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Rage Has Its Place


(This is a letter to Cynthia Tucker, of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, concerning community reaction to a random shooting in an Atlanta neighborhood versus the animal abuse by Michael Vick revealed at that time in 2008. She asked to publish it, but it didn't make it into the paper.)

Wade, may we print your response?



 From      Wade Benson                       

 Subject   Appropriate rage                                       



Dear Ms. Tucker:

You are right to point up our skewed continuum of rage. The long stretch
from indifference to active negligence passes through disappointment,
righteous indignation and base voyeurism. In Annaijh's case, malign
resignation is probably the best description of our reaction: I'm powerless
against random murders in neighborhoods where brainless violence is to be
expected. I ruminate briefly and change the channel.
But the Vick case requires no soul-searching from me. The spectacle is
invigorating and calls forth my justified disgust: look at what the rich
man and his crew did; look how stupid they were to not only abuse innocent
creatures but to squander their own prosperity through arrogance. (Can you
say "uppity"?) This case is tried in our minds, and the guilty are already
paying a heavy price. No worry for me.
Drive-by, gang related idiocy, though, is not so easy to tie up in a bundle
of justice. We need to do something, but who knows what? For one thing, we
need more help for Annaijh's hometown.
This city needs to purge its own malign resignation. Neighborhood after
neighborhood in Atlanta is under-policed. The number of officers per square
mile or per capita is, truly, criminally low. We need officers on foot in
high density areas, and we need multiple drives through tough areas by a
steady stream of enforcement every day. We also need a sense of respectful
accessibility between the protectors and the protected.
It's not just that more cops will physically apprehend more law-breakers,
it's that our community care will be demonstrated by the extra attention,
and crime will, experience shows, go down. That sort of permanent "surge"
in community action would be one way to memorialize little girls who die
only because of where they are unlucky enough to be born, and it might just
save some future innocents.
Thanks for your good work,
Wade Benson

(I also was less than moved by [then-West Virginia Senator] Byrd's podium rage; Democrats really can do
better for a spokesman on a black athlete's malfeasance than to allow a
former Klansman to touch the subject.)





Posted on Sunday, May 1, 2011 at 11:06AM by Registered CommenterCoEternity | CommentsPost a Comment

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