Over the last few months St. Louis has gotten a lot of national news attention, even worldwide. Their have been mass media covered riots, extensive property damage and even bodily harm to civilians and law enforcement alike. A lot of negative. i want to take a second to look at some of the changes in our city and try to help people outside of St. Louis understand where this chaos is coming from.
St. Louis Mo. is broken up in to many parts. St. Louis City is under one jurisdiction but, St. Louis County has West, South, North and Mid county which contain about 100 municipalities. That is a lot for what is considered a smaller city when Los Angeles county has 88 municipalities and New York 62. St. Louis is a large city don't get me wrong but on a scale of other large cities we don't measure up. If you look at our city there are certain parts that haven’t been developed yet, then we have area’s so over developed people are moving out of them. Our rail system doesn't touch certain parts of the county and while that is probably by design that still is a measure of landscape development. And what’s the number one question no matter what new person we meet we ask them… “What high-school did you go to?” Chances are you both share mutual friends or acquaintances. A testament to how small St. Louis really is.
I grew up in Mid-County. Fifteen Minutes from seemingly whatever part of town you’d like to go in a neighborhood close to the city and other counties were much different than. In my short almost 30 years I have moved away from this area, been out of town and back and not too much has change about my old neighborhood but one thing… the police. Now before you start praising or condemning me for saying that you have to understand why i say that. When I was a kid we used to spend our days outside. It’s funny looking back at it because of course we had TV but they scheduled kid programs that were real popular around the time most kids would be playing but anyway. We used to be out, on the block play baseball or basketball. The girls would be on the other side of the block playing double dutch and sometimes we would jam together and play freeze tag. Yea, FREEZE TAG. One of the things i always remember though is police riding down our streets and stopping to give us baseball cards and interact. They learned the kids in the area they patroled and knew most of our houses. This created trust in our little neighborhood. This prevented them from locking us up on every childhood mistake that actually did only deserve a slap on the wrist for. So what im wondering is when did this stop? Why did this stop?
The generation after mine was nothing like mine. i mean no joke they were bad. We were bad too but we had roots in the neighborhood. The police had roots in the neighborhood. This baseball card thing didn't only happen in my neighborhood either. I know it didn't happen in the city too much but, it definitely used to happen in Ferguson. So when i notice as I've gotten older that the police don't do that with the kids in my neighborhood anymore and realize that they don’t do it in any neighborhoods anymore it makes me wonder why. Is the youth just not interested in baseball? Are the police not interested in handing out cards? Did Upper Deck go out of business? And if they did is it because no police in the country hand out baseball cards to kids anymore? I’m not sure but at some point we decided that the police and them cards weren't welcome anymore and they decided that they were scared for their lives of black youth and their unpredictability. All of this is from years of society ruining youth. The never ending cycle of hate and mistrust. It’s like we expect them to be assholes and they expect us to be ignorant fools and everyone has fallen into their roles quite nicely.
The point of me bringing up the municipalities is because these seemingly ridiculous amount of counties, is the way that the county, generates money as a whole. The police have to write tickets to generate income. So ticketing and fining people is a major part of income. We've seen some municipalities be absolved because they were so small and many of the other very small towns have an extreme ticketing rate seeming as if they were just trying to keep the lights on. Lets face the facts too, the most ticketed in these areas are blacks because we inhabit these areas in the county more perpetuating a poor populous and framing your small town “hot” to drive through. It’s one of those things i really don’t know how to get around. Other than the county taking some of these smaller counties away and controlling them, the tickets go no where. But do we really want that. I guess i could just move then, moan all day about that cities infrastructure all day. It sucks because the point of civilization is to grow and be better in the next ten years than you were in the last. Seems like St. Louis is going backwards in relations and forward in almost nothing at all. When did this change?