Here are some thoughts on that:
1) We don't trust the police: It a understood idea that many people of color don't trust the police because of how they have - historically and recently - been treated by them. I think it is also perceived by white Americans that they also can't trust the police because they see them as inattentive, slow-acting, and badly managed, and (for some) if an armed robber came to one's house, one would have to take their own vigilante action because the police can't be counted on. They aren't prejudiced against, they're just at the mercy of sloppy, ineffective forces. Which is a legitimate problem for everyone, regardless of the color of your skin - but if you also have the added caveat of being a person of color, then distrust of the police is likely going to be doubled.
2) We live in a fear-mongering society: All I hear about are these news reports about violence and danger. While it's true that all of these things are going on, it's hard to get a grasp on just how commonplace these things are when five different news stories are reporting on the same occurrences in five different ways and tying them to other crimes and constantly operating in the post-9/11 mindset in which there is no security and we're all in constant danger. Which we are. But that isn't really any different then when we were in constant danger from plagues, famines, and being eaten alive by wild animals. The human race has always been in constant danger. We now just have 24-hour a day news services to remind us of it.
Let me use another example of this fighting fire with fire issue in an issue that doesn't actually involve weapons (as that might make my point more muddled). The other day I was approached by someone from Greenpeace on the way to work. While I'd love to help support an environmental group, I really can't afford it at the moment (and good old skeptical me seems to recall Greenpeace being less than stellar). Regardless, the guy who approached me was very aggressive about trying to get me to donate by talking about how "fat Americans" buy fast food and throw out all of these containers made from ancient forests while also telling me that I should support them no matter my monetary level because the rich aren't going to make such changes. He went on to tell me that many of the people who donate are broke and/or homeless and really want to make a change now rather than waiting until financial stability occurs - which he used to combat my excuse that I am not financially stable enough to make such donations. Basically, he said (and I am paraphrasing, but this is the gist of it), "It's great that you've got a new job but you should give your money to us because we'll use it to good ends and you won't, and financial stability may never come so stop being so selfish."
I was offended by his rhetoric on about twelve different levels. First off, to mark out "fat Americans" as this sort of generic, ignorant, comfortably elitist class pisses me off. Obesity is a serious issue throughout all classes ESPECIALLY in lower classes, fast food is often consumed by those who cannot afford other meals, and I myself was physically one of those "fat Americans" when I was younger (and still am mentally). Good job, you've offended me immediately by assuming the way people look equals what they do and how they live their lives. (I'd also like to note he was shocked to hear I was twenty-three because I had a "baby face" but acted "so mature for twenty-three." Look, if we hadn't been having this conversation in 17 degree Fahrenheit weather and he hadn't thanked me twenty times for being so polite because he hadn't had anyone be polite to him for hours, I might have gotten rude. Because I am seriously developing an age complex here. Baby face? I just... ugh...) Secondly, the fact that he was trying to guilt trip me into donating makes me angry - let me make my own choices, dude. I already donate monthly to another organization it is. And their representatives didn't offend me.
Fighting fire with fire? Not my cup of tea.
I'd also like to take a moment to appreciate all the Roman references in The Hunger Games - after recently reading Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, I have a whole new cascade of feels about Cinna. And if I had time to write a dissertation, I'd love to talk about all the Shakespearian tie-ins I could make to The Hunger Games trilogy (but I'm saving my Shakespeare fandomness for Friday's post).