Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way


This is not good. This is not just.

Systems and organizations, they are just things. Things we make and agree to support because they serve us as whole. Stellar organizations are able to be fiercely efficient while simultaneously ghastly. If we should have learned anything from the Khmer Rouge or the Nazis, it’s that. The only way to judge a system’s merit is to look at the outcomes. And this system, our criminal justice system, it’s outcomes are not good. They are not just. They are not reforming people who have lost their way (recidivism). They are not fair:
-black folks use drugs at comparable rates with white folks, yet 37% of drug arrests are black folks while they are only 13% of the total population.
-85% of the stop and frisks in NYC are brown people (Latinos and blacks mainly) while whites make up only 8% even while they make up 44% if the population
-eligible black people are regularly excluded from jury service 8 of 10 rejected in Alabama in 2010 for capital and felony trials, ensuring that black folks are denied a jury of their peers.
-black offenders prison time is 10% longer than white’s for the same crime
-2 thirds of the people serving life sentences today are non-white
-black folks, 13% of the population, 14% for the drug using population, make up 36% of the drug arrests and make up 56% of the current prison population serving time for drug charges
-black men are 5 times, latinos 3 times, more likely to go to prison than white men
-black juveniles make up 16% of the population, they are 28% of juvenile arrests, 37% of the kids in juvie and 58% of the youth sent to adult prisons
-white ex-cons get call backs on jobs 16% of the time while black ex-cons get call backs 5%
These outcomes? They are not good. They are not just. It’s time to admit that the system is broken.
These shootings… they are a product of this system. They are not good. They are not just.
My heart is heavy for the families who have lost their loved ones. In Minneapolis. In Dallas. In Baton Rouge. I beg you, you, the police apologist reading this. I beg you to consider these numbers. I plead that you understand you can be pro-police and be an advocate for changing this corrupt system at the same time. This is not good. This is not just.
Note: most of the stats came from here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-quigley/fourteen-examples-of-raci_b_658947.html

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How I Came to Helping a Man Facedown in the Street

My recovery plan for Midpoint Music Festival was to eat a nice brunch and write my MPMF reviews at the coffee shop. After¬†brunch I headed to Findlay Market where I had a really nice chat with the woman behind the counter at Churchill’s Teas. I left with a matcha wisk and some Samauri grade matcha.

While I was walking down Race Street toward Central Parkway, I heard a hollow thud behind me. I turned around and saw a man face down in the street. I stared dumbly at him for a few seconds, because someone lying motionless in the street is quite unusual.

He seemed in no hurry to get up; oncoming traffic urged me to reach him before vehicles did. In the contest between this guy and addiction, the addiction had it by a landslide. The grim on his clothing had been building up for months. I talked to him. I shook his shoulder. He didn’t move. I got in front of him to direct traffic around him to make sure he didn’t get run over.

While I was directing traffic one woman drove up and asked if I needed 911. I said yes. She pulled her car over and made the call. Two other women in the next car pulled over. One woman was a doctor and came over to check the man’s pulse. A passing cyclist asked if I needed help, and agreed to bike a block north to look for the police that I recalled passing.

Once the police arrived they carried the man from the street and agreed to check him out. I went on my way figuring that I had done all that I could. It was a bit unsettling to see, as that man was someone’s son. Someone loved him. Someone probably still loves him. And this is where he is.

I stewed over that on the rest of my walk to Coffee Emporium. Upon arrival the doctor and her friend were already there in line. They bought me a coffee for stopping to help the man. It was a sweet gesture.

Here’s the thing that struck me about this. Of the 8 people who saw what was happening, 7 of them stopped and asked if they could help. When all you see of other humans is what’s on reality TV and in the news, things look really bleak. But that’s not how most real people act. That’s a spectacle that we don’t have the good sense to look away from.