Tag Archives: Baltimore riots

Some Justice, Some Peace

First up, a couple of corrections, and an update.

The Baltimore Sun, from which I got some of my information regarding Freddie Gray, was wrong on at least 2 counts.

The first one is, the deceased was in possession of a common pocket knife, NOT a switchblade as was initially reported.

Secondly, the deceased did NOT just get out of the hospital with injuries from a car accident.  How they came to this conclusion is even stranger – someone found paperwork about a claim paid to the deceased.  But it wasn’t for a car accident, it was for damages the deceased suffered as a result of lead paint poisoning in his childhood home.

That means that the horrific injuries this man suffered were due to the treatment he received at the hands (fists? feet?) of the Baltimore Police.  In case you don’t recall, he had a crushed larynx and a severed spinal cord (“Could Freddie Gray Have Severed His Own Spine in a Baltimore Police Van? It’s Highly Unlikely”, Dr. David Samadi, New York Daily News, 4/30/2015).

Now the good news: The 6 police officers involved have all been charged.  The most serious charge – “second-degree depraved heart murder” – was leveled against the driver of the van.  He was also charged with voluntary manslaughter (“6 Baltimore Police Officers Charged in Freddie Gray Death”, Alan Blinder & Richard Pérez-Peña, New York Times website, 5/1/2015).

Here is the rundown:

Office Caesar R, Goodson, Jr – Second-degree depraved heart murder, involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, gross negligent manslaughter by vehicle, criminal negligent manslaughter, misconduct in office,

Officer William G. Porter – Involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office.

Lt. Brian W. Rice – Involuntary manslaughter, 2 counts of second-degree assault, 2 counts of misconduct in office, false imprisonment.

Officer Edward M. Nero – 2 counts second-degree assault, 2 counts of misconduct in office, false imprisonment.

Officer Garrett E. Miller – 2 counts of second-degree assault, 2 counts of misconduct in office, false imprisonment.

Sgt. Alicia D. White – Involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault, misconduct in office.

(“List of Charges for 6 Officers in Freddie Gray’s Death”, Greg Toppo, USA Today website, 5/1/2015)

3 of the officers are white, and 3 are African-American.  This was a straight-up case of police brutality, an “us against them” siege mentality that many police officers have.

That is not to say that police do not target African-American males.  They do.

But the Baltimore police traditionally have a reputation for violence.

I have seen it first-hand.

I went to a Rolling Stones concert in 1969 at the Baltimore Civic Center.  As I was walking to the restrooms, I saw 2 Baltimore policemen beating the heck out of someone (a long-haired male).

So that was what? 46 years ago?  And nothing’s changed.

Now take what I just told you and extrapolate that to living in a Baltimore low-income neighborhood.   What a nightmare to have to live in.   Add profiling to that, and it’s a wonder anyone would ever leave their house.

For now, the streets of Baltimore are quiet, and the rebuilding will be slow and painful, I’m sure.  It would be a tough position for any business that was looted and/or burned to be in, trying to decide whether or not it was worth it to rebuild.

But I really hope they do.  Especially large corporations such as Rite Aid.  And if they’re smart, they’ll initiate some programs in that community to help the residents, especially the young people.  Even if they have very little compassion, it would make business sense to do so.  And, unfortunately, it’s usually the bottom line that determines what a company does or doesn’t do.

The media – most online newspapers – never seem to want to try to understand why this stuff happens.  They slant things, of course, and leave things out, like the sources who showed pictures of young people holding up the items they stole, and pictures of signs stating “black-owned business” (presumably to protect some business owners from having their shops looted).  Then they leave everyone to read the comments section for the “analysis”.

Racists conclude that it proves African-Americans are violent criminals.  Conventional liberals (by that I mean those who think voting Democrat is the only solution to anything) either ignore what’s being said, or focus on endless statistics regarding which races do what and how often “blah blah blah our side is right!”

Both are wrong.  Neither side will address the issues.

I would suspect some of the reason they don’t is, they’ve never been poor.  Not truly poor.

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The Good, The Bad, and the Strange

There’s been a lot going on in the US lately, and so I wanted to touch on a few things and update some others. The governor of Indiana (Mike Pence) has signed a revision of the “religious freedom law” I wrote about last week.  According to CBS News…

…the law does not, “Authorize a provider to refuse to offer or provide services, facilities, use of public accommodations, goods, employment, or housing to any member or members of the general public based on race, color, religion, ancestry, age, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or United States military service.” (“Indiana Governor Signs Updated Religious Freedom Law”, Rebecca Kaplan, CBS News website, 4/2/2015).

But, while it states someone cannot refuse or provide services, it is still legal to fire someone in Indiana because of their sexual orientation if they work in, say, a Catholic school as a teacher. That’s wrong.  Substitute the word for any protected class (women, Latinos, etc) and you can see how wrong it is.

The law needs to be repealed, in my opinion.  And, really, the only reason the governor did this was because businesses were objecting – Apple, Angie’s List, and the NCAA, to name 3.  As usual, money is the key (Ibid).

Regarding Ebola, the cases were diminishing, but have picked up again, unfortunately. It’s not in the news in the US much – if at all – because there are no more stories about people coming back from 3rd world countries infected. According to The Independent (UK newspaper)…

Dr David Nabarro, the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy on Ebola, told The Independent the world should prepare for more major outbreaks of zoonotic diseases – those which can pass from animals to humans – which he said were a “local and global threat to humanity”.

“There will be more: one, because people are moving around more; two, because the contact between humans and the wild is on the increase; and maybe because of climate change. The worry we always have is that there will be a really infectious and beastly bug that comes along.”  (“World Warned: Prepare for More Ebola Outbreaks”, Charlie Cooper, The Independent UK, 4/5/2015).

Deforestation is the reason there is more contact between humans and wild animals.  The thing about climate change isn’t necessarily relevant to Ebola, but it is for mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever.  Climate change has expanded the range of mosquitoes.

So, I am sorry to say, that’s the bad news.

The other bad news, this time closer to home, is the frighteningly increasing numbers of people being shot and killed by police – usually African-American males, and often in the back, and when they aren’t doing a thing to provoke it.

As if provocation is any excuse for a police officer shooting someone – it’s not.  But so many times, the reason the police use for shooting is “wrestling over a gun”, or “going for a weapon”, and a lot of people used to believe that.

The last incident was not a shooting, but a death of someone who was in police custody at the time.  No one is saying how this man got his injuries, and the police are denying they did anything to injure him (though they are supposedly investigating it).

The man, Freddie Gray, was walking down the street when the police made eye contact with him.  He took off running.

Let me stop here.  If the police were, for some extremely weird reason, killing older white women on a frequent basis, I reckon I would run from them, too.  And mind you, this killing of AA males has been going on for a long time, it’s just with smartphones/cameras we are hearing about it more.

They arrested him, and it’s not clear why.  Something about him having a switchblade, which by the way isn’t a crime.  He didn’t resist arrest (by the police’s own admission), and he was limping.  His leg was hurt, and he had just been recently released from the hospital after being treated for three fractured vertebrae and a crushed voicebox (from a car accident).

He was put in a transport van and not seat-belted, and by the time he arrived (half an hour later) at the police station, he wasn’t breathing.  The police admit they did not get medical attention for him when he asked, nor did they call an ambulance. (“The Mysterious Death of Freddie Grey”, David A. Graham, The Atlantic website, 4/22/2015; “A Freddie Grey Primer: Who Was He, How Did He Die, Why is There So Much Anger?”, Peter Hermann and John Woodrow Cox, The Washington Post website, 4/28/2015)

Now he’s dead.  He was 25.