I admit, it has been quite a while since I have posted a blog. I have been very busy with multiple family visits and home renovations. However, the media has put me in a position where I have to say SOMETHING about the constant attack on our police forces as a whole. I have already said my piece about the uprising in Missouri and how I feel it was an unwarranted excuse to cause damage and destruction clouded by a false cause so I won’t go there too much. I will, however, use it as a basis of comparison for the current issues in Baltimore as it lends itself quite well for that purpose. I have a feeling, in the future, this subject will become somewhat of a saga. For now, we’ll call this a sequel.
I will say up front, I have not done a whole lot of research on this one. I have just gotten some snippets from the news and some stories from my wife. The bottom line though, I am not here to spout out statistics today. What I have to say on this topic is more general in nature, so considering my lack of blogging lately, I decided to place a priority on getting a broad mind-set out verses an argument.
First, and foremost, I am not going to make too many excuses for the particular officers in the case of Freddy Gray, the young man who was injured and subsequently died in the days following his arrest in Baltimore recently. They had an obligation to perform their duties in a more professional and safety-minded manner. They were wrong. Regardless of the level of compliance (or lack there-of) of the subject, they had strength in numbers and could have done a better job. Albeit I understand a large portion of the injuries Mr. Gray experienced may or may not have been self inflicted, the police officers involved in this incident should be disciplined for their actions. I am not saying that an angry mob of citizens should have the right to lynch them in the streets (which is what these sadistic people want to be a part of), but instead the officers should be punished by those who have the authority and jurisdiction to enforce the judicial end of the law. This should only happen after a thorough investigation is complete and the facts are brought in front of a jury, disciplinary board, or whatever. This however, can’t happen expediently if the ones charged with upholding the law are so overwhelmed and spread thin dealing with all of the violence. If the forum that holds tribune over this incident decides the officers deserve criminal conviction or another manner of discipline, so be it. If not, that’s often because there wasn’t enough substantiation to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers were in the wrong. The news media certainly spins based upon potential ratings, and we need a more impartial and objective adjudication of the circumstances.
Okay, now to compare. There are several distinct differences between this incident and the one in Missouri a while back. First and foremost, this one actually has some semblance of the constitutional right to peaceful assembly about it. There are peaceful protests taking place in front of the City Hall of Baltimore, where such things ought to happen. This didn’t happen during the protests for Michael Brown (or at least it wasn’t shown on the news). There are also people out there standing up for what is right and advocating that it is counterintuitive to hurt people because someone got hurt. There are also people standing up for the rights of the rest of the police force who are now charged with calming the situation down, maintaining law and order, and protecting the lives and safety of the remaining populace.
Another difference is how the state of Maryland reacted verses the state of Missouri. Maryland wasted very little time calling in the National Guard and instituting a curfew. I was hoping they would do this from the get-go. Doing this allows the Baltimore Police Department to focus on crime prevention and apprehension instead of having to serve as a protection unit for the community. Additionally, the military is quite familiar with it’s practices regarding what is called the standing rules of engagement and the law of armed conflict. While this is not designed for domestic operations, it still comes into play when determining the level of threat and the response in regards to proportionality of attacking force verses the protection forces. Basically, that means that they understand and are highly trained to distinguish what level of force is needed to neutralize a threat without causing undue injury, death or any other unnecessary collateral damage. Military members undergo this training annually and upon any mobilization. Finally, the reason why calling in the troops was so vital is that decisions are hardly made by the individuals on the front lines. Actions are looked upon objectively and thought through as carefully as possible (given time constraints) prior to making any decision. They have a chain of command in which decisions are routed. Bottom line, I think that National Guard was the right call, and early action was the cherry on top.
Rioters are becoming a real pet peeve to me. Rioters these days are rioting for what they believe to be a cause (or they just want to be violent). It truly shows their lack of intelligence when they compare themselves to the rioters in LA in 1992, or the non-violent protesters of the Martin Luther King Jr. era in the south. None of these comparisons are accurate, and they are actually quite insulting. Don’t get it twisted, the LAPD was riddled with racism and those rioters actually had a reason, albeit rioting is never really a good solution. The rioters had a cause though–a reason. Then, to even consider comparing themselves to the likes of MLK Jr. or Gandhi is sickening. They preached non-violence! Sure, they would get beat on by the police, but the more and more they resisted passively, the more and more southern white racists, and British squatters lost the high ground and eventually lost their battle of hatred and ignorance. People who are rioting now are blindly clinging to a cause they can’t even intelligently communicate. They refuse to allow time for due process and the judicial system. They are just going to hurt people until they feel justice has been achieved. Who the hell are they to determine justice? Are these folks pillars of the community? Are they successful business people? Are they public figures and politicians? No! They are high school kids, bad parents, welfare parasites, violent criminals, and sadistic morons who just want to hurt people and destroy things that they don’t have for themselves. Bottom line…they are haters!
