The headline article in the Daily Mail says: Huge blazes rip through Baltimore as Freddie Gray rioters torch buildings including a nursing home, loot stores and attack police, injuring fifteen officers, as violence rages into the night. Baltimore is indeed convulsing in race riots over the death of 25 year old black male, Freddie Gray. This is reminiscent of Detroit, 1967.
A week ago, Freddie Gray died in Baltimore City Police custody. Here is what we know. Approximately two weeks ago, Baltimore City Police officers showed up near where Mr. Gray was standing in public. Mr. Gray took off running. That gave police probable cause to stop him. Mr. Gray had no outstanding warrants. When police finally caught him, they did a search and found a small knife not unlike what millions of Americans carry around on their person every day, myself included. I am still not clear if it was a valid arrest even under insane Maryland law, but I think it was. Maryland is California writ small in terms of it being a leftist cesspool these days.
Mr. Gray was in good health when he was arrested and placed in the patrol car. Something happened during transport, precisely what is not clear, nor is it clear how long it took the police to get Mr. Gray medical attention. Mr. Gray died a week later of a severed spine sustained within an hour, if not minutes, of his arrest. This could be anything from simple negligence to murder.
The police seem to be doing the right thing in their investigation of the incident, and everything is being carried out in public. There has been no delay in the investigation, nor it would seem any attempt at a cover-up. And yet, Baltimore has exploded in black riots undertaken for no other reason than an opportunity to riot, apparently. The Mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, has been worse than useless. She did not officially ask the Governor for help at the outset of the rioting, and indeed, went so far as to instruct Baltimore City Police to give space to the rioters that "wished to destroy."
The Mayor has gotten more than she bargained for. Thugs have turned Baltimore into a nightmare, with the more feral elements of the black community threatening anyone who isn't black. There is at least one report of a serious racial attack in Baltimore, and already fifteen police have been injured in the riots. Black street gangs have made common cause to stop attacking each other and concentrate on attacking the police. The Governor has declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard.
Obama and the left have spent the last six years stoking racial tensions at every opportunity. In the absence of actual racism, they must still convince blacks in our country that we America is nothing more than Selma 1954 writ large. In the nightmarish fantasy world of the left, any effort to insure the integrity of the vote is somehow racism. Applying the same standards to all Americans in whatever context is somehow racist. George Zimmerman was a racist and Trayvon Martin was an innocent youth murdered in cold blood. In Ferguson, Missouri, an evil racist cop shot an unarmed gentle giant, Michael Brown, just as he had raised his hands in surrender.
Before 1968, when the leadership of the civil rights movement was in the hands of a Republican, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the clarion call of the movement was for a colorblind society with equality of opportunity. After the left took over the civil rights movement, they morphed the movement into one where blacks were to become a permanent victim class, a color-centric group forever entitled to special treatment and equality of outcome. Dr. King's niece, Dr. Alveda King, said in an interview yesterday that if her uncle could see the riots in Baltimore, "he would be hearbroken."
I have no doubt that she is right. The people of Baltimore and this nation have every right to be angry about what happened to Freddie Gray and to demand justice on his behalf. That is not what these riots are about. The rioters are people, many in systemic poverty, who have been fed for the past fifty years on a steady diet that they are victims, that their number one problem is white racism, and that they are entitled both to special treatment and to act out. The issues facing the lower socioeconomic strata of the black community - endemic poverty, single parent homes, horrid educational opportunities, violence and criminality - are real and pervasive, but white racism is not among them. And until the actual issues are addressed honestly, they will never even begin to be solved.
And in all fairness to the good people of Baltimore, black and white, the majority are not involved in this riot. It is a clique of thugs and young people, some of whom clearly have parents outraged at the actions of their children. Update: Indeed, indications are that at the heart of this violent rioting are elements of the groups involved in instigating the violence in Ferguson. That would not surprise me in the least. And it is to the honor of the family of Freddie Gray that they have spoken out clearly condemning the violence and rioting that occurred in the wake of Mr. Gray's funeral, and believe it to be motivated by concerns other than the death of Mr. Gray.
From Hot Air, here is a video of one Baltimore Mom delivering an epic whooping to a son she saw rioting in what Hot Air is calling the "slap heard round the world."
That child doesn't realize it at the moment, but he has a damn good mom.
There is also another video out of a retired Army MSG facing down the rioters in Baltimore. There is no organization as fully and successfully integrated as the U.S. military. It is what our nation should be aspiring to, not the balkanization of the left.
At any rate, the problems giving rise to these riots are not something the left wants to cure. The race hustlers have already started to portray what is happening in Baltimore as an eruption of anger at racist police, just as they did in Ferguson - that even though Baltimore's Mayor, the majority of its city government, and indeed, the majority of its police force are black. It has already started with Representative Elijah Cummings, from Maryland, who recently stated:
"This whole police community relations situation . . . is the civil rights cause for this generation, no doubt about it," . . .
Cummings noted that the Maryland delegation in Congress had asked for the Department of Justice to conduct a civil rights investigation into the death of Gray.
"We've got to take this department apart and try to figure out what is wrong and what is right," he said, referring to local police.
Just sickening. So, there will be another investigation by the DOJ. Prepare for a repeat of the Ferguson scenario. No racism will be found in the arrest of Freddie Gray, though I am sure they will find negligence in his treatment, or it could even rise to the level of murder. Then there will be a disparate impact statistical analysis of incidents in Baltimore and, lo and behold, it will show a higher incidence of arrest among blacks in proportion to their representation in the city. Wait for yet another DOJ lawsuit against the city and more NAACP mailers to raise money off of racism rampant in society, as alleged in the DOJ report. And of course, the next race riot will be in the offing, blacks will continue to vote 90% for Democrats, and their plight, worse now then in 1964 when this embrace of the Democrat Party began, will not improve in the slightest.
