Two Americas


Madame Soph


Been mostly lurking these past few days. Haven’t had many positive words to contribute, so I’ve chosen “praying” over “saying” But something happened last night that I felt I needed to share.

I have lived most of my life in neighborhoods where most of the residents were renters, rather than owners. One area in particular had a helicopter noise issue that was almost unbearable at times. The helicopters would circle overhead endlessly, making the neighborhood feel like a war zone. It got so it was unusual to have a quiet night, and I could relate to that Ice Cube song, “It Was a Good Day.” I would call the local PD and ask what was up and would be told about things like, “there is a fist-fight at a party” or some other minor incident. Finally the phone operator confessed that the city had been given all these helicopters after 911, but the deal was that they had to keep them up in the air for a certain number of hours per month in order to keep them. I commented to her that they flew them over the areas with home renters (also the area with more brown people), rather than home owners, because the rich people fund campaigns and vote and would complain). Her laugh and silence told me that I was correct in my assumption.

Jump to now. I am doing a kind of house-sitting thing for a friend that has landed me in a very affluent suburban community. I have been living here over six months and have never heard helicopters circling, until last night. I heard one overhead going round and round and making an announcement over a loudspeaker. Of course, I assumed they were after some fugitive or something. Nope. The announcer was repeating a male (child’s?) name, along with the words “your family is looking for you. Please get to a phone and dial 911.”

This absolutely floored me! So, in this neighborhood they send out helicopters to find lost neighborhood kids? When I was a kid, the only announcement came from your mom, yelling your name out the front door.

The difference between these two experiences hit me especially in light of recent events. O.k. back to lurking and praying. Thanks to all the TODers for your insightful and informative posts.



107 Responses to “Two Americas”

  1. August 18, 2014 at 12:35 pm


  2. August 18, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Thanks a million Nerdy, another powerful post. And Madame Soph’s experience is so, so so telling.

    • 5 isonprize
      August 18, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      Chica, (or any blog master or mistress)

      Can you post the following link as a part of the “two Americas” or use it for another link. It is powerful. Read the note at the bottom after the last picture. It’s in Philadelphia’s LOVE park. It’s not real, but it is compelling. It is performance art protest for Michael Brown.


    • 6 MadameSoph
      August 18, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      Thank you Chips for this place to share our experiences, good and bad, our sorrow, but most of all our hope and action.

  3. 7 Nerdy Wonka
    August 18, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Thank you, Madame Soph for sharing this heartbreaking but eye opening commentary. It confirms once again what People of Color have always known.

    • August 18, 2014 at 12:46 pm

      Thank you, NW, for posting it.

    • 9 isonprize
      August 18, 2014 at 2:22 pm

      NerdyWonka, (or any blog master or mistress)

      Can you post the following link as a part of the “two Americas” or use it for another link. It is powerful. Read the note at the bottom after the last picture. It’s in Philadelphia’s LOVE park. It’s not real, but it is compelling. It is performance art protest for Michael Brown.


    • 10 MadameSoph
      August 18, 2014 at 2:31 pm

      Thank you for including my words Nerdy. I just posted my thanks down thread.

      The events in STL, beginning with when we first heard about Micheal Brown’s death and continuing with the police dept terrorizing the town and the differences in the media response have been extremely painful to witness.

      Thank you for helping to shine the light and bring the truth. There are many people who have no idea because they don’t have the same experiences. Now with places like TOD and people like you who are tweeting and telling and showing, there is a lot of education going on.

  4. 11 arapaho415
    August 18, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    More photos of #DarrenWilson at link:

  5. August 18, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Thank you for TOD doing this wonderful coverage.

  6. 15 jacquelineoboomer
    August 18, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    Catching up:

    Late last night, I left a few notes about the remarks of Captain Ron Johnson, before the cameras. Some responded. Amk left this comment:

    “I watched it. He was reading from prepared notes 100%. This is forced upon him and make him toe the official line. Today he was a steno.”

