Yesterday I was watching CNN and Poppy Harlow was interviewing CNN writer/producer John Blake. Mr. Blake returned to his West Baltimore neighborhood after the recent riots. He wrote an excellent article titled Lord of the Flies Comes To Baltimore. Lord of the Flies was written in 1954 and tells the story of a group of young boys plane-wrecked on a deserted island. These young men try to govern themselves without any adult guidance. When Mr. Blake returned to his West Baltimore neighborhood he felt like Lord of the Flies had taken over his old neighborhood.
Baltimore, Maryland (CNN)He was a quiet man who once stood watch on his front porch, just three blocks away from where a riot erupted in West Baltimore this week.
We called him “Mr. Shields” because no one dared use his first name. He’d step onto his porch at night in plaid shorts and black knit dress socks to watch the Baltimore Orioles play on his portable television set.
He was a steelworker, but he looked debonair: thin mustache always trimmed; wavy salt-and-pepper hair touched up with pomade; cocoa brown skin. He sat like a sentry, watching not just the games but the neighborhood as well.
I knew Mr. Shields’ routine because I was his neighbor. I grew up in the West Baltimore community that was rocked this week by protests over the death of a young black man in police custody.
It’s surreal to see your old neighborhood go up in flames as commentators try to explain the rage with various complex racial and legal theories. But when I returned to my home this week, the rage made sense to me. There were no more Mr. Shields — the older black men were gone.
Read the entire article here at CNN.com.