After teenagers started a looters riot in Baltimore this past Monday evening (April 27th); and after adults joined the fray, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake requested assistance from Governor Larry Hogan. Moments later (three hours after the initial violence) the national guard was called into Baltimore to bring “order” to the situation there. (Having watched live footage of the carnage, this writer can tell you that there was little order to be found while the police forces were out on the street.)
The disorder there has stemmed from, not the death of Freddie Gray, but the disrespect and systemic racism displayed by police and public officials alike. The cause of recent protests in solidarity throughout the nation is symptomatic of the fact that the systemic problems that face Baltimore are also faced throughout the States; in cities like Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, New York, Washington, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Ferguson, Missouri, people are showing their support.
The “Purge,” as it was called by the looting teens in tweets that day, was in reaction, principally, because of a lack of belief in the obviously corrupt systems that face them.
Not long after the national guard was sent in to bring order, a curfew was also established from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., which some protesters were quick to challenge. Ten people have been arrested for breaking said curfew since.
However, one thing that such Purge-like activity demonstrates is that the people do have enough power to push back the police with just rocks and bottles. Nonetheless, what this Purge also demonstrated was that keeping demonstrations of the people peaceful is a much more effective, and if nothing else more acceptable, means of conveying disapproval.
Also, it must be considered that, while the people who were looting and setting fire to buildings in Baltimore were behaving savagely, they were also not ending human lives. Their anger and frustration was not aimed at individuals, but towards capital; of this we cannot say the same for the police in many cities throughout the country.
If nothing else, the events of Monday’s looting was a sign of things to come. A revolution is coming, the question now to be answered is what kind of revolution will we have, a peaceful evolution or a purge?At present, it seems the majority of people are more disposed to evolve peacefully, rather than have a purge, but we will see as events unfold.