Baltimore MD 4/27/15: Shortly after the conclusion of Freddie Gray’s funeral, against the wishes for Freddie’s family, demonstrators began to gather and to take to the streets. But today there would be no peaceful protests seeking answers. Violence erupted outside of Mondawmin Mall led by local high school students. Rioters clashed with some 200 police outside the mall and began throwing rocks at officers. The police retaliated and were caught on film throwing rocks back at the students prompting them to rush the officers.
It was reported by the Baltimore Sun that a flyer had circulated around the various local high schools telling students “All HighSchools Monday @3 We Going To Purge from Mondawmin , To The Ave, Back To Downtown #Fdl”. These memes have circulated before amongst students, based on the film “The Purge”, a film in which all crime is legal for 12 hours.
The rioters stormed the mall, a Save-A-Lot and a local Rite Aid loading up their cars with goods. They then moved downtown, taking to a CVS and setting it on fire. They set several vehicles on fire and also prevented firefighters from extinguishing the fires.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency at the request of Baltimore City and activated the National Guard to assist in restoring order to the city during this growing civil unrest. He will be sending 500 more state troopers to the city and requesting upwards to 5000 officers from neighboring states. “I have not made this decision lightly,” Hogan said. “The National Guard represents a last resort.”
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake used her authority and activated the city’s emergency response operation center to assist in coordinating a operations in response to the riots. A city wide curfew has been implemented for one week from 10PM – 5AM starting on Tuesday 4/28. It was stated that this curfew would be extended as needed.
Summary of damage that has been reported:
- Fifteen structural fires and 144 vehicle fires were reported overnight.
- Almost 200 arrests have been made, the mayor’s office said.
- Nineteen police officers have been injured, according to city officials.
- Roughly 300 officers from from at least 9 state law enforcement agencies have arrived.
- About 200 troops from the National Guard are on the ground.
- 160 Maryland State Troopers were in place in the city.
It’s easy for us to sit in front of our computers, tablets, or smartphones shame these rioters. That’s exactly what the mainstream media wants us to do. The more we are divided, the easier it is to manipulate us. Since this has started I’ve seen terms such as animal and thug used to describe our fellow brothers and sisters. The theme of “un-friending” people over differing views has become common. We can’t plant seed’s if we allow ourselves to get offended whenever someone has a different perspective. While we don’t have to agree with them we can use it as an opportunity to provide them a different perspective, one which they may have never been exposed to. They could be offended or you could have just provided them with the data they needed to see things from a different perspective.
With all the turmoil that is happening it is easy to lose focus on the real issues and what has caused this type of reaction. Martin Luther King said it the best “A riot is the language of the unheard”. While I can not condone the damage they have caused as they are destroying their own communities and terrorizing their neighbors. I’ve come to understand where they’re coming from. I do hope that that is the spark that will ignite real action to address the corrupt social and economic environment’s that has been created in city’s across the world.