BALTIMORE: Lessons from an American Crisis



The Rev. Westley West leads a march for Freddie Gray to the Baltimore Police Department’s Western District police station, Wednesday, April 22, 2015, in Baltimore. Gray died from spinal injuries about a week after he was arrested and transported in a police van. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)


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As you probably have heard since the death of Freddie Gray caused by spinal injury, the people of Baltimore took to the streets to protest this injustice. Sadly alongside these peaceful protests some people turned to violence and destroyed public property as well as injured some police officers. People view these events in different ways, some think violence isn’t the answer and some think that is necessary when there isn’t anything being accomplished without it.

“With everything that we’ve been through, ain’t no way you can sit here and be silent in the face of injustice,” — Rev. Jamal H. Bryant’s eulogy for Freddie Gray at the New Shiloh Baptist Church

A demonstrator confronts police near Camden Yards during a protest against the death in police custody of Freddie Gray in Baltimore April 25, 2015. At least 2,000 people protesting the unexplained death of Gray, 25, while in police custody marched through downtown Baltimore on Saturday, pausing at one point to confront officers in front of Camden Yards, home of the Orioles baseball team. REUTERS/Sait Serkan Gurbuz

“When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is “correct” or “wise,” any more than a forest fire can be “correct” or “wise.” Wisdom isn’t the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the rioters themselves.” — Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic

I think for the vast majority, the city is calming itself down slowly but surely — other than the car fires and the street fires… Suffice to say, I am disappointed in what has happened in this beautiful city tonight; I’m disappointed in the fact that the damage has been done to these communities… This is not protesting, this is not your First Amendment rights — this is criminal acts, doing damage to a community that is challenged in some ways that do not need this, and do not need to be harmed in the way that we have today.” —Anthony Batts, Baltimore police commissioner

“My family wants to say, can you all please, please stop the violence? Freddie Gray would not want this. Freddie’s father and mother does not want no violence. Violence does not get justice.” — Fredericka Gray, twin sister of Freddie Gray

The media has been blaming the gangs as the responsible people for theses events and saying that they have united against the police, but they have responded by saying that the truce between gangs has not been for a common goal of harming the police officers but only to keep the peace. The disturbing case for the media, as it always is, has been that they are focusing too much on the negative and not much on the positive and peaceful protests that has been going on continuously such as the 300 Man March that happened recently.

Personally I don’t blame those who are showing their anger.  Just to be clear I’m not talking about those who are taking advantage of these events to steal and destroy. I’m talking about justified anger; the people who are frustrated and tired of being discriminated against all their lives without any change to the system. And the fact that some people are showing they are angry in violent ways shows a deeper problem, the problem with their education. Officials are wondering why are these people doing this instead of doing a more productive and less destructive protest. To those I say if you had spent the taxpayers money on less aircraft carriers, weapons and battleships and focused more on the education system maybe they would know better.  The education system in America is unequal and underfunded due to its control by local governments.

These events reflect on three democratic values, first the Property of the people in which they have the right to protect if someone tries to break in or destroy. Second would be Life, the value that this entire event is based on. The right that every single one of us has as a human being to live whether White, Black, Latino, Christian, Muslim, Atheist or any other. At the core we are all the same and should be treated as such. The third is Truth.  We can not have justice without truth and ignorance is the opposite.  Fear and ignorance lead to violence but education leads us to work peacefully for justice.


Wise words that are truly applicable in our days

Marin Luther King’s views on riots and violence still ring true today.