    Here’s how I responded today, which I’ll bring over (not that I’m any kind of an expert, and I’m still just hearing today’s events and comments, but it’s my take – I’ve added to this since leaving amk my response):

    I thought that was perhaps going to be the case when I saw the notes, but changed my mind while he was speaking. He was angry, and wanted to get it right, IMO.

    Believe what we saw was someone not accustomed to speaking as a politician might, on behalf of a larger entity, about a multi-faceted situation where he has the voices of many layers of other representatives in his head and intense personal feelings about the community …

    … let’s face it – he’s not a politician and he’s now speaking for the entire Great State of Missouri, because just about everyone else has lost all credibility, but for a few local politicians who appear to know what they are talking about …

    … and I feel unless he was going to be speaking from the heart about his own thoughts, he needed the notes, to follow what occurred during the timeline he mentioned.

    One of the things lacking in MO, St. Louis County, and Ferguson is “risk communication training” and “situational awareness” for law enforcement. They seem to have no idea how to speak to the press and the cameras, in an official way. Captain Johnson speaks – as a professional – usually from the heart, and that’s his true forte, and I hope that continues. I’ll take that, any day of the week.

    Again, my opinion.

    • 16 arapaho415
      August 18, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      You can tell by observing Capt. Ron Johnson that he’s a man of integrity and he’s fulfilling the no-win role he was assigned.

      Anybody who has worked for a corporation or other bureaucracy knows that the two qualities you seek from a manager is a clear strategy and is someone who will vouch for their employees. The worst thing as an employee is to be concerned that your manager will scapegoat you and not support you in public (privately is another matter).

      The second worst thing is to work for two managers who are responsible for the same thing — you’re sure to be caught in the middle, and that’s where Capt. Johnson is.

      But it’s much worse for him because actual lives are on the line.

      I’m impressed with Capt. Johnson’s leadership and will not criticize him in this volatile, unjust situation.

  7. 19 arapaho415
    August 18, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Oh, here’s the explanation that someone in TODville was asking about (and I wondered too) when #Ferguson residents questioned @GovJayNixon a couple of days ago…

    • 20 CEB
      August 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks, arapaho415; I was the un-hip person who asked the question.

      • 21 arapaho415
        August 18, 2014 at 1:23 pm

        Hiya, CEB — I’ve mentioned before that I think we’re exactly the same age — we could be twins, LOL.

        Hope the Jacksonville area is treating you well.

  8. August 18, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Madame Soph, the contrast you describe, is another crystal clear example of the substantial inequality in America and how that inequality includes incessant harm to people of color (not able to sleep at night) that pervades their lives, 24×7.


    • 23 MadameSoph
      August 18, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      Thank you Bobfr. I remember how that constant helicopter sound made me feel like I was in a war zone every day/night. That feeling of being under siege by our own PD made me angry and frustrated and wanting to lash out and I’m not an “angry” person. I moved away after a few years but I couldn’t help but think about the families who couldn’t move, who couldn’t leave. These departments that treat their communities like they are criminals almost create a self-fulfilling situation, ’cause I sure felt like doing somebody some harm on those nights.

  9. August 18, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Help me out here…. Gov. Nixon’s statement blamed the violence on out-of-state people. I heard the same from a group of protestors, black men who are trying to organize their own security team. Who are these out-of-state people?

    • 25 nospin
      August 18, 2014 at 12:48 pm

      if they existed and if it did occur, they were probably brought in as a cover for PD. It made no sense that police was dressed in gear with tanks with guns pointed at citizens just because of an “off chance” something may happen.

      This was sabotage. The only flares I saw were the results of the fireworks that went off.

      • August 18, 2014 at 2:04 pm

        One allegation came from a local black male protestor who claimed to be part of a group of black men who were going to organize to provide alternative security and get rid of outsiders. He claimed that some of them were white leftist radicals from Oakland. That kind of threw me.

