The girl in the photo is 12 year old Ciara Meyer. Ciara was murdered by a local constable when he showed up to her home with guns drawn and got into an altercation with her father over an eviction order filed against the family. Some people are quick to place blame on her father, who was armed. I’m not going to parse the details of this particular matter and decide who is more to blame for the events as they unfolded. My question is do we want to be a society that sends armed goons to the homes of families to force them out because they didn’t pay rent?
Certainly the first line in resolving civil matters like this does not have to be sending in the police with guns, framing the situation as one that falls within the realm of crime and punishment. This is another example of the criminalization of the poor. In this case, it is heartbreaking because a young girl died. However, we should see it as heartbreaking that we do this at all. Obviously if they weren’t paying rent there were issues, financial or otherwise, and perhaps if those issues would have been approached from the perspective of helping rather than punishing a family that was clearly struggling and in need of some help, Ciara Meyer would be alive today.