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Protests in Baltimore Follow Death of Freddie Gray

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I'd feel like a bad Baltimorean if I didn't post this here.

 

For those that aren't familiar with the situation, Freddie Gray died after suffering a fractured spine and a crushed voice box at the hands of the Baltimore Police last Sunday.

 

Yesterday, Saturday, protesters took to the streets in what was the largest protest since Gray's death.  The protests were peaceful for most of the day, but turned violent later in the afternoon.

 

An article on the protests

 

An article on the arrest and questionable treatment of Freddie Gray

 

Although this is Buzzfeed, it does provide a timeline of the protests, with a lot of multimedia

 

Freddie Gray's twin urges that the violence be stopped

 

I won't say more for the sake of neutrality.. I will let you all judge for yourselves.

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But you could have added it to the non-political events thread.  Anyway: This from the family.

 

Analysis:

 

Considering the number of these things in the U.S. recently, I think the Americans are sitting on a powder keg.  One really charismatic leader could jell all this anger, and cause a great deal of trouble.  Fortunately, the general apathy in America seems to be damping all this down.

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Riots in Baltimore after funeral.

 

On Monday, hundreds of people set fires, looted stores and confronted police across the city.

 

It would seem that there were many outsiders there just for the purpose of riot and looting.  "State of Emergency" with curfews etc.  Hasn't the mayor of that poor city ever heard of "reading the riot act", or does that not apply in U.S. cities.

 

It looks like martial law, no matter how you cut it.  Are the cities in the U.S. that much out of control?  Says something about the underworld and the disenfranchised fringe in what should be one of the wealthiest societies on earth.

 

In any case, if the law breaks down due to riot and looting, then the employment of the military is justified, if tragic.  Looters caught with the loot should be shot on sight.

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It would seem that there were many outsiders there just for the purpose of riot and looting.  "State of Emergency" with curfews etc.  Hasn't the mayor of that poor city ever heard of "reading the riot act", or does that not apply in U.S. cities.

 

It looks like martial law, no matter how you cut it.  Are the cities in the U.S. that much out of control?  Says something about the underworld and the disenfranchised fringe in what should be one of the wealthiest societies on earth.

 

In any case, if the law breaks down due to riot and looting, then the employment of the military is justified, if tragic.  Looters caught with the loot should be shot on sight.

 

There is a very good reason why that's NOT how the situation is being handled. That reason being that that would serve to escalate the violence and potentially make matters a lot worse.

 

There's a key thing about America that needs to be remembered - the people are armed. What this means is that if the authorities charged in full force and did things like shoot people caught looting on sight, it would be naive to think that people wouldn't grab their guns and start shooting back, thus taking a city suffering from riots and turning it into an outright war zone. Indeed, the very reason we have the second amendment is to prevent the government from being able to turn our own troops against us like that. It forces authorities to show restraint in the face of public unrest since if they fail to do so, the people can fight back.

 

And even besides that, what is the better outcome of this - a bunch of stores looted, or a bunch of people shot dead attempting it? Human life is more important than property damage. That wouldn't even be an eye for an eye, it'd be a life for an eye. A cure worse than the disease.

 

Let's also not forget that the reason all this protesting and rioting is happening is because someone was brutally murdered by the police without due process and not in self defense - he was thrown in the back of a van, handcuffed but not wearing a seatbelt, and allowed to be jostled all over the place as the cops drove him around, and he died a few days later from the injuries he sustained during that trip. The crime this man was arrested for? Turning and running when a police officer made eye contact with him. This sort of behavior by the people whose job is ostensibly to protect the communities they serve is disgusting and is naturally going to provoke a lot of anger. This means that it is in the best interest of the authorities to take as little action to counter the riots as practical, because the more action they take, the more they are going to just look like the bad guys and provoke more anger against them.

 

Therefore, the way this is being handled is the right way.

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Therefore, the way this is being handled is the right way.

Well, I don't know about the right way, but probably the best that can be hoped for at the moment, and certainly better than the proposed alternative.

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Shooting looters on sight would not go over well. While looting is, of course, a bad idea (and a crime), they are still entitled to a fair trial if caught. As a somewhat less extreme example of the situation Duke presented, we can easily look back to Ferguson. There the cops with army gear fired tear gas at people, which very clearly escalated the situation very quickly and likely made the riots last for days longer than they would have originally. I mean, I think at least four buildings were burned down due the riots, and I'm sure that can be traced back to the police overdoing it in the beginning.

