Martin Luther King, after studying Ghandi’s methods and teachings, decided that nonviolence was the way to make a statement and continue to keep the moral high ground. Today, the people of Baltimor; the poor people of Baltimore, the youth of Baltimore, have lost the moral high ground. They can talk about poverty. They can talk about police brutality. All America will see is pictures of burning cars and innocent store owners crying about their looted stores.
Baltimore could and should have been different. It is a city that has a black mayor. It is a city that has tons of black officers on its police force. It is a city that has a black police chief. Therefore, this wasn’t a black-white thing. This was an us-vs-them thing… or maybe it was a rich-vs-poor thing. I don’t know, but without the race thing in the way I thought that there was a chance for quick and thoughtful discussion leading to some real change. Fire, rocks and injured police officers have ended any thoughts of rapid anything. Progress is now going to be slow. Very slow.
We must remember the lessons from those who have come before us, like Dr. Martin Luther King. The problems in the inner city aren’t new. We have tackled them before. The violence in the inner city isn’t new. We have tackled it before. The problems in our police force are not NEW!! We can fix these problems if we have the will.
David Simon, the creator of The Wire, wrote this today –
But now — in this moment — the anger and the selfishness and the brutality of those claiming the right to violence in Freddie Gray’s name needs to cease. There was real power and potential in the peaceful protests that spoke in Mr. Gray’s name initially, and there was real unity at his homegoing today. But this, now, in the streets, is an affront to that man’s memory and a dimunition of the absolute moral lesson that underlies his unnecessary death.