Wednesday, April 29, 2015

We need more of these

Some bright spots, in the whole Baltimore mess:

 - Allegedly, some ministers went out and formed a human barrier between protestors and the police - so on the one hand, the police wouldn't be so tempted to use their batons on people merely yelling stuff, and on the other, I hope, to dissuade the protestors from throwing stuff or otherwise becoming violent.

- A mom, seeing her son out in the protestors, ran up to him, and effectively grabbed him by the ear (well, he was wearing an identity-concealing balaclava sort of thing, but it LOOKED like she grabbed his ear) and PULLED him out of the line. Go, mom! I think I saw her quoted as saying her son wasn't perfect but she didn't want him to be another Freddy Gray.

- People cleaning up after the mess, trying to put stuff back together.

Yes, the police overreacted in the original case. If they are responsible for the death of Gray they need to be dealt with as strongly as the law allows, and someone probably needs to go into a lot of the big-city police forces and clean house. I get that officers sometimes react badly because their job is dangerous and things can make them fear that they won't come home some night - but at the same time, there are people who tip over into seeing the perp as subhuman and deserving of punishment BEFORE he or she goes to trial, and that's not the way we should roll as a country. Yeah, sometimes a person might need to be grabbed a bit roughly and restrained, or perhaps even tasered in some cases - but doing something that might hasten their death, just because YOU think they're "scum" is wrong.

I don't know how to fix the problems in the police force but I know I've heard of several big-city forces that tend to treat certain suspects unduly badly, often because of their race. This needs to stop. Yes, there are dangerous, hardened criminals out there but from what I have read, in this case it looks like the cops were in the wrong.

The rioters were equally wrong. I have no beef with the people who stood and waved signs or who linked arms and walked and chanted. I DO have a problem with the people who broke other people's stuff, who destroyed what might have been the only easy-to-get-to pharmacy in the neighborhood, who made it even LESS likely businesspeople will open up businesses there (because of the perceived risk).Busting up a business, throwing rocks and bottles at people, that's not First Amendment rights.

It's a complicated and ugly problem and the result of too many people on too many sides not taking responsibility for themselves.

(And I admit, I cringed over the idea to close the schools - some children will have been scared by that. Even though I grew up in a secure and stable environment, if there had been "unrest" in my area, and they decided to close the schools, I would have been scared and confused and thought the world was ending. Older kids, too - some of the teens - is being out of school for the day really a good idea? I guess there was a curfew, but still).

I don't know. I fear we're just going to see more and more of this, as agitators continue to agitate (allegedly, residents said the worst actors were NOT people they knew from the neighborhood), as more and more people become convinced they are owed, as the economy continues to suck so people can't get decent jobs, as the family continues to fragment....and so on. I can sadly only see it in general getting worse, and the people who stepped up - like the clergymen and that mom - are gonna have to step up even harder.


Rob said...

As a fifty-something white male, I'm never sure what I can contribute to the conversation so I now only speak when spoken to.

Rob said...

I should have specified that I meant THIS race conversation. WOW, that first comment looks almost like a spammer wrote it.