I walked into my home from after blogging for 5 hours at Starbucks. My daughter was in the couch with her face pasted on her Twitter feed on her phone.
"Dad what is going on at Twin Peaks? she asked.
"I don't know?" I replied.
"Nine people got killed in Waco," she said. "There are rival biker gangs shooting and stabbing each other and shooting at police."
"Really?" I replied. "Turn on CNN."
We turned on CNN and they were doing regular programming. We turned to Fox News, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC. They were all doing regular programming on a slow news day.
Everyone knows that especially on a slow news day the most mundane gets covered as breaking news. So what happened here. Nine human beings were killed, murdered in a gang fight. Gangs were shooting at the police. It was mayhem. It was extremely violent behavior. The police killed and hurt no one.
The riots in Ferguson had many causalities. The riots in Baltimore had many casualties. There was incessant coverage as breaking news. But it was the display of those inner city people acting violently.
My daughter went from surprise and apprehension to disgust about the coverage to humor. You see, her Twitter feed started to light up with many people talking about the irony of the coverage and the police response. She just sat there shaking here head at the comments.
She started reading them and I started to shake my head in a sort of sad resolve. I told her she should create a blog post with a representative sample of the tweets and a few thoughts. She purposefully gave it the provocative title "White on White Crime Terrorizes Waco in Twin Peaks Massacre." Check it out here.
This morning my daughter messaged me with a story from News.Mic by Jon Levine titled "One Tweet Shows the Hypocrisy of How the Police Treats White Criminals." He writes,
On Sunday, members of two rival biker gangs began an altercation at a parking lot in Waco, Texas, after a fight escalated between the groups inside a local restaurant. The confrontation left nine dead and 192 arrested before police were able to regain control.
Photos posted on Twitter showing how the arrests went down are now causing controversy online due to what some are saying is the very casual demeanor of officers and suspects. As one Twitter user pointed out, comparing what happened after a mass shootout in Waco to a man walking home last August in Ferguson, Missouri, paints a clear picture.
Americans have a very distorted view of crime and who commits it. Many love to read FBI stats that show the criminality of one group being more so than another. The reality is that the data is compiled from those on the ground who make initial contact. If initial contact for a 'crime' results in an arrest it is recorded. If initial contact for a crime results in a warning and a slap on the wrist it is not. The disparate manner in which police interact with different groups makes FBI stats or any of these stats at best suspect and at worse cooked.
The occurrences in Waco, Texas was probative. The impression Americans get is that there was just some biker gang violence. An extensive face or analysis of any type of criminality systemic or otherwise was ignored. In Ferguson and Baltimore inferences and misinformation that in effect exacerbated the unrest was the modus operandi of both the media and the police. That is how our media coverage and police response distort the American reality. In distorting that reality it willfully stereotypes and divides society.