But it was a noncandidate, former city Police Chief Dan Isom, now a criminal justice professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who asked the question that got to the core of why students and faculty would take two hours out of a school day to talk about gun violence.
“How much do you care about every person who has lost their life in the city of St. Louis?” Isom asked. “And not just the good kids.”
The kid who is dealing drugs on the corner has value just as much as the basketball player who gets caught in the crossfire, Isom said. Indeed, their deaths are often reported in these pages completely differently — one gets a brief, the other nearly a full page of photos and love and quotes from neighbors and family about a tragic loss.
Funny that. One of Isom’s predecessors as Chief, Joe Mokwa, told us the complete opposite, that we (and by “we,” the dog whistle was white people) shouldn’t care precisely because most city “gun violence” involves both perpetrators and victims that are on the wrong side of the tracks and whose life histories are indistinguishable from each other (dog whistle: It’s just black thugs murdering black thugs, so quit worrying about it, cracker.)
The narrative changes up every other day.