We've reached the five year point since the Cincinnati "riot." I put "riot" in quotes because it shouldn't have been classified as a riot. The killing of an unarmed Timothy Thomas at the hands of a Cincinnati police officer was an excuse for this extended thuggery; it was an unseasonably warm week, Spring Break for Cincinnati Public Schools, and people used this as an excuse to go crazy. I'm not saying that there aren't still racial issues that are city needs to solve, but "the riot" was more about vandalism than racism. It put an unnecessary black eye on the city that has yet to fully heal. So with the shooting today of Kabaka Oba, a local activist from Over-The-Rhine [where the "riot" took place], people were shocked. Even more worrisome was the fact that it happened just outside City Hall, minutes after he had spoken to City Council. Conspiracy theories were easy to find [read this article with some absurd quotes], with some people assuming it was an organized hit. The reality: Oba was shot by someone he knew who had a personal gripe against him.
This actually happens all around America every day: a victim being familiar with person who assaulted him. But when it happens in the city, it always has to be about something more, some societal ill we haven't resolved. And all we're left with is that the city is crazy. Too crazy.
This is how it works here in Cincy: the local television stations lead with the story at 5:30, 6:00, & 11:00 [10:00 on WXIX], each claiming to have exclusive info and breaking developments on the story. Reporters interview anyone who had anything to do with the crime, but especially people who have nothing to do with it [see: politicians and activists]. They pander to suburbia's worst fears. They reaffirm to the people who left town that they made the right decision, that they're much safer living farther out. And our cities are left to fend for themselves.
I'm starting to believe that our town might be oversaturated with media coverage. With so many entities trying to outdo each other, fanaticism is bound to happen.
Hence, "the riot."
I'm just ticked that many people's only perception of the city is drawn from the interpretation of a few local news producers. The truth is, things are bad. But they've always been bad. And they always will be bad. But I'm just not convinced it's as bad as we're led to believe. No one lives in utopia.
There are many positive things happening in this city, but we're never allowed a second to enjoy them because we're waiting for the next bit of drama to unfold. Personally, I've had enough drama. I'm about ready to swear off local news.
The city might be crazy, but so am I.