Some concealed-carry advocates were dancing a jig April 27 as Baltimore burned. Police did nothing as black thugs looted and committed arson in Charm City. The reasoning on social media was if the mayor gives up the city to thugs, then people must be allowed to defend themselves.
Some said the riots were a reaction to another black man, Freddie Gray, dying suspiciously in police custody. Trouble began about two hours after his funeral in spite of pleads from Gray’s family and religious leaders for calm.
Youfs had an opportunity to throw bricks at police officers and seized it. Next came windows to be smashed. Then it was unattended police vehicles set ablaze. A little later, adults joined in to loot stores. Finally, some of east Baltimore turned into a holocaust.
Or as one Economist reader put it, the kids “enjoyed the thrill of throwing a brick at someone or something. Pictures and videos will capture their epic exploits. They will tell all their friends about being there. Or how their picture on TV led them to incarceration. And then they will wake-up one day and realize how stupid they were.”
However, when one examines the vast social media videos, one can easily conclude the funeral and riots are more coincidental than linked. For instance, boyz were posing for a news crew smiling and flashing gang signs until one stole the producer’s bag and a chase ensued.
RIGHT TO RIOT?
Baltimore’s mayor said she ordered police to allow protesters to exercise their right to free speech. “We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that, and that’s what you saw this evening,” Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said at a press conference April 27 as portions of her city burned.
The mayor did not explain why she thinks free speech is comparable to criminal activity. After all, free speech is a right guaranteed in the constitution. Arson, destruction of property and theft are crimes.
Activists in Baltimore may want to recall her honor after the mayor’s handling of these riots. A mindset that a few businesses can be torched, after they are looted, private property can be destroyed, even a churches senior housing project turned to ashes for some greater good does not serve a public official well.
Municipalities work hard to invite industry into towns, particularly under-served areas. Business lessens blight, pays taxes and hires people who in turn pay taxes. In other words, municipalities profit from commercial entities. In return, local governments are supposed to provide certain resources, such as safety and protection.
Rawlings-Blake made a conscience decision to not protect a drug store in a poor neighborhood. She left a liquor store and shopping center unguarded. Where will the people who worked in those stores find paychecks in the future? Some of the shops were small, uninsured businesses. What happens to the owners, employees and shoppers?
People that actually live and work in that town should gather and push for an initiative to recall the mayor for gross negligence. On the other hand, some of the folks who live in the area acted heroically.
Who will forget the mother who discouraged her son from joining the mob? Or Robert Valentine who told rioters they need to go home. And members of the 300 man march group that set out to separate thugs from police.