Update: From the left wing side of the media, here are ten tweets that really need to be seen to be believed. The least offensive is from Jamil Smith stating that the rioters are merely children attempting to communicate. The most offensive are from Vox, Salon and Te-Nehisi Coates apparently in full support of the violence. On CNN, Anchorwoman Brooke Baldwin has placed the cause of these riots at not merely the feet of the Baltimore City Police, but more particularly, military veterans hired into the police force who she thinks are all too ready to do violence.
This from former U.S. Rep. and former U.S. Army LTC Allen West:
[W]hat is playing out before our eyes is the depraved spectacle of anarchy, violence, wanton criminality and an utter lack of leadership. To have the mayor of Baltimore issue a statement allowing these thugs “space to destroy” is unconscionable. Is the rioting over Gray’s death or just an excuse for the most disgusting aspect of human nature? . . .
But the fact that police officers are being injured and that three black gangs have pledged allegiance in order to attack police is beyond disconcerting. What is there to gain by destroying one’s own neighborhood? Is this the new mantra of “no justice, no peace?”
Perhaps this would be somewhat understandable if it weren’t for the recent episode in North Charleston, South Carolina where a police officer fired several shots into the back of Walter L. Scott, killing him. There were no violent riots and the officer was arrested and charged. The Scott family even went so far as to demand that Al Sharpton not come to Charleston.
But in Baltimore they’ve had to cancel a baseball game and there are warnings for people to stay away from the city. The governor has finally declared a state of emergency to activate the National Guard. But where is the mayor of Baltimore? Where is the leadership for the city? Imagine the horns of a dilemma upon which the Baltimore police find themselves. The mayor basically gave carte blanche to the criminal thugs to take the streets and the police seemingly are only employed to try and contain the “destruction.”
As of now, 15 police officers have been injured. As the NY Post reported, “Baltimore police officers were injured on Monday as rioters threw bricks, broke windows, looted businesses and burned patrol cars in violent protests following the funeral of a black man who died after he was injured in police custody. The riots broke out just a few blocks from the site of the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray in northwest Baltimore and then spread through other parts of the city in the most violent demonstrations since looting in Ferguson, Missouri, last year.
Television images showed mobs of rioters jumping on top of a police car, destroying a taxi and setting two other patrol cars on fire after teenaged crowds ignored calls to disperse and clashed with lines of hundreds of police. Gangs had threatened to target police officers, local law enforcement said. Schools, businesses and train stations closed in Baltimore, a city of 662,000 people 40 miles (64 km) from the nation’s capital.”
So we are watching the result of a social media post calling for a “purge” for Monday at 3pm. But this is not just about the death of Freddie Gray, this is about something far more tragic: the breakdown of the inner city and the black community.
Where are the parents of these kids? Where are the adults and community pastors? Why are these kids responding to this call for violence instead of heading home and preparing for end of year final exams? Does anyone believe these looted businesses will be restored — therefore black unemployment in Baltimore will be even worse. Perhaps if there were a thriving job market and better opportunities, these black teens would be working in these stores, not looting them.
When I was watching the TV reports, Baltimore looked more like East Jerusalem than an American city with a proud patriotic heritage — Ft. McHenry the birthplace of our national anthem. And this is a city just some 40 miles away from our nation’s capitol — where is the leadership that demands this behavior is unacceptable?
The Baltimore police are showing incredible restraint because we all know the liberal progressive media is just waiting for some unarmed — although I consider tossing a brick a projectile — black kid to get shot.
My greatest fear is that there will come a day when police basically leave the urban communities to their own devices — in other words, abandon them and let them be overrun by gangs and other perpetrators of deplorable behavior. After all, the anarchist sentiment is to not abide by the rule of law — but rather to take matters into the hands of the mob and establish the rule of mobocracy. And if there are no elected officials willing to support the police — realizing that there are bad apples in any batch — then what is the motivation for police officers to patrol those disrespectful and unwelcoming streets?
Freddie Gray tragically lost his life, we know little about how or why. What we do know is that the black community of Baltimore is not comporting itself in a manner that will garner sympathy — but rather contempt.
The joys of living in the post-racial world of the left. It is obscene, not just that a segment of the black community should be acting out like this, but that the issues actually facing their community go unaddressed.
Update: At Powerline, Paul Mirengoff makes the point that these riots are not about racism or the Baltimore City Police:
The Post’s reporting suggests that, at root, the protests aren’t about the police department (which, as noted, is not a White institution and almost certainly not a racist one). One of the protest leaders said:
Officials are not interested in bettering our neighborhoods. People are tired of their quality of life, and they’re frustrated nobody helps them. They want to be heard, and they will do what it takes.
In other words, a population grown dependent on public officials is lashing out because said officials aren’t helping them attain the quality of life they desire.
I agree that the hard-working people of Baltimore have been let down by public officials. For one thing, liberal public policy has encouraged dependence on “officials.” For another, liberal housing policy helped produce the economic crisis that hit Baltimore so hard. In addition, liberal education policy has undermined educational opportunity. And now, liberal immigration policy seems determined to bring in foreign laborers to compete for jobs with hard-working, low-income Americans.
I find it depressing to see Baltimore in such a sorry state while Washington, D.C., fueled by the federal government, flourishes by comparison.
Obama spoke up on just that topic today, claiming that if Republicans would just pass an infrastructure bill, that would solve the problems actually at the root of the rioting. The left is completely out of ideas at this point. The solutions tried since the Great Society have not simply failed, but have made matters worse, and the only option remaining for the left is to pretend that the problems plaguing inner city blacks are all external. One wonders how much longer that canard will work?