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07 December 2014 @ 02:40 pm
I actually read the comments on this article (a bit*). The article itself is about how being poor means you are one setback from disaster. The example in the article is of a car being towed. The author can't pay the several hundred dollars to get it back until she is paid in a few days. By that time, she owes more in storage fees, so she'll never be able to recover the car -- it's building up faster than her paychecks. So she loses the car. Walking/getting rides/public transport doesn't give her the mobility to get to work**, so she loses her job, which imperils her ability to pay rent on her apartment... and suddenly the inability to get a few hundred dollars at once to fix one screw-up means someone is unemployed and homeless.

Of course, the commenters were all 'wait, are you saying poor people should never be held responsible for their mistakes!?' Of course it isn't, merely that 'unemployed and homeless' is too steep a price for this screw-up, when a middle-class person would just owe an hour of time, a dip into the savings account, and the hassle of finding a ride for a few days.

So, I reflect on the recent publicity of police shootings of predominantly black men/boys (Jim Hines has an incomplete list). In many cases, the police reported some problem, or were called in. And, yet, what in some cases might have been a warning or a citation or even an arrest ends with the death of an unarmed man. I can think of some of my relatives and friends who were a bit wild and stupid as teenagers and young adults, and I note they are alive, despite encounters with the police. People shouldn't die based on police suspicion (or, let's be honest, anything less dangerous than an active gunfight). That is not a reasonable consequence and is not the same consequence as happens to white teens/young adults.

We're not asking for no consequences, we're asking for the same, reasonable consequences for everyone

* Yes, I know.
** Many places in America are set up under the assumption you own a car.