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Random Thoughts on Ferguson

Social Media

  1. I live thousands of miles from Ferguson. If it weren’t for Twitter, I most likely would never have heard of it.
  2. People get their information from sources that have samilar world views. The social media aspects of this were recently explored in-depth in the latest Israel - Gaza confrontation.
  3. There is nothing new about this. It happened before social media. People chose their news TV channels and newspapers based on their existing world views.
  4. Facebook is aggravating this by algorithmically tailoring the news feed, thus further isolated people from other world views.
  5. The people I follow don’t seem to see anything wrong with the protestors, even the violent minority.
  6. Parts of the conventional media don’t see that the majority of the protestors are peaceful.
  7. To get a balanced view, you have to actively search for people and sources with views that are at odds with your own.

Ferguson

  1. People underestimate how scared law enforcement personnel feel in many situation. They are the ones with the guns, so why should they be afraid? Because they are people. This is hard to understand from the sidelines.
  2. There is a huge asymmetry in power between the state and the individual.
  3. Therefore, the state should always be handicapped.
  4. Police officers should always have cameras. I understand why they will object and can sympethize with their feelings. But the power of the state should be limited.
  5. The gear that a police force in a small American town have is ridiculous.
  6. Our values are put to the test when things are hard, not when they are easy. Talk is cheap. Obama is a disappointment.

Racism

  1. We all prefer people that are similar to us. We are all at danger of being racists.
  2. We all have to take active actions to curb these inherent biases.