Politics & Media
Nov 26, 2014, 04:17PM

What Our Country Mourns and Why

Why isn’t the media in frenzy mode over Ferguson?

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The last few days have been a bit blurry. Still sick with a bug that lingered for two and a half weeks, I was lethargic and heavily medicated on Monday, the night of the Grand Jury’s decision on whether or not to indict Michael Brown’s murderer Darren Wilson. It was a foregone conclusion that he’d walk, and while smoking a cigarette outside my apartment, a couple of friends ran out and, exasperated, told me Wilson wouldn’t even be put on trial. The military occupation of Ferguson in August turned me into a raw nerve, and since the anniversary of 9/11, I’ve selfishly kept my head in the sand and turned away from any of the horribly and blatantly biased major media coverage of the ongoing situation in Missouri—it’s frustrating, but my woe is nil compared to the existential concentration camp that black people and all minorities go through every day. As an old friend said last night, “#BlackLivesMatter. Just not in America.” Can anyone argue with that? Please, let’s. I’m not seeing very much casual racism on my Facebook feed, but that’s because my bubble is highly customized to feed me what I already believe in. Different story when I took a scroll through some posts by a close high school friend—there was nothing for me to say, and I’m not about to get involved in another ridiculously tense and petty Facebook argument like I did last Thanksgiving, with the same person…

On my way to work this morning, I looked up and saw the LED billboard mounted on top of Baltimore’s Metro Gallery on Charles St. was blacked out. For a split second I thought it could be a flag at half-mast situation, solidarity for the injustice in Ferguson and the immense anger across the country. That thought evaporated immediately as I walked on. There was just no way that was the case, even though the whole situation in Ferguson is the worst thing to happen to the United States since 9/11. We all remember what a media hootenanny that was the fall and winter of 2001—they couldn’t get close enough to Ground Zero and they couldn’t stop talking about every single angle and development on the situation. The nation went into mourning for nearly a year, and we were united for once in my lifetime as Americans.

It was admittedly easier than then now, because the enemy was outside of us—foreign, exotic, explicitly hateful and vengeful, as Other as can be. Now, the enemy is everywhere: it’s the police, the National Guard, your casually racist aunt or next door neighbor, politicians, and major media outlets who are bizarrely, for once, not taking advantage of the field day that Ferguson is. The people that are there all the time, like Don Lemon, are acting like obsolete cyborgs with dated command scripts. It’s sad to see so transparently what our country wants us to mourn together about—domestic terrorism, school shootings, assassinations, famous people dying—and how far they’ll go to suppress the dissemination of information of the greatest crisis our country has faced since Al Qaeda left a mountain of ash on the ground in my backyard. I don’t see people talking like they should be, I see a lot of people confused, misinformed, and overwhelmed. Someone is winning, but it’s not us…

—Follow Nicky Smith on Twitter: @MUGGER1992

  • You make many valid points about the nightmare of Ferguson, Nicky, but you're forgetting some recent history. The Boston Marathon bombing; the Newtown school massacre, and the Bush administration's gross mishandling of Katrina, are all examples. It's not a straight line from 9/11 to Ferguson.

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