Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sometimes, the answer is so stupid

The Chicago Sun-Times on Sunday devoted three full pages inside the newspaper to reporting on the official city investigation into a 2016 incident in which an off-duty police officer shot-and-killed a black man.

The death of Joshua Beal in one sentence
The man, as was reported at the time, was from Indianapolis, and was only in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood on the city’s far southwest corner because he was serving as a pallbearer for his cousin – who was buried at one of the cemeteries nearby.

THE INCIDENT ERUPTED into black activists coming to the neighborhood to protest the police and make comparisons between local law enforcement and the Ku Klux Klan. Which provoked outcries from neighborhood residents against those activists.

It was an ugly racial moment and came right at the point of the 2016 Election Day in which Mount Greenwood wound up being one of the few places in Chicago where Donald Trump actually got significant numbers of votes. “Make America Great Again,” indeed!

The Sun-Times went into great detail in reporting the city’s investigation, which it turns out the newspaper only found out about because they had to sue Chicago city government in order to get the documents.

So after all this hassle and all the outcry, it seems the moment that sparked anger on all sides was one so banal that it seems pathetic in today’s day and age. Except to those, I suppose, who really think this Age of Trump we’re now in is improvement.

IF ANYTHING, THE newspaper’s front-page headline kind of summarized up the whole affair to where we may not need to read the lengthy news report. It shows just how insipid the whole affair was.

Just another stupid slur that likely is heard in barrooms and households across the city – only usually slightly whispered so as not to provoke a brawl.

So if there is a grand lesson to be learned from this affair, it’s actually one that I would have hoped most of us already knew. The sad part of this affair is that someone out there is probably taking a perverse sense of pride that this was said.

They may even think that somehow, their right to freedom of expression is being silenced by reporting just how stupid the comment was. Which is the ugly part of this whole affair.


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