 

...back to Baltimore now...

 

While I don't really think that some of the citizens are reacting in the most mature manner (looting, etc), I definitely agree with their cause and am not a huge fan of the cops. Because of this, and my seething hate for corporations, I wasn't really that saddened by the footage the CVS looting or the burning police cruisers (or the guy bashing a cruiser's window in with a trash can). While I don't really like violent protests, I'm ready for what's wrong here to be fixed - and I can tell many others are as well. This problem is as old as the country itself... it's about time it got fixed. People (especially people of certain ethnicities) have been treated poorly by the police for a long time; they are at their breaking point. The inner viciousness and/or corruption of many of the police departments has been exposed and people are mad - and they have every right to be. I look at these riots as a very obvious sign that something is very wrong in this country - and it's not the citizens' fault. Some welcome change is on the horizon.

 

Don't get me wrong, I definitely do not condone lawless riots generally, but if there's a good cause then I think the people who passionately care about an issue should get out there and make their voice heard (if it's been ignored, which in this case many complaints over the years have been ignored...).

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I'm not a particular fan of CVS either but, like all neighborhoods, that one needs a drugstore.    For many people there it was where they got supplies, including their groceries and prescriptions.   It's not like there is another store like that around the corner.   and I couldn't blame CVS if they didn't want to rebuild.   Access to food and supplies gone.  Access to those jobs gone.  This isn't helping anything.

 

It's not just the big corporations; more than a few small businesses were destroyed as well.  Here is a family owened shoe store which was gutted.   They interviewed the owner and an employee.  She was asking "How am I supposed to feed my kids now?"

 

I remember the '68 riots well.   A lot like last night only it was more widespread and went on for days.  I understand being angry.  I understand lashing out.  I do not understand destroying your own neighborhood and driving law abiding people and businesses away, thereby making your own life worse than it already is.

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Theres a right and a wrong way to handle the situation, and this is the wrong way. By rioting it makes it seem like the death is in vain, that people could care less about the life loss and more of themselves. His own family keeps asking for peace and are not getting it. People who are rioting over this need to look at what they are accomplishing, and thats nothing. They think by rioting that they'll get a point across and cops will listen, but it does the reverse. Its called using common sense instead of idiocy to show your disappointment and grief. Instead of rioting protest in a peaceful, friendly way, and by doing so the police will listen to you. In my area the cops are crooked, and double team you when pulling you over, making things worse, in other places cops are respectful of citizens. To burn places, to loot, to do everything the wrong way will only prove 1 thing, that violence just makes it worse, and failing to listen to the reasons of a cause (and I believe police need to answer to this as well), just proves that the cops will win rather then getting a point across that they are trying to send. I've never liked cops, but I'm not about to riot to prove it.

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I remember the '68 riots well.   A lot like last night only it was more widespread and went on for days.  I understand being angry.  I understand lashing out.  I do not understand destroying your own neighborhood and driving law abiding people and businesses away, thereby making your own life worse than it already is.

 

The other important point that needs to be understood is that media coverage is going to be skewed towards reporting on the violence since that's what gets ratings. I have friends in Baltimore and they've been pointing out several key things that are not being given their due coverage:

- There were a good 10,000 people protesting peacefully for several days before any looting occurred. The overwhelming majority of the protesters in that crowd did not take part in any subsequent looting. Some have even stepped forward and attempted to stop it by putting themselves between unruly individuals and their targets. Mr. Gray's family is also on the record as opposing any violence.

- This morning there were huge crowds of local ordinary citizens gathering to clean up the mess that was made last night. One of my friends was among them. None of them were paid to do this, they all just came together to help their community out on their own time.

- On a more lighthearted note, there have been a bunch of videos making the rounds of this dude doing Michael Jackson impersonations in the street in order to provide a distraction from the madness.

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Instead of rioting protest in a peaceful, friendly way, and by doing so the police will listen to you.

No they won't. Minorities have protested in peaceful, civilized manners against the systemic racism of the American police before and nothing has changed. Sometimes, you need a good hard riot to get peoples attention. And after the riots are over, then you can begin talking about what must change. 

