Guest Blogger: Dan Swoboda
Dan Swoboda is a Senior at the University of Central Missouri studying Digital Media Production trying to get into broadcasting. He has worked a few events on sports broadcasting, using it as practice towards his main goal of going to the music side of things. He currently produces and is an on-air talent for a radio show dedicated to alternative, punk, classic rock, and heavy metal type music on the schools online campus radio station.
I grew up in a small town. Extremely close-knit neighborhood where everybody knows everybody and everybody calls you friend. It was a small town about 45 minutes away from St. Louis. I’d go into St. Louis a few times a year as kid to go to Cardinal’s baseball games all the time. I’ve been starting to go more and more to Blues games as well now that I have a schedule to balance around them school wise.
One of the biggest challenges now with St. Louis is the recent outbreak of protests. People marching up and down the streets protesting about the case between Jason Stockley and the murder of Anthony Lamar Smith. I watched these news stories with great concern, because St. Louis really doesn’t get featured in the news besides sports. Watching protestors march on streets I used to be able to watch cars drive down on a busy summer afternoon before first pitch, seeing crowds of people where I’m used to seeing a lone hot dog vendor, seeing a line of policemen where before stood a line of people tailgating.
To be proud of a city is an image. To love a city is inspiration. To fill a city with disarray is tragic. To destroy a city is madness. As crowds fill the streets it becomes a threat to the people that make up the city, the inhabitants that make this city so great. For fear of safety, entertainment groups had to cancel performances for fear of security concerns.
Compare these to actions that happened in Ferguson however. This has been a more tame display of public protesting compared to Ferguson. There hasn’t been anyone jumping on police cars, no buildings have been looted, no property destroyed. In St. Louis, actions have been civil, with protestors gathered to march and shout their feelings to the skies, rather than use aggression to get their point across.
However looking at the tensions, people blame police brutality for not only the cause of protests, but for turning the simple marching protests into acts of supposed aggression.
People blame the police for militarizing a simple protest, coming with riot gear and spraying tear gas into the crowd of marching civilians. Stories on both sides see as each side is in the wrong. Police believe they are calming down a mass gathering of people to keep the peace, while protestors see the police as establishing force on a peaceful right to protest.
Actions of violence is established from both viewpoints as well. The media has exploited film of cops cracking down on “violent” protestors, as well as protestors getting “attacked” by police in “brutal displays of law enforcement”.