Baltimore riots Ice Tea Pringles lootingThe April 19th death Freddie Gray, which can be traced to a spinal injury obtained during his arrest April 12, generated genuine concern across the nation. Americans wanted to know exactly what happened during the 25-year-old’s arrest by the Baltimore Police Department, which led to his death and warranted the suspension of six cops. Then the fires and the looting began, and most of the national sympathy Baltimore had at its disposal went up in smoke.

Baltimore lootingAmericans expect inept or corrupt cops to answer for their actions. Every community across the nation has a vested interest in holding its law enforcement officials accountable for bad behavior. It would make no sense to turn a blind eye to systemic problems that undermine the public’s faith in the rule of law. Given that, the worst thing a community can do to protest police malfeasance is to act like marauding psychopaths straight out of Mad Max casting.

Another way to explain Baltimore’s predicament may be: If a man slashes hoses while firemen are trying to work, then he loses all credibility when he complains about heavy-handed policing.

Baltimore riot firehose slashThe poison cherry on top comes when a city’s mayor openly admits that she is an architect of anarchy.

CBS reported April 27 on Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s decision to give “space” to people whose sole plan for the day was to destroy private property:

“I worked with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech,” Rawlings-Blake said to the media Saturday evening.

“It’s a very delicate balancing act because while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.”

Why on earth would businessmen or entrepreneurs want to open up shop in Baltimore going forward when they know that the mayor gives “space” to those who “wish to destroy”? Answer: they wouldn’t.

It takes a special breed of person to police a community with fire hose slashers, thriving gang activity, and CVS arsonists. When those hard-nosed men and women in blue act like the criminals they are supposed to arrest, then they need to have the book thrown at them. Likewise, there is no excuse for using a community’s anger to set buildings ablaze and steal from local business owners.

When the dust finally settles, the citizens of Baltimore should step back and think about the clueless politicians who made a bad situation worse.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

16 comments

  1. Well said. It’s disturbing the way politicians egg this stuff on, because prior to the rioting, people already have the moral upper hand, they have the sympathy of much of the country. Racial issues and poor behavior of protestors just dilute the integrity of the whole matter.

  2. How can the mayor “give space” to those who wish destroy? Where does this space come from? Is it specially designated property owned by the local government for just this sort of occasion???

    1. What if that “space” happens to overlap with someone’s personal property? What then? The mayor openly admits telling cops to back off in a crime-ridden neighborhood, but these same people act as if the Second Amendment is only something the founding fathers wanted for duck hunting… Classic.

  3. I had googgled the mayor earlier this evening; she graduated law school and passed the bar- so at least book-wise she must be pretty sharp; but leadership is lacking. There were issues around Camden Yards during & after the Orioles game yesterday….the Orioles had enough sense to cancel the game scheduled for this evening. They came to that decision early this afternoon.

    How the baseball team can read the tea leaves and foresee problems, yet the mayor’s office seem so unprepared after a day of skirmishes is mystifying. Into that leadership vacuum, people like Sharpton and the Blank Panther guy (sorry, forgot his name, Shabazz?) can spew their nonsense, which isn’t helping anybody. With Camden Yards, John Hopkins, and the historical harbor; there are some pieces in place to make Baltimore a vibrant city that attracts tourism and business; this is so sad to see.

  4. The world needs integrity.
    An uncompromising adherence to doing what is right and proper.
    Honesty, reliability, and fairness in business practices and treatment of others.
    An essential element of successful business and personal relationships.
    Is as much about what to do as it is who to be.

    Taking a tragedy and using it as a method for personal gain is shameful. Using a cause to harm others is ridiculous. We must again learn that there is right and wrong and it does not change based on what we want.
    True diversity is additive we do not take to gain, instead we need to work and build together. We need to work together to prevent bad things and learn from them, instead we are in a vicious cycle of blame and self gratification using social causes as a mask that enables people to perform terrible acts while hiding under the guise of social justice.

    We as a society have lost integrity.

  5. “there are some pieces in place to make Baltimore a vibrant city…”

    Oh, Baltimore is already a vibrant city and the people doing the rioting? They’re the vibrants.

    “If a man slashes hoses while firemen are trying to work, then he loses all credibility when he complains about heavy-handed policing.”

    Right there. Right there. THAT is the heart of the matter.

  6. Something I noticed when I watched the video of Mayor Rawlings-Blake. Take a look at the facial expression on the people standing next to her when she makes her infamous “space to destroy” comment. The man on her left gives just glares at her as if to say, “Did you just say what I think you just said?” The guy on the far right does “double-take” blink. Meanwhile, the one dressed in the suit nervously licks his lips and all but says “Oh crap!” And given how she got slammed even by the mainstream press afterwords, it’s no wonder how the very next day–when the riots became exponentially worse–that Mayor Rawlings-Blake went into immediate damage control spin mode and essentially said, “Who you going to believe? Me, or your lying ears?”

    That said, there are some genuine heroes in the crowd, such as this one man in this UK Independent story who got in-between the police and the protestors to prevent further violence from breaking out (and ironic Punisher t-shirt for the win): http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/do-not-give-them-a-reason-baltimore-man-divides-police-and-rioters-in-hope-of-avoiding-violence-10208720.html
    Likewise this mom who deserves a standing ovation for going down to the rioters and berating her son on live TV: http://www.myfoxla.com/story/28914986/angry-mother

    1. I always like when elected officials or celebrities say something that is totally off base and then when they’re called out it becomes some form of “You’re taking me out of context.” Huh?! No, I don’t think so. I think the context was very clear.

      Thanks for sharing the Punisher story, Mike. I debated doing a blog post on that one. That was pretty cool. I’m glad that there are some level-headed individuals left out there.

  7. “I worked with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech,” Rawlings-Blake said to the media Saturday evening.

    “It’s a very delicate balancing act because while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.”

    The inmates are running the asylum folks.

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