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Yes, because looting stores and rioting is what will cure injustice. Baltimore should probably get a better mayor before looking to change things, anyway. She isn't exactly the sharpest knife in the cabinet.

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Instead of rioting protest in a peaceful, friendly way, and by doing so the police will listen to you.

No they won't. Minorities have protested in peaceful, civilized manners against the systemic racism of the American police before and nothing has changed. Sometimes, you need a good hard riot to get peoples attention. And after the riots are over, then you can begin talking about what must change.

A good hard riot is also a wonderful way to convince people that you deserve the treatment you are receiving.

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Instead of rioting protest in a peaceful, friendly way, and by doing so the police will listen to you.

No they won't. Minorities have protested in peaceful, civilized manners against the systemic racism of the American police before and nothing has changed. Sometimes, you need a good hard riot to get peoples attention. And after the riots are over, then you can begin talking about what must change. 

 

 

 

Still not going to see any change from the police.  Unless D.C. forces change with legislation.  The police have nothing to fear from the public; they have enough riot gear, weapons and tanks to subdue a nationwide uprising.  1865 can't possibly happen again; the government's far too powerful.  You can't beat 'em, so you have no choice but to work with them.  Besides, I think we can all agree that internal violence is a sign of a backwards-progressing society.  The attitude about the original problem should be "stop police violence," not "answer violence with more violence."

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Someone in this thread wanted looters caught red-handed to have a fair trial.  If this isn't carrying the rule of law too far, I can't imagine what is.  There are not enough police to take these fools into custody, so the best choice is give them their Darwin award.  Uncivilized behaviour deserves action in kind.

 

Now, an example of this can be seen in the Vancouver hockey riot of a few years back.  The police collected video evidence from anyone who cared to hand it in, studied the images and identified many perps.  The trials are continuing to this day.  A great way to plug up the criminal courts.

 

Would the citizens of Baltimore be willing to hand over their videos of the recent conflict to the authorities?  Do the authorities have enough people to study this evidence and act upon it?

 

A word in favour of the police forces in the United States:

 

These people go in harm's way every day they put on their uniform and report for work.  They are without a doubt traumatized on a daily basis by the carnage they find on the highways, often finding the people they are supposed to be protecting scattered across the roads in pieces.  It is no wonder that some of them are non compos mentis at times, probably suffering from a kind of PTSD.  So they over react in cases where there is often no necessity.  This is only one example.  They are regularly exposed to man's cruelty to man.

 

The black vs. white culture that has been an adversarial problem in the United States since 1865 doesn't help.  The continued glorification of the defunct Confederacy, the continued display of the Confederate battle flag is an incitement and reminder of the intolerance and general stupidity that brought about the American Civil War.  It seems the enforced truce is over, and the next phase is beginning.  There is too much propaganda and brain washing going on on both sides.

 

The probable solution is more training, especially in politesse, for these citizen soldiers and much more time off to recover from some of the terrible things they have witnessed on a daily basis.  Perhaps a separate psychiatric service for those most exposed. 

 

Police should not be giving orders to anyone.  They might suggest, but the word 'please' needs to be heard more frequently.  They are citizens like everyone else, and wearing a police uniform and carrying weapons does not jump them up into some super man state.

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Op Ed piece by CBC's Washington Correspondent.

 

Has the disrespect for the police started in the 1950s and '60s now come home to roost?  If you can't trust your police, what now?  Who will keep the peace?  Peace is not kept by violence.

Whole thing I was getting at- want them to listen, be peaceful- looting and burning things is not a good way to do it. In my town theres only something like 5 black families, mostly white and hispanic and 1 black cop. But then the area used to be a clan town for the KKK. Things in the law enforcement of the US are so out of whack that no one trusts the police. I live 2 blocks from the police dept. and for some reason theres a lot of crime in my neighborhood. But then it doesn't help that the towns skateboard park is 2 blocks to my east. Recently my home was tagged by some idiotic hooligan who thought it'd be funny. Landlord had to clean that up. Another issue is no one is allowed to even yell at there kids anymore. I say yell at them, take a belt to them, discipline them and crime will decrease cause they'd know whats coming. 

