Friday, May 1, 2015

Interesting Responses To The Baltimore Riot

Anyone who has been watching TV knows there has been practically nothing on any news channel(s) this week but coverage of the rioting in Baltimore. As it was in Ferguson last year, reporters are on the streets looking for stories and pundits on both sides are either creating stories or repeating the same ones over and over. Geraldo Rivera is out there arguing with protesters - perhaps trying to get one to hit him in the head with a chair.

There have been some interesting responses to the rioting, beginning with the way it was handled by the Baltimore mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

When it began, the mayor apparently told her police department to stand by and allow the protesters to riot, loot and destroy property. She said as much the next day.

"I've made it very clear that I work with the police and instructed them to do everything they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech," Mayor Rawlings-Blake told reporters.

"It's a very delicate balancing act because while we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well, and we work very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate."

Within two days 40 buildings, several private homes and 144 vehicles had been burned. Businesses were looted and at least 15 police officers were injured. Of course, when she came under fire for allowing the protesters to destroy property she denied making the statement she had previously made, saying it was taken out of context.

"I did not instruct police to give space to protesters who were seeking to create violence or destruction of property," she wrote. "Taken in context, I explained that, in giving peaceful demonstrators room to share their message, unfortunately, those who were seeking to incite violence also had space to operate."

Ah, don't you just hate those lying videos, Mayor?

In the days that followed some Baltimore police officers spoke privately to reporters and said the mayor had indeed told them to stand down an not interfere because "it's only property." They also said one of the reasons officers were injured was because the mayor put limits on what equipment they could use to protect and defend themselves. Most of the injuries came from being unable to defend themselves against attacks with rocks, bottles and bricks.

On Tuesday afternoon the mayor said she was putting a curfew in place in the city immediately for people under 18 and for adults the next night. She apparently believed the destruction had all been done by teenagers so she gave the adults one more night to cause trouble. Guess what happened?

It seems that in addition to being a friend of President Obama (She got a personal call from him concerning the riots. The Ferguson mayor got no such call.), Mayor Rawlings-Blake was appointed as a member of the committee charged with reviewing the Ferguson riots and finding better ways to handle future instances. The committee apparently decided that allowing rioters to do whatever they wanted and keeping the police at bay was a good answer. It's just a guess but I would bet the business owners, homeowner and vehicle owners that lost their property would disagree with her tactics.

City officials, from the mayor to the police chief to several city councilmen, complained that the media was showing only the bad things going on and concentrating on the fires and looting rather than the peaceful protests. Duh. When's the last time a news agency filmed a plane landing without incident or a train running on the tracks smoothly and without problems? News agencies always have and always will report the bad things that occur. It's what they do.

President Obama made a statement about the riots saying that the media was taking video footage of one burning building and looping it over and over, making the situation look worse than it is.

That may be one of the most ridiculous lies he's told since taking office. Forty buildings were on fire, Mr. President. Forty. And several private homes. Your statement of the media making it look worse than it really is was pathetic.

Another interesting statement that the mayor and other city officials have made echo those made by some politicians and civilians (and race baiting idiots like Sharpton) following the shooting of Michael Brown last August. Unlike Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, who said before the investigation was completed that Officer Wilson needed to be arrested, charged and convicted, the politicians in Baltimore are saying they want justice for Freddie Gray. The mayor yesterday said "We will get justice for Freddie Gray."

Right now it appears that someone from the police department is going to get charged with something. But what if the investigation revealed the police did nothing wrong? If that's the case and no one is charged isn't that justice?

I have always believed that justice meant seeking the truth impartially. These days it seems justice is whatever someone demands it to be. Family, friends and some politicians screamed for justice for Mike Brown. As it turns out, according to the Justice Department report, Michael Brown got his due justice from Officer Wilson that very day. But I'm pretty sure that's not the justice those people were demanding.

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