The Baltimore riot has done what riots usually do. Besides the wonton destruction and the never ending cycle of lack of jobs and lack of employment due to no one wanting to build a business in these neighborhoods, real change usually occurs afterward because words, like this blog, do nothing to change mindsets on a national level. Cause a major riot however, and the whole world is suddenly looking at what caused it. This has led to massive changes in the past, most recently in Ferguson which exposed a racist culture within the police department and ousted many of the town leaders. There is every reason to believe that things may improve because of this, a fact that wouldn't have happened had peaceful protests been the only avenue. This doesn't mean I am recommending that people riot to get what they want, but Mao wasn't lying when he said political power is dealt through the barrel of a gun.
Change is hard, and both the police and black society have to change or else nothing ever will. Police have to stop acting like storm troopers, with a shoot first ask questions later mentality, and black people have to stop acting like children and grow up. You have the power to clean up your neighborhoods. You just have to try, which I will admit some of you are, just not enough. We have to end the war on drugs, pay people livable wages and create jobs even if they are unnecessary because everyone needs work. FDR got us out of the Depression by doing just that, almost literally paying one group to bury bottles and another to dig them up. We can't have 50% unemployment rates in inner cities and not expect trouble. We can't pay the other 50% pennies on the dollar to work and expect everything to work out. It won't, it hasn't, and it cannot continue.
All of this is happening as the Baltimore Police have come up with a rather novel idea of what happened to Freddie Gray, a story I totally do NOT believe. According to the cops and an unnamed "witness," Gray was banging around in his van cell trying to injure himself. Right. Nevermind the fact that this department has injured people before in a way that mimic Gray's injuries. Nevermind that the reported injuries don't match that scenario. Nevermind the fact that it took them weeks to come up with this bon mot, rather than right away, which would have been the truth, not this obvious lie. Nevermind the fact that this unnamed prisoner could not have seen what was going on in the next cell, the police statements taken before contradict this scenario as according to them, they found Gray unresponsive before putting the second prisoner in. So how could he have heard anything? I trust the police as much as I trust Obama crowing about the TPP and how great it will be. Got a bridge to sell me too?
On top of all of this, the mayor is getting heat from people who wonder why she allowed riots to happen in the first place. She has backtracked from her "thug" comment, saying hilariously that there are no thugs in Baltimore. Her own police department is staffed with thugs making that statement somewhat ironic. Many in the black community have said the word thug is the new word for nigger, which is asinine as the word is derived from India and the Thuggie cult, has no racial connotation, and is perfectly accurate in describing looters of any race. Some have suggested her stepping down but I see that as unlikely even if she did fumble the ball here.
Much more likely to see some fallout from this is former mayor and Presidential hopeful Martin O'Malley, whose tenure resulted in these out of control cops by escalating the unwinnable war on drugs. During his time, the cops arrested 100,000 out of a population of 650,000 and while crime did indeed drop, it also made unemployable a huge number of black men whose only avenue was more crime. How can we expect to fix anything if criminals have no other way to make a living than illegally? O'Malley was not the most popular of mayors and things like this will hurt anyone's chances of striving for a populist campaign.
I would like to give a special shout out to a hero from all of this and that is Toya Graham who knocked her 16 year old son around on camera after she caught him masked with a rock in his hand during the riots. Some have said she went to far, but I disagree. There is a big difference between a beating and a whooping and this kid got a whooping, something more parents should be doing of any race. She may have saved him a prison sentence or worse. That is good parenting and he should be getting her something awesome for Mother's Day.