Years ago when I was studying sociology in college we wrote papers about the news, how news became news, and why the process of being an event and becoming news was important. We learned how flawed the news actually is. I remember being amazed that a democracy like ours allowed something like this to happen. How did we let a few rich people ultimately decided what we as a nation think is important. You see, we react to what is on our news set. If they talk about it enough it must be important. If we see it a million times it must be happening a lot. The first time I really understood how news influenced our thinking was right before we went to war with Afghanistan. We saw pictures of women being abused and denied education. We were all disturbed about how people were treated under Taliban rule. The thing is, most people did not know about this prior to it being on the news….after it was on the news it helped change American minds about the importance of going to war with the Taliban. Things are still this way in Afghanistan now we just don’t hear about it on our news.
When the news started showing the police shooting black men and video of police abusing their power, I was really grateful that finally the news was reporting what I had been saying and experiencing as a drug user for years. I have had such frightening experiences with police that I have never in my life called them, not once, even when I really needed help a few times, I was too scared to call them. They have always been so abusive to me I have never thought of them as a helping service.
I have been overwhelmed with the numbers of black men being shot and killed by police during police interactions. We all have been seeing way too many people killed for simply being black in America. Many people are confused asking: Why is this starting to happen all the time? Well, the answer is simple!!! It is not just now happening all the time, it has been happening all the time, and until recently it was not considered newsworthy. Someone has finally decided that police officer shootings are news worthy and the police need to be held accountable.
We were simply not aware as a country how prevalent this behavior is.
Here is an example: Many people are scared of crashing on an airplane but very few people are frightened of traveling in their cars. The reason why people think of airplanes as dangerous or equally as dangerous as driving in a car has to do with the amount of times they hear about deadly crashes on the news. Think about it. If the news told us about every time there was a deadly car crash, there would not be enough time to tell us about anything else; however most plane crashes make the news. This can be confusing for us as viewers.
The point I am trying to make is this ….whoever is in charge of our news programs has the awesome responsibility of determining what is newsworthy and what we need to be thinking bout as a society. For too long the behavior of the police has not made the list, my question is why and how have we let this happen and more importantly how can we prevent this from happening again.
I have been telling people for years that the police behave in some of the most egregious ways. Since my first experience with the police I quickly found out that I had few rights. I found out that they lie, they are abusive, and they get away with most anything they want. I have had some of the most terrifying experiences with police officers. For years no one believed me , or they just thought I was exaggerating. I am so grateful that police behavior has finally a subject worthy of the news and worthy of discussion.
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The problems that are occurring in Chicago and Baltimore are not confined to large cities. We have problems just like this in Greensboro, High-Point and Winston-Salem. If you are a recovering drug user or an active drug user we want your help making a difference in the Piedmont Community Please COME to our Group and Get INVOLVED!
Call 336-669-5543 or come on Fridays: Triad Health Project GREENSBORO from 12:15-1:30 for Harm REDUCTION GROUP.