    • August 18, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      yanno this reminds me so much of how during the civil rights movement the authorities blamed the out of towners for stirring things up….called Dr King a trouble maker…that “their” blk people were happy till Dr King came on the scene….

      August 18, 2014 at 12:52 pm


    • 30 jacquelineoboomer
      August 18, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      Last night, it was mentioned that a couple of those arrested were “from Illinois.” I think many, politicians and law enforcement, are building their entire “case” about “outside” agitators on that data point, true or not.

        August 18, 2014 at 2:42 pm


  10. 32 hopefruit2
    August 18, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Secondly, how many teenagers who have weed in their system deserve to have their bodies riddled with multiple bullets?

    • 33 Don
      August 18, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      Is the Washingotn Post saying Mike Brown had weed in his system?

    • 34 Linda
      August 18, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      So what ? Marijuana can stay in the system for weeks… and besides , it does not make a person aggressive..

      • 35 Allison
        August 18, 2014 at 1:09 pm

        Isn’t weed legal in CO. So what? What else do they have?

        • 36 nabsentia23
          August 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm

          But, not in MO where this happened.

          Besides, just like Linda said, it can stay in the system for weeks and it doesn’t cause aggression.

          I knew the county would do something like this. They are trying to vilify Brown. And this finding still doesn’t justify him getting shot.

    • 37 nospin
      August 18, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      I call BS on the weed.

  11. 39 hopefruit2
    August 18, 2014 at 12:58 pm

  12. August 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Hello everyone, I very rarely comment but I am here everyday if time permits several times in a day. From my avatar you can see I am West Indian. I am Jamaican but have lived in Barbados for several years. What is the reason for me saying this. Like a lot of West Indians I have family in the States. One of my sisters live in New York and she has a 20 year old son in college. Like a lot of youngsters he has friends they go to the cinema and whatever else they do. He likes to wear his cap the “wrong way around”. I have been in total pain over what is in happening in Ferguson. I keep saying to myself that could be my nephew. I immediately called my sister and said to her I hope you speak to your son and she responded that she speaks to him constantly. But is that enough why can’t we live comfortably knowing that everytime they leave the house they will be back safely?

  13. 43 jacquelineoboomer
    August 18, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    Like the way this guy framed the message.

  14. 44 Alycee (@jazziz2)
    August 18, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Had a response from the lady in the wheelchair that was gassed last night; I invited her to join our conversation:

  15. 45 jacquelineoboomer
    August 18, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    This is a little telling, from Goldie.

    • 46 jacquelineoboomer
      August 18, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      This was her original tweet. I wanted to see if she’d disavow Rev. Al. (This isn’t important in the grand scheme, but I found it interesting.)

      • 47 COS
        August 18, 2014 at 1:34 pm

        Goldie is very good at leveling criticism against folks who are trying to help? What is she doing??? She is they typical pundit.

        • 48 Nena20409
          August 18, 2014 at 1:42 pm

          perhaps she has a beef with Rev Al? Her tweet jabs are incorrect and foolish.

          • August 18, 2014 at 2:02 pm

            she and others like her have a beef with the REV because ultimately…he commands the respect that they do not have….so they make fun of the fact the he might not say words correctly…etc… …but REV gets it….and has had much skin in the game..for a long time

            • 50 57andfemale
              August 18, 2014 at 2:13 pm

              That’s because Rev. Al gets off his ass and does stuff, rather than having lived an entirely privileged life sitting in air conditioned studios and pontificating.

      • August 18, 2014 at 1:47 pm

        Has she seen this?

        • 52 jacquelineoboomer
          August 18, 2014 at 2:45 pm

          I kind of left my response to her ambiguous, to see what she’d say. (“Heh.”) Pretty sure she’s claimed STL as her hometown, and not too sure she wants outsiders in, either.

