The community, sick and tired of this same kind of thing happening across America, and frustrated by the Baltimore police’s behavior, held demonstrations.
Then some genius sent a mass Twitter to high school students, saying it was time for a purge (The Purge is a film about a day of lawlessness), and asked them to meet at a local mall.
All hell broke loose.
Teenagers throwing rocks and looting. The mayor was caught off-guard. She called in the National Guard. Businesses were burned. Another riot.
I didn’t think it could get worse until I read that the City Council President (Bernard “Jack” Young) held a press conference flanked by two gang leaders, and said…
“What we’re seeing today is not about Freddie Gray,” Young said. “It is about the pain, the hurt and the suffering of these young people. There’s no excuse for them to loot, riot and destroy our city. I made a comment out of frustration and anger when I called our children ‘thugs.’ They’re not thugs. They’re just misdirected. We need to direct them on a different path by creating opportunities for them.” (“Gang Members Stand with City Council Against Rioting in Baltimore”, Luke Broadwater, Baltimore Sun, 4/28/2015).
I say it got worse because I am pretty sure a lot of people didn’t understand why he did this, and why he said what he said.
He is trying to stop the violence. If he can get gang leaders to help, why not? It doesn’t matter what outsiders think, all that matters here is what the rioters think. And I think he is dead-on about stopping the people who incited it, which he does say further into the article.
In my day, we called them “provocateurs”. They were such a problem that, during demonstrations we had trained marshalls walking alongside the crowd, in order to quell any violence that might be provoked. I did that a couple of times, and my best tactic was to tell people that if we rioted it would only get us in trouble and “the state” would win.
God only knows what would have happened if we had had Twitter back then.
DC would have rioted non-stop for months, no doubt.
So I don’t think it’s at all odd to want to find who is behind the tweets. But I also think we won’t know until years down the road, when people use the FOIA to pull the records of whatever agency was involved.
As far as apologizing for calling them “thugs”, there is a reason for that.
“Thug” is now the euphemism for the n-word. So now does it make sense?
By the way, if you get a chance, Google “gang manifestos” and read what the Bloods and the Crips wrote way back in the day, when gangs were forming. It’s political. Yeah, you read right, it’s political. I used those when I worked with at-risk youth, trying to….well, you can imagine what I was trying to do, and why I got fired, so we won’t go there.
The backlash to this has been disgusting and troubling. I read the comments on the news sites, and it’s astonishing how up-front some people are about their racist views. It’s also very disheartening.
People criticizing the clothes the rioters and parents wore (those who ventured out to pull their kids off the street), stating they can’t be that poor if they dress so well. Please don’t make me explain why this is such an ignorant statement, I already spent too much time yesterday doing it in the comments section of various sites.
Of course, there used to be the “well if they would just obey the police, this wouldn’t happen!” comments spewed by every racist from hither and yon.
Thankfully, this has stopped, for the most part. It stopped because there are too many examples in online videos that show police outright murdering people.
Even dumb neo-cons can’t dispute something horrible is afoot.
But no, the new thing now is to state that the rioters should be shot. Shot and dumped en masse somewhere. That is the stuff of nightmares.
And then, when people try to challenge these ideas, they are told to “stop whining”, “get your community together”, and “this is a cultural problem, not a race one.” One (white) woman even had the gall to quote MLK and call a poster a racist because the poster was writing about her experiences in America as an AA woman that resulted in her mistrust of white folk.
It’s that whole “I’ll define your oppression for you” thing that people do, and it’s so disrespectful but they can’t even see it.
It’s extremely distressing.
I know my dad, were he still alive, would be very upset by all this.
And he would no doubt approve of the City Councilman’s actions. Because, you know, he wasn’t a stupid-ass bigot – and he was a cop.