Riots and looting have broken out in Baltimore, after the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died after sustaining a nearly severed spinal cord while in police custody. Property has been damaged, fires have been set and several police officers have been injured in the destructive rage that has spread throughout the city.
When things like this happen, people often try to find things to blame – be it the “race-baiting” media, or our “race-baiting” president, or just the fact that rioters are no-good “looters” and “thugs.”
My view of the violence is that no, it is not right. And I feel for those who have been injured or whose property or livelihoods have been damaged or destroyed by it. Unfortunately, it happens. But I would ask of people who are inconvenienced or bothered by the violence – what else should be expected? A strongly worded letter? Harsh language? It might not win hearts over for the cause, and might actually backfire in the minds and hearts of some people who might have been on the fence on the issue at hand, but it certainly gets people’s attention, doesn’t it?
Change happens slowly, and these incidents don’t just happen overnight. This is not just about Freddie Gray. It’s about Eric Garner, and Trayvon Martin, and Tamir Rice, and any number of the other people whose deaths happened without repercussions for their killers, be they authority figures or just wannabe-cops. I look at situations like this as an inevitable by-product of a violent culture’s justice system, which serves an economically disparate society that sadly disenfranchises many, and has for years. Face it, Americans are violent. Our police and criminals are violent. Patience and restraint are not really our forte. Hell, the founding of our country was rooted in violent uprising. And when you have people that don’t have much, with not much in terms of future prospects, and who are left to feel like society as a whole does not value them at all, that powder keg is bound to explode at some point. True, there are opportunists and people just looking for an excuse to satiate their appetite and propensity for destruction. But those people alone wouldn’t be able to start and maintain such widespread unrest.
I wish things like this didn’t have to happen, and I wish they would stop. But unfortunately that’s not the way people work, especially when they are at the end of their rope. And ultimately, that’s what it boils down to. When collectively held down and pummeled long enough, people are bound to reflexively and instinctually lurch back with resistance at some point. Even if it’s just an involuntary, defensive motion, and a small part of the larger picture of attempted survival in the face of attack.
Photo credit – Pixabay.com – OpenClips