John Kass

America tells stories to itself in images, funny ones, sad ones, selfies we send out over our phones with snarky comments.

But lately, the ones that get the most traction are the angry ones. They seize us like hands around our throats.

And that's what the images from Ferguson, Mo., feel like to me, hands to the throat.

Police killed an unarmed teenager, the town erupted in anger.

Was he an innocent soon-to-be college freshman killed without reason? Or is he that hulking giant in the photo released late last week by police, of a suspect in a convenience store strong-arm robbery, a massive hand around the neck of the store clerk?

The only thing we know for sure is what happened after he was shot. There were riots, looting, politics, heavy-handed reactions from police and enough racial pandering to fill the 24-hour cable news cycle.

We've seen this movie before. And many followed their political prompts like sheep stumbling off a truck and into the pens. They lined up in the usual camps.

It didn't matter that the facts weren't in. There were feelings and agendas to address.

That's the problem with intense images and a lack of facts. They're open to interpretation and what we want to see happen.

But there's another image I saw last week. This one I like, and it doesn't come from Missouri.

It probably won't seize you by the throat. It has nothing to do with anger. It doesn't require interpretation or political translation or attitude. It is what it is.

But it brought me a smile when I needed it.

It's Little League baseball, and it's taking place this week in Williamsport, Pa., at the Little League World Series.

My team this year is the Jackie Robinson West All-Stars, a team from the Far South Side of Chicago, a part of town often ignored by the media, except for police reporters.

One grandfather who made the trip is Albert Nelson, 81, who was there to see his grandson hit three massive home runs and a triple last week.

Nelson was in the stands when his grandson Pierce Jones, 13, turned on a high pitch and send it on a line out of the ballpark. A TV reporter mentioned that he'd missed several doctor appointments to make it to the tournament.