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A good hard riot is also a wonderful way to convince people that you deserve the treatment you are receiving.

 

Last I checked it were still the LA riots that finally led the LAPD to reform and tackle its institutional racism. 

 

And it required a civil war before slavery was abolished.

 

I'm all for trying things peacefully, with reason and debate, but if all you get is a smile and be told that although they would love to give you what you want they simply don't have the time/money/energy to do it, then perhaps you need to show that this is unacceptable. Yeah sure, people will say that those riots are proof that black people are all just a bunch of thugs. Those people are stupid and won't be swayed by reason and debate anyways. They are the people that are completely ignorant of things like 'institutional racism' or 'white privilege'. They are the people that think racism is over because 'Obama is president' and that they can't be racist because they 'voted for Obama'. There is no arguing with ignorance and there won't be reform if you try to do that. 

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I am sorry to say that there appears to be an undeclared civil war in the U.S.  How one tackles this problem is certainly beyond me, and it is apparently beyond any imagination in the authorities in the U.S.  As usual, they are seeking only short-term solutions and ramping around with arms and armour.

 

Short term won't do it, any more than short term strategies don't save corporations.  The corporations are the ones who should be interested in this because they do better in times of peace.  Only the war industries do well when bullets are flying.

 

Meanwhile the politicians, who should be governing the country, are fiddling around with campaigning, while the country burns.

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It's a shame there aren't any great civil rights leaders right now to help focus the protesters and the discussion. There are no social activist role models. Right now there are only race pimps using these types of situations for their own political purposes.

 

Those rioters were thugs. Nothing more. They were opportunists taking advantage of serious political and social issue for their own gain. I don't see how burning down your own community and the property of innocent people helps your cause. People like Ghandi and MLK used non-violent tactics because they knew any kind of violence would be used to demonize their cause. The youth of today seem totally unaware of that fact. I feel really bad for the people looking for honest reform and a peaceful solution because all their efforts are overshadowed by the looters/rioters.

 

I think one of the problems is that people are so quick to rush to judgment and the news media feeds into that. It is a lynch mob mentality. Guilty until proven innocent, and even if the accused is proven innocent it doesn't even matter. Don't get me wrong, the Freddy Grey thing is mighty suspicious, but cases like the Michael Brown and Treyvon Martin shootings were much more ambiguous. Then these disingenuous race pimps like Al Sharpton and Sunny Hosting over at CNN weave completely bogus narrative about these totally innocent, cute, harmless children who did nothing to possible put themselves in dangerous life and death situations. On the other side people at Fox News and Neo-Cons use it as an excuse to justify the militarization of police.

 

There is no arguing with ignorance and there won't be reform if you try to do that. 

 

Unfortunately no one is immune to ignorance and people have to constantly be vigilant of their own cognitive biases. When people hear of information that contradicts their world view they'd often rather bury their heads in the sand and attack the source of the information rather than evaluate it on it's own merits.

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Those rioters were thugs. Nothing more. They were opportunists taking advantage of serious political and social issue for their own gain. I don't see how burning down your own community and the property of innocent people helps your cause. People like Ghandi and MLK used non-violent tactics because they knew any kind of violence would be used to demonize their cause. The youth of today seem totally unaware of that fact. I feel really bad for the people looking for honest reform and a peaceful solution because all their efforts are overshadowed by the looters/rioters.

 

I think one of the problems is that people are so quick to rush to judgment and the news media feeds into that. It is a lynch mob mentality. Guilty until proven innocent, and even if the accused is proven innocent it doesn't even matter. Don't get me wrong, the Freddy Grey thing is mighty suspicious, but cases like the Michael Brown and Treyvon Martin shootings were much more ambiguous. Then these disingenuous race pimps like Al Sharpton and Sunny Hosting over at CNN weave completely bogus narrative about these totally innocent, cute, harmless children who did nothing to possible put themselves in dangerous life and death situations. On the other side people at Fox News and Neo-Cons use it as an excuse to justify the militarization of police.

Then why do you call them thugs and buy into the media narrative seeking to dismiss the justifiable anger of the African American community? 

