Since the situation in Ferguson, Missouri is drawing a lot of attention from people no where near Ferguson I though I would make a little map of Missouri to put the location of this situation into context:
Now Missouri isn't actually a rectangle, but the arrangement of interesting parts of Missouri can be well described in terms of the shape. Let's consider places marked on this map from least interesting in current situation to the most interesting.
- Northern Missouri is largely empty and of little consequence to anything at all outside of some small towns along the Mississippi River like Hannibal which hold some interest for purely historic reasons.
- Southwest Missouri is a desolate wasteland, but unlike Northern Missouri it is somewhat populated.
- Southeast Missouri contains the Ozarks which are somewhat interesting.
- On the Western edge of the state straddling the border with Kansas is Missouri's second city, Kansas City. It's barbecue is of notable excellence, but it is interior to Missouri's first and second cities in nearly every way.
- Interstate 70 is the major thoroughfare for traffic in the state. Most interesting things in Missouri exist within a few miles of Interstate 70.
- At roughly the midpoint between Kansas City and St Louis is the landmark alternately know as Columbia, Missouri or the Mizzou campus and its supporting infrastructure. Notable for having a roughly a third of the population of St Louis City proper and being the line for which on either side discussion of "the big city" automatically refers to the city on their side.
- Jefferson City is inconveniently located well away from I-70, sitting on the much shittier US Highway 50, which for much of its run is not a multi lane freeway. State Government happens here, kind of.
There's just a few places left on this map now.
- St Louis City which is the major city left on the map. St Louis City is completely separate administratively from the surrounding County's government thanks to a bunch of ancient drama. Located in St Louis is the Wainwright building which a something of an outpost for the State Government in the City, and where a nonagenarian Holocaust survivor was arrested with 7 other people for voicing opposition to the National Guard deployment in Ferguson. Since St Louis City and County are separated administratively, the City police have so far been largely able to avoid criticism as they aren't really involved in this clusterfuck, at least not yet.
- St Louis County is the region surrounding the City. It's where the bulk of the metropolitan area's population lives and most of it is towns stacked on top of other towns with the borders being rather arbitrary. West County is where the wealth generally sits tucked away with relative safety. Generally the character of parts of the county carry as though radiated outward from the city. North County is a lot like North City, ditto for South County and West county. Much of St Louis County policing seems to get characterized as "Keeping City Problems in the City."
- Ferguson is the where most of the news is happening.
Enjoy this bit of geographical context.