Can’t believe what I’ve been watching on the television since yesterday. I was off from work yesterday. After running a few errands yesterday morning, I had a chance to watch the funeral for Freddie Gray on News Channel 8. I took a nap afterwards and when I woke up a couple of hours later I turned on the television and saw nothing but chaos. Young folks in Baltimore were running all over certain parts of Baltimore looting stores and throwing rocks at the police. The Gray family had earlier stated that they didn’t want protest of any type going on the day of Freddie Gray’s funeral. It should have been a day of mourning. Looks like some folks didn’t get the memo. According to some media reports a message on social media got things started.
I usually try to catch up with shows on my dvr on days like this but I was glued to the television watching the news for the rest of the day. What started out as young folks running the streets turned into a full-fledged riot with looting, rock throwing at the police and burning buildings. Last night while watching the news I saw local NBC reporter Shomari Stone interviewing people and being caught in the middle of pepper spray being used. NBC4 news anchor Jim Vance had to tell Shomari to be careful.
Police from several Maryland counties including Prince Georges (where I live), Anne Arundel, Howard and Baltimore Counties have been called in to assist Baltimore City police. Last Night Maryland Governor Larry Hogan declared Baltimore under a state of emergency. The National Guard has been activated due to the state of emergency.
One of the buildings destroyed during the riots was a new senior citizen facility under construction including new affordable apartments for seniors. I doubt that whoever set this fire had Freddie Gray in mind. Another burning building was a CVS store located next to an apartment for senior citizens. That store was previously looted. Watching the news this morning I saw that there were additional burning buildings.
While all of this was going on many people were wondering where was Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake? She didn’t hold a press conference until later in the evening. I sat there and watched her speak. Seemed like she was struggling and seemed somewhat passive while speaking. I didn’t expect her to go over the top but her demeanor seemed too passive to me. What really ticked off some on social media was her use of the term thugs.
“Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs,” she said. “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.”
This word has become a touchy subject amongst many in the black community. For some it’s another term for the n-word. In 2014 some white folks were calling Seattle Seahawks player Richard Sherman a thug because he got overly excited with a tv analyst after his team won a playoff game last year. Was he acting thuggish? Hell no. He didn’t attack the woman. In my eyes he was just excited. Being excited about your team going to the Super Bowl is not acting like a thug. Committing crimes like rape, murder, carjackings, etc. are thuggish behavior in my eyes. Hell I’ve used the term thug in this blog when it comes to certain criminal behavior. The young men committing the crimes I have blogged about certainly weren’t gentlemen. Throwing an innocent infant out of car window onto a highway, beating a young man to death in front of a bookstore, attempting a carjacking and rape and robbery to me are thuggish behavior.
Despite all the chaos it was good to see some of the folks in Baltimore who are trying to calm down the rioters. I saw what looked like the Nation of Islam, clergy members and groups like the 300 Men March trying to calm down the crowds. This morning I saw on the news Baltimore residents cleaning up the mess left behind by the rioters and looters.
And to top it off I watched a mother slapping the hell out of her son for participating in the riots. She’s been identified as Toya Graham. Thank you Toya Graham!!
The Baltimore Sun has plenty of updated information on the riots in Baltimore. You can read it all for free right now (this paper is behind a paywall).