 

I really hate the word 'thug'. It has become one of those words that show us another glimpse of how incredibly racist America still is. Kinda like how if Muslims kill someone, he is a terrorist, when an African American kills someone, he is a thug, and when a white person goes on a spree killing, its 'mental illness'. Brown people are evil when they kill, white people are sick in their head and not in full control over their actions. Brown people deserve to be shot by the police, white people need a doctor and get help. 

 

Now again. African Americans riot over the umptieth black male killed by police brutality with no proper investigation into what happened, so they are thugs. But how do we call white people when they riot over something as trivial and stupid as their sports team winning or not winning some big sports game? Ever hear the media blatter on about those thuggish white people? No, it gets spun as joy or grief over the outcome of a sports game spun a little out of control. And then we ignore it and move on to the next story. But oh dear me if you are  a black person and angry because you have your civil rights systematically abused by the police. Better not show that anger because then you are a thug and the police should shoot you on sight. 

 

 

EDIT: Relevant and perfectly shows through satire how racist the American media is

 

 

Unfortunately no one is immune to ignorance and people have to constantly be vigilant of their own cognitive biases. When people hear of information that contradicts their world view they'd often rather bury their heads in the sand and attack the source of the information rather than evaluate it on it's own merits.

 

Yeah, but not everyone is able or willing to check their own ignorance and it makes it really difficult to convince those people with reason and intelligent argument that something needs to change. And something needs to change. 

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You know the family of Freddie Gray has denounced any rioting right?

 

http://time.com/3838004/gray-family-condemns-riots/

 

They're dealing with the loss of their friend and family member and no one seems to care about them too much.  Taking a man and using his image as a false symbol for a twisted cause that strays so far from the original point is just disrepecting the dead, like the Westboro Baptist Church does when they protest funerals.

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You know the family of Freddie Gray has denounced any rioting right?

 

http://time.com/3838004/gray-family-condemns-riots/

 

They're dealing with the loss of their friend and family member and no one seems to care about them too much.  Taking a man and using his image as a false symbol for a twisted cause that strays so far from the original point is just disrepecting the dead, like the Westboro Baptist Church does when they protest funerals.

Excuse me but what? What twisted cause? Seems to me the rioters and the people (the overwhelming majority) who protest in a peaceful manner have the same cause. You don't approve of their methods, sure, understandable, but their cause is true. Unlike the WBC whose cause is bigotry and hatred. 

 

Also this:

 

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.

 

I agree. The American state has lost its legitimacy at some level and therefor lost the authority to demand that protesters abide the law. After all, why should protesters abide the law when the state systematically does not? 

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A few thoughts:

 

-  Ignorance can be remedied.   Being ignorant simply means that someone doesn't know something.  People can be educated.  Of course, there is the issue that some people want other people to remain ignorant and that some people want to remain ignorant themselves.   

 

-   People have been asking the question "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" for a long time.   It can be translated as "Who watches the watchmen?"  Everyone, no matter who they are, needs to be held accountable for their actions.    Including the police.  And politicians, thugs, and the average people who are just doing the best they can in a bad situation.

 

-  Local media coverage is showing the upside of this.   Easy for me to say.  I have access to Baltimore stations that preempted everything to cover this and they were looking for every angle they could find.   I don't know how much made it to the national or international level.  Probably not much.  

 

- 10 Images of the Baltimore Riots that You Won't see on TV

 

-  Oddly, the Baltimore Riot of 1861 was the first bloodshed of the Civil war.  Don't know that has anything to do with anything but it seems like a weird factoid at the moment. 

 

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Excuse me but what? What twisted cause? Seems to me the rioters and the people (the overwhelming majority) who protest in a peaceful manner have the same cause. You don't approve of their methods, sure, understandable, but their cause is true. Unlike the WBC whose cause is bigotry and hatred. 

 

The protesters and rioters in Baltimore do not have the same cause.  They are not the same people, who do not share the same goals.  Every group that's peacefully protesting has denounced the people who have been looting and burning stores.

 

Entirely different groups of people.  The people who are peacefully protesting want peace.  Because that is what they are practicing.  Burning and looting the stores of innocent shop owners, who have no affiliation with the police or government, is a disgrace to a lot of unfortunately deceased people, going back to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Lumping these two groups of people together is just misinformation and libel.  It's also continuing to spit in the face of the family of Freddie Gray.

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