resources to the area.

The black man getting killed is the plausible and outrageous part. The fact that this is getting media attention can definitely be a good thing. How can we better police relations with the public? How can we avoid shootings like this in the future? How can we better our society towards healthier race relations? But the knee-jerk world we live in doesn't care about logic. It wants the facts and it wants to react immediately. As said, this can be a good thing in the right hands. It's our impulse to act when we see an injustice and we should.

In this case, the knee-jerk reaction is towards the bad side of things. Violence, hate spewing campaigns, harassment, all of the suffering we inflict on each other just because we heard about a tragedy. Instead of seeking justice and answers, we seek hate, vitriol, drivel and bullshit. It only takes 140 characters to spark a reaction as violent as this, it takes more than that to actually do something meaningful about an injustice.

People took to Twitter, Facebook, handing out fliers at school, to riot, destroy, loot, hurt the city they live in as an impulsive reaction to the death of someone whose family has demanded peaceful protest and justice in these times. They know about the death of this poor human by a police officer, they know about the other poor humans who have been killed by an officer and they exploited it. It only takes a mere Tweet to create chaos, to cause a knee-jerk reaction of purpose to an injustice, when in actuality the chaos they create only serves as a reminder that sometimes we as humans react too impulsively without considering what exactly we're doing.

And that's the curse of the knee-jerk reaction: to want instant information on outrageous but plausible events and to react to them without completely wanting to explore how to handle it.

But again....

Everything is terrible. Everything is also okay.

So with that bit of knowledge, you take the good with the bad. Violence and bigotry isn't going to go away overnight, but neither is love or empathy.



  • *It wasn't a shooting, they broke his spine. Just thought I would correct that.

    There's a lot to this issue. As someone who studies policing and police work, I understand the protocols and such that goes into it. It's not easy being an officer, but there are systems in place here that need retooling. There's also a lot of facts that people are missing out on and rumors that are not true due to social media (and news media).

    The way in which people are dying due to police actions shouldn't be overlooked by those in authority. Sadly it is and changes aren't being made to this effect. That's why we have rioting like this.

  • I'm going to bump this thread. There are a lot of actors, a lot of emotions at play when it comes to this issue and I can't really say anything without bothering someone. Truth be told, I don't care. It's been almost a year since I made this thread and my human brain is changing and evolving every day. One of the very few traits I admire about myself is the ability to avoid absolute stubbornness, meaning that if new information that contradicts my previous stance comes about, I will change my stance appropriately. The only way to do so is to read and listen to multiple opinions, multiple experiences, and keep an open ear to what people are saying about these issues.

    I don't think my previous posts on the issue are wrong, they're poorly written (as everything I write is), but they aren't exactly right either. It's was my viewpoint, really. I saw a poor city in poor economic shape get hurt by (mostly) outsiders claiming they were doing what they were doing as a result of poor criminal justice. To somewhat paraphrase my post, I saw the need for some sort of reform in the system, while simultaneously condemning the riots. Again, not saying I'm wrong, but I'm not right either. Truth be told, I'm probably not even in the middle.

    What am I saying? The way we deal with issues isn't just a problem for an individual. It's not just a problem for a group of individuals. It's just not the problem of the government. It's not just the problem of the media. It's not just the problem of the police. It's a cultural problem.

    So again, what am I saying? Make sense and stop writing tangents damnit!... We all contribute to this problem, specifically that of policing issues, in someway. I'm not going to be pointing fingers at anyone specifically and telling them they are wrong. I'm not going to say anyone is right, either. I am going to say that we should be looking more broadly at this.

    And that will very likely seem like a cop-out for a lot of people. We live in a world that demands specifics a lot of the time, and it's not easy to accept that maybe we're all in it and responsible for it in someway, but it's one thing that I almost firmly believe. I said 'almost firmly' because like I said, as with anything I do, I could be completely wrong.

    There's a cycle we're all involved in, and I poorly tried to explain it in my previous posts about 'knee jerk' reactions. At the time it was the best phrase I could come up with because my vocabulary is limited (and still is). I mostly blamed the media in my post, and while they are certainly a part of this, they aren't the only ones feeding in to the issue, not by a long shot.

    We each have our motivations, our jobs, our place in the world. All I ask here is try and view each actor in this issue, whether it be individuals, groups of individuals, police, government, groups, media, whatever, with the intent of knowing them not as monsters or murderers or whatever, but as someone like you. We're all to blame for this issue. No one group is the problem, no one group is going to fix it or take it away. Just listen to multiple opinions on this issue, know where they come from. You don't have to completely agree with them, in fact that's not conductive, but come in with the mindset that what they're saying may have some merit one way or the other.


  • edited January 2016

    TL;DR: Painting groups of people with a broad brush (for example calling police murderers, calling movements made in response to police shootings insignificant, etc.) doesn't solve the issue of criminal justice reform. Listening to multiple viewpoints and knowing how we get our information from is paramount to understanding how we can see how to solve this issue. Just try to avoid the shit-flinging and painting groups of people with a broad brush, there may be some truth in what they say. Look more broadly and expand your horizons.

    I should've just said that instead of like 20 paragraphs full of nonsense, but whateva. n.n;

    We all contribute to this problem, specifically that of policing issues, in someway.

    EDIT: ^^Criminal justice reform is a better way of putting it than policing issues.

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