The outrage that followed when the convenience store robbery video was released and details from the grand jury were leaked was at least in part fury at having the narrative muddied. No one likes to see fresh gospel fact-checked. No one wants to hear that their martyr was in fact no angel. And, in the case of Wilson, no one wants to see their demon humanized.

My point here isn’t to “blame the victim” — or even assign blame in this tragic nationalized game of Rashomon. It’s simply to note that there is a huge chasm between the way the talking heads and politicians talk about America and the way Americans actually live their lives. Most people aren’t lawyers or academic theorizers. The people we interact with on a daily basis aren’t abstractions, they’re normal human beings, which means they’re a mixed bag. In the nightly shouting match, for instance, we’re told immigration is all This or all That. But in our lives we see the good and the bad.

The national media — on the right and left — has an insatiable desire for storylines so clear-cut they might as well be allegories. The problem is that life isn’t allegorical. It’s messy.