Baltimore’s violent protests are causing more problems than they are solving

Suspect Dies Baltimore
Courtesy of AP

Riots erupted in Baltimore shortly after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a man who died of a severe spinal injury after police arrested him. The rioting started within a mile of where officers arrested Gray, but by midnight fanned to East Baltimore and surrounding neighborhoods.

Gray’s death came in the midst of a national debate about police brutality against black men. His mysterious death and the circumstances surrounding the arrest beg the question of what really occurred during his time in custody.

Peaceful at first, protests quickly took a violent turn as businesses were destroyed and looted and police vehicles smashed and set on fire. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced a weeklong curfew for all residents and activated the National Guard to help quell the unrest.

Governor Logan assured President Obama that he would urge law enforcements to exercise restraint. “But I assured him we weren’t going to stand by and allow our city of Baltimore to be taken over by thugs,” said Logan.

I understand that people might be enraged over the possible unwarranted death of Gray, but destroying your own community won’t bring him back, and it certainly won’t solve the problem. These violent protests cause more issues than they solve. In the wake of arson and destruction in the city, these riots leave the more sound minded and mature people of Baltimore to clean up after their mess.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake lamented, “I understand anger, but what we’re seeing isn’t anger. It’s disruption of a community. The same community they say they care about, they’re destroying.”

A senior center became engulfed in flames, a CVS looted, and local stores ransacked. Firefighters who tried to put out the fires found their hoses cut. Young adults threw bottles, rocks, and anything they could find their hands on at the police.

A Baltimore mother was caught on camera grabbing her son and smacking him red. She was heard saying, “Are you kidding me?” Now that’s parenting. If only we could call violent protestors’ mothers and have them give their children a lecture.

“Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs. I’m at a loss for words. It is idiotic to think that by destroying your city that you’re going to make life better for anybody,” said Rawlings-Blake.

It’s estimated that 5,000 law enforcement officers will arrive in Baltimore with National Guard units deployed in armored Humvees.

One of the more popular pictures in regards to the riots show rival gang members uniting and calling a truce in Gray’s honor. I’ve seen numerous comments along the lines of “Even gang members have higher morals than police officers.”

Baltimore police received a credible threat that members of the Black Guerrilla Family, Bloods and Crips gangs had entered into a partnership to ‘take out’ law enforcement officers. Simply because gang members call a temporary truce doesn’t mean they’re the good guys. Before Gray, they were wreaking havoc on the city and once the truce ends, you can expect the same.

As of writing this column, there are 15 injured officers, of which 6 are hospitalized, 144 vehicle fires, 15 building fires, and nearly 200 arrests in Baltimore.

These violent protestors seem to miss the point on how to create change. You can’t protest against police brutality and then proceed to beat up officers. There’s no justice in revenge. Creating change involves being the better man, standing on higher ground, and showing your community, city, and country that you are more reasonable than to resort to violence.

Fortunately, non-violent protestors occupied also Baltimore streets. They helped calm the flaring emotions of violence, protected businesses from looting, and made a greater impact towards solving the police brutality issue of our country.

It doesn’t take being a black man to understand the emotions that these protesters – violent or otherwise – are feeling; it only takes being a human.

Police brutality won’t be solved in a month or a year, and it especially won’t be solved overnight. Violent protests only hinder the progress that peaceful discussions and nonviolent marches have made.

Getting mad is easy; solving social issues is not. Take progress one day at a time and change will come.

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