Pubdate: Sun, 02 Jul 2000
Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
Copyright: 2000 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Author: Dave Gocken


THE recent shooting deaths at a Berkeley Jack in the Box of one suspected 
low-level drug dealer and his friend, who was under no suspicion of 
wrongdoing, is sickening at best.

We have become so twisted in our selective moralistic outrage over drug 
use, that we as a society have enabled our public servants, the police, to 
devalue some lives to the point where taking a life is somehow justified.

The fact that these lives are largely males of color is inextricably linked 
to the selective moral outrage over drugs. Statistically, whites are more 
likely to use and abuse drugs than people of color. Can you imagine two 
white men, one a cocaine user or dealer and the other completely 
uninvolved, being shot to death in the parking lot of the Jack in the Box 
in Chesterfield as they attempted to flee the scene?

It is time we, as a society, start valuing all of our citizens. It is time 
we, as a society, admit the war on drugs is a farce that has been 
selectively and inordinately destructive to our poor and minority citizens. 
It is time we, as a society, are morally outraged when the lives of certain 
of our citizens are taken but are so devalued that the protest comes only 
from citizens of the affected group.

It is time we become a society and not groups of disengaged societies.

Dave Gocken, Edwardsville
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