….and focusing only on race just makes understanding and dealing with the real problems impossible. Nonetheless, activists, the news media and the government intentionally ignore the complexities involved, which collectively define a human tragedy and a failing of U.S. governments at all levels.
Washington Post writer Radley Balko has delivered a shocking, disturbing, depressing and eye-opening investigative report on how small municipalities in St. Louis County operate, and how demographic, political and economic trends inevitably cause the tensions and distrust we saw burst into conflagration in the wake of the Mike Brown shooting. If Balko does not win a Pulitzer for this marvel of reporting and analysis, then the awards should eliminated.
You must read the whole piece here. It’s unethical for a responsible citizen not to; I really believe that. I was originally going to post some excerpts,but I’m not going to, because I know many will just read them and skip the whole, long report. This is a significant and brave work, and attention must be paid.
I considered several possible titles, “Ethics Hero: Radley Balko” among them. One term I wanted to find a way to fit in, but failed, was “Bizarro World Ethics,” because that is what Balko is describing here. The systems of municipal funding, justice and law enforcement are virtual dictated by the poverty and demographics that make an ethical system impossible…indeed, any ethical system would be irrational and guaranteed to fail. Balko describes a toxic, horrific recipe for social dysfunction composed of poverty, ignorance, conflicts of interest, desperation, incompetent city planning, unethical police work, law enforcement quotas, white flight, distrust, public apathy, exploitation and more. Nothing makes sense, except the fact that the system doesn’t work, because no such system could. The living conditions Balko describes make those condemned to them angry and on the verge of a breakdown or violance. I felt like I was risking my sanity just reading about what they must live through.
How do you fix Bizarro World? I don’t know, but I know this: an honest and responsible national government and news media would not pretend that the primary problem is racism. Combating racism is the easy part…and I don’t know how to do that, either.