What is worse than the rioter? The looters of course! These people just wait for the authorities to be tied up with other things so they can scavenge off of the people and businesses who no longer have police protection available. They are the mouse while the cat is away! They are blood sucking vultures. They are rank opportunists who have no decency what-so-ever and no foresight or intelligence to understand they are creating the slums and ghettos they are screaming to be free of but won’t work towards escaping. Enjoy that new TV and pair of Jordans.
“Hey, nice TV. Where did you get it?” asks the young man’s mom.
Then again, I don’t think these people have enough self respect to worry about such taboos as explaining to their mothers, fathers, friends, relatives, etc, that they stole it in an act to capitalize on the misfortune of others. Looters are lower in my book than worms.
Then there was the false shooting reported by citizens. They said a cop shot an unarmed black man in the back. The media reported it before getting any corroboration (they admitted to screwing up too [Fox News]), and then it was discovered no rounds were shot by police. The subject’s gun went off after being pepper sprayed because he was not complying with the police. So he was not unarmed and the individual apprehended was the only one who showed any indication he would use deadly force. The community just wanted to hurt the police’s reputation and perhaps get some of them hurt. Not perhaps. They want to hurt police. Go to the other end of town where all the looting is happening, then you will see what it’s like without police. Maybe this is the metaphor for all of the zombie apocalypse flicks and shows out now-a-days.
The worse problem we are facing today in regards to incidents like these is blame. Who’s fault is it? Well, white people of course. No one can explain why, but we are all just racists who want to see young innocent black men and women beaten and killed by cops. I am sick of it. There are certainly socio-economic problems within systems of our government. There are similar problems that are specific to lower income and impoverished neighborhoods. However, most of the problems being foot stomped by rioters, protesters, and even activists are caused by the people in these neighborhoods in the first place. I do not believe that the opportunities to succeed for folks in poor neighborhoods are based upon race. For the most part, so this is not an absolute, a persons financial situation does not create lack of opportunity. Sure, it may make it more difficult, but that is why we devote ourselves to bettering ourselves and our respective living condition. If you are in your 20s living at home with your parents, while picking up a $200 per week paycheck from your choice of fast food restaurants and blowing that money on new sneakers and/or drugs and alcohol, it is not anyone else’s fault you are not succeeding. Opportunity doesn’t just show up in a basket with your welfare check attached in the shape of a big bow!
I am tired of my tax dollars paying to feed people who don’t care enough about their homes or their families to do a thing to better their situation and their place in the world. It is merely lack of motivation to succeed and lack of hard work. When I was born, my family was middle class. Then, as a result of my parents divorcing, my mother re-marrying, and my step father getting caught up in the corporate downsizing of the 80s and 90s that effected so many 40-60 year old professionals, we ended up pretty poor. We didn’t have the money to send me to college. In fact, I got an academic scholarship and a full ride because of hard work. Then, I blew it! I dropped out of college without even a full semester under my belt. Now, it has been many years since then and I am back in the middle of the road. I work very hard at my job. I have fifteen years with my company and I am as happy at my job as anyone in my position can be. Do you know why? I have everything I have earned and nothing I have not. No excuses. You want it, you get it. No, not by stealing it.
Now to talk quickly about race. I have said before, the black community does not need a cause to fight for. They simply need honorable and respectful representation. I would like to add one question to the mix? Do white people deserve less than black people? I don’t think this is about equality anymore, I think that it is about come-up-ins. I understand that black people have had to and often times may still have to deal with a bit of racism here and there. I can not however deny the fact that white people deal with it every day. We silently keep our opinions to ourselves. We continuously patronize black americans while walking on egg shells, being so very careful not to call a black person black, but instead, African American. I have a rule…it’s sort of like my holiday rule. If someone wishes me a happy Hanukah, I say “you too.” I am not Jewish. Everyone is entitled to celebrate however they would like. If someone identifies themselves to me as an African American, I will of course respect their feelings on the matter and refer to them in the manner they wish to be referred to. Having said this, I am not Anglo-Irish American. I am just white. Albeit, I am more of a shade of peach as most black people range from olive to dark brown, but this is the way it is. It’s not designed to be an insult. In fact, in young black culture today, the worse derogatory term in the book is often used as a term of endearment for friends. This word was derived from slavery and hate. Stop it! I am an equal opportunity type guy. I see men and women. Not black and white. I see young and old. Not black and white. I see boy and girl. Not black and white. The more we consider our differences a basis for violence and distain, and the more we put it in everyone’s faces, the longer it will continue to be a problem. Want to end racism…stop talking about it. Stop worrying about it. Leave it alone. If you feel someone is racist. Don’t have anything to do with them…or maybe, I don’t know, ask. There are too many faux pas in this world today to let this one last as long as it has. Okay….I’m about to get off the soap box now.
My thoughts, prayers, and condolences go out to all of the people of Baltimore, and Ferguson, Missouri, who have suffered because of foolish people who just want so badly to have a cause that they will jump on the first thing that gives them an excuse to destroy something. You are innocent in this and do not deserve what your community has done to you, your livelihoods, and your homes. God Bless.