    • 53 arapaho415
      August 18, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      In-fighting among people on the same side of the issue is not helping.

      Wish people could let go of their egos when such a vile crime has been committed.

  16. August 18, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Joe Madison on with Tom Hartmann few minutes ago. He is also saying the saboteurs are, for the most part, not from Ferguson. Said there are a FEW from Ferguson ,but handful. Said one from NC.

    Earlier TH spoke by phone with a young press/media guy who is down there. As best I could figure out, his account was very close to Joe Madison’s. Connection was not clear even after turning up volume so difficult to catch everything.

    • 55 0388jojothecat
      August 18, 2014 at 8:30 pm

      I heard that too Tnmtgirl……..it was hard to catch what he was saying poor phone quality or he was talking too close to phone.

  17. 56 Alycee (@jazziz2)
    August 18, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    St Louis County website is finally back up and running. After all that we’ve seen this week, I don’t buy that they were brought down by nefarious outsiders…

    St. Louis County web services status
    Viewed: 331 time(s)

    After remediation of a concerted denial of service attack from US and international sources, the main web site http://www.stlouisco.com has been restored to service. We will restore the other web sites in the following sequence:

    Children’s Service Fund – keepingkidsfirst.org
    Taxes and Assessment – revenue.stlouisco.com
    Building permits – aca.stlouisco.com
    interactive property data and crime maps – maps.stlouisco.com
    Parks reservations -reserve.stlouisco.com

    We regret the inconvenience caused by this outage and appreciate everyone’s patience.


  18. August 18, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    My dear friend Michael W. Twitty is a culinary historian and food history interpreter. His post on his blog Afroculinaria is so moving and important. My heart is so heavy. Thank you for this place to come. I am saying the Serenity Prayer on a loop. I am broadcasting grateful prayers to heaven 24/7 i’m sure it happens in my sleep, for TOD and all the good worthy souls who keep it alive and powerful, and those who comment and those who lurk. Everybody take care.

    • 58 mtmarilyn
      August 18, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      That is a very powerful post. Thanks for bringing our attention to it. We are all of heavy heart right now. Prayer and this community help to keep me going.

  19. August 18, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Just about everything the FPD did compromised the crime scene and contaminated the evidence. Every officer that was present at the crime, scene as well as the chief, should be arrested and charged with accessory to murder. Why they have not yet been suspended is an issue in itself.

  20. August 18, 2014 at 1:37 pm

  21. 61 Nena20409
    August 18, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Hello TOD.

    The last 18 hours…..just too sad.
    Thanks TOD for keeping folks like me informed.
    Bloody Sunday and Manic Monday.

  22. 62 yardarm756
    August 18, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    In my mind, black and brown folks are caged canaries in this coal mine of “Democracy”. The problem is the “birds” want out of their cages and the “master” ain’t liking it.

  23. 63 Nena20409
    August 18, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Sen Jim Jeffords…..in 2001, he denied GW Bush the Senate control. He has died at age 80.

  24. August 18, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    Thank you TOD for this excellent coverage. Hopefruit has excellent strategy – to keep the focus on the perpertrators via twitter (including guy who is convening the grand jury) and not get distracted by shiny objects. Best thing about Dr Baden is that he is well known amongst the general public and, i suspect, trusted – even by those who watch Fox news due to Dr Baden’s frequent appearances over the years. That was a good idea to get him to do an alternate autopsy report. Makes FPD look even more suspect.

  25. 65 Nena20409
    August 18, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Is, they must Stop undermining Cpt Johnson. That is part of the problem since Friday….with the release of the video

    • 66 Nena20409
      August 18, 2014 at 1:46 pm


    • August 18, 2014 at 2:10 pm

      hello Nena…

      does this mean that the chief police and PD have been relieved of duty….and that Capt Johnson is truly in charge

      • 68 Nena20409
        August 18, 2014 at 2:22 pm

        I seriously doubt it.

