A neighbor—older, meticulous, German—was explaining to me how he takes plastic bags of dog excrement and flings them over his well-tended hedge into the street.
The street we both share. Our street.
He was indignant, almost proud.
Of course there was more to it. The conversation had been about dogs—mine was in tow—and he told me that some people hurl their poop bags into his yard. So he hurls it right back.
I walked away thinking, "Framing." How you begin the story determines how it ends. You include the provocation, and the reaction seems justified. Leave it out, and he becomes the jerk, throwing dog shit into the street. Which is true? Maybe both.
We see this constantly. In his mind, Micah Johnson wasn't firing blindly at innocent police officers, Instead—again in his own mind—he was reacting to the Black Lives Matter movement, which keeps its view tight on those jumpy videos of cops shooting innocent folks. The cops meanwhile widen the frame, to include the violent neighborhoods they patrol, and wonder why everyone else doesn't.
"Why are we just focusing on the very very small percentage of all interactions with police officers that go bad?" a reader wrote Saturday. "Why don't we start a movement that focuses on all black lives that tragically end? Lets go to the Southside and Westside and protest the shooting of all those young blacks by mostly other blacks....Can a liberal Democrat answer this question please?"
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