The Cultural Divide

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Everywhere you turn, you can get a sense of the world becoming more divided and hostile. It happens locally, nationally, and globally. Memphis is plagued by violence as demonstrated by its rank as one of the ten most dangerous U.S. cities. Even over the Thanksgiving holiday, a time when people generally stop and reflect on their blessings, Memphis still deals with violent crime as a dozen shootings are reported over the weekend.

There’s the kind of violence that occurs among civilians and then there’s the kind of violence that comes from the police force that is supposedly there to protect and serve. That’s what happened recently in New York City. In trying to arrest a man for selling illegal cigarettes, the police take him down by force where later the man was declared dead at a nearby hospital. Was the takedown by a chokehold responsible for his death? It seems unclear through some reports but it certainly could have been a contributing factor.

Then there’s the much publicized fatal shooting of a man in Ferguson, Missouri by a police officer. By some accounts, which later turned out to be false statements, the man was turning away from the police officer when he held up his hands and yelled, “Don’t shoot.” However, the officer involved was not indicted and was cleared of all charges. That hasn’t changed the overall mood of the country, however, as evidenced by several protests taking place in major cities throughout the U.S.

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