        Cpt John has a boss……a White male. When The Cpt was introduced to Us on Wed/Thurs……the Gov never made mention of his boss. However, on Friday presser, after the Chief released the Video, the Gov during his presser said something about the Boss.

        Cpt Johnson was Never in charge of the deployment of those Militarized personnel. That is the frustration in his voice.

        • August 18, 2014 at 2:27 pm

          More subtefuge by the Gov

        • August 18, 2014 at 2:35 pm

          That was my first thought or question. In our dream world, Capt. Johnson would be in charge, but fear others are correct that he’s not.

        • August 18, 2014 at 2:48 pm

          Two of the press conferences I saw, Nixon did not introduce Captain Johnson directly. He introduced Johnson’s boss and stated that he had tasked Johnson’s boss with taking charge of security and the boss assigned it to Johnson. Almost like Nixon was distancing himself from the selection of Captain Johnson as the person in charge.

  26. 72 hopefruit2
    August 18, 2014 at 1:45 pm

  27. 76 amk for obama
    August 18, 2014 at 1:47 pm

  28. 77 Nena20409
    August 18, 2014 at 1:47 pm

  29. August 18, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    For those wanting to know where President Obama is, here you go:

  30. August 18, 2014 at 1:49 pm


  31. 80 Nena20409
    August 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm

  32. 82 Nena20409
    August 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm

  33. August 18, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    FYI –

  34. August 18, 2014 at 1:57 pm

  35. August 18, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Lots of rumors floating through the twitterverse that the Palestinians and Israelis have reached some form of agreement. Not posting tweets until official statements emerge – may happen in next couple of hours.


  36. 90 donna dem 4 obama
    August 18, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Sigh!!! <- I guess I'll be doing a lot of that today 😡

  37. 91 JER
    August 18, 2014 at 2:13 pm

  38. 92 donna dem 4 obama
    August 18, 2014 at 2:18 pm

  39. August 18, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    I am on my last nerve with these people.

    • 94 donna dem 4 obama
      August 18, 2014 at 2:29 pm

      Meta, put them on mute. That’s what I just did! Some of them on my timeline are good intention people they just have misplaced priorities as to what needs to be done to fix things right now.

      They think PBO can fix anything. They listen to these cable show hosts tell them that he should be doing or saying this or that and they buy into that crap.

      I sympathize with you because it’s so friggin frustrating.

  40. August 18, 2014 at 2:22 pm

  41. August 18, 2014 at 2:24 pm

  42. 98 MadameSoph
    August 18, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Just logged on to see this powerful post by Nerdy Wonka comparing portrayals by the media of Michael Brown and the protests and I am honored to have my words included. Thank you Nerdy for this and for all of your hard work keeping us informed and updated.

    The helicopter incident just hit me. I have really been able to observe that “Two Americas” thing in the months that I’ve been in this very affluent city.

    O.k., off to catch up on today’s posts before I head out. Thank you again for everything you and Chips do. This place keeps us sane, and when things in the world are too crazy to feel sane, you keep us informed and feeling not alone.

  43. 99 Alycee (@jazziz2)
    August 18, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    OT: This made me smile! 🙂

  44. August 18, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Wow, this is interesting:

  45. 105 Linda
    August 18, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Bringing up a recording of a friend of Officer Wilson calling in to a talk show while still not showing the Don Lemon interview with the young lady that had an altercation with the same office at the Quick Trip just last month where he harassed and swore at her using the same Fuck that he used with the boys in not a very balanced or ” all sides of the story ” reporting.

    Luckily….it is showing up on the web and will go viral……

    Why is CNN hiding this ?

  46. 107 jacquelineoboomer
    August 18, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    I’d say the MO National Guard should be sent in to keep an eye on the local, county, and state police.

    Not the people of Ferguson.

    Maybe that won’t be mentioned, but that’s the reason they’re required.

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