April 19, 2015. A day that started out like any other day, not really of any relevance or anything particularly worth remembering in the eyes of the vast majority of the populace of the Charm City. Now, several days later.... it's the date that will live in infamy in the history of Baltimore. On this day in West Baltimore, authorities took a man by the name of Freddy Gray into custody. For all intents and purposes, just a normal day in the life of Baltimore cops, except something went wrong. When police took Gray into custody, he was alive and by the time officers with Gray in custody arrived at the station a half hour later, Gray couldn't breath or talk... what happened?
The Baltimore Riots 2015
An op-ed regarding my views on the recent riots and brought the city of Baltimore, MD to knees. Why did it happen? Why was it allowed to happen? How do we avoid it in the future
Baltimore Riots 2015
The city of Baltimore is a fantastic city to visit. It was founded in 1729 and is the largest city in the state of Maryland boasting the country's 2nd largest seaport. Baltimore is the city where the John Hopkins hospital was founded in 1889. It's a city steeped in rich tradition and history. A trip to the Inner Harbor should be at the tippy top of destinations in the Charm City. A working class town built on the backs of the average working class American. Baltimore is known as the home of both the MLB Oriels and the NFL Ravens. As of April 25, 2015 though, Baltimore is known for a far more sinister and tragic reason.
Freddy Gray, before April 25th, was the name of a person that I don't hesitate to guess didn't mean anything to the vast majority of the country. Now however, its a household name that is now synonymous with the city of Baltimore. Gray, a 25 year old African American male taken into custody by law enforcement officials on April 12, 2015 for being in possession of a switch blade knife, entered police van and upon arrival to the police station, a half hour later was found to not be able to stand or talk. Gray was then transported to a trauma center where he died of unexplained injuries on April 19th. There are a couple narratives making the rounds on social media outlets and the internet in general. One stating that Gray was the victim of police brutality; the other that Gray, once in the back of the police van self inflicted injuries that would lead to his ultimate death. The former narrative is the one mainstream media chose to pick up and run with as their "factual" story.
Baltimore is no stranger to protests that take a violent turn, one doesn't have to look any further back than 1968 in which African American citizens of the city lashed out in much the same fashion as they have this past week. Racial tensions coupled with the perceived uptick in law enforcement related killings provided the only spark needed for residents to ignite the powder keg that exploded into violence. Baltimoreans took to the streets to show their anger and frustration about what in their eyes boils down to law enforcement unfairly targeting African Americans and Gray was a casualty of that racial bias. News outlets rushed to Baltimore in order to cover the spectacle of African Americans rising up against oppression, poverty and injustices suffered by the black community of Baltimore all the while stating that the police had in fact used excessive force when taking Gray into custody resulting in his untimely demise and that force had a direct correlation to racial discrimination.
The latter theory states that upon being taken into custody, Gray took it upon himself to injure himself while in the van en route to the police station. There isn't much mainstream media steam behind this idea as it does not advance the race tension agenda. The theory goes that Gray had been in an auto accident resulting in spinal surgery and because of that surgery it wouldn't have taken much trauma or shock to cause a disconnection between the neck and spine. This narrative has something going for it in that another individual under arrest in the van stated that he heard some noise from on the other side of the metal partition in the van and that noise led him to believe that Gray was in fact causing himself injuries. Another piece of evidence that seems to corroborate the other prisoners story is that marks on the back of Grays neck seemed to match the size and shape of a bolt found on the vehicle. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.
Regardless of anything, with the Mayor of Baltimore basically giving protesters free range to pillage, loot, burn and destroy the city (see: remarks made by Stephanie Rawlings-Blake ) absolutely nothing was done to really control the riots or to bring them to an end. America is in a delicate position presently. We are seeing racial tensions rise nationwide and it won't be too much longer before we face the all out destruction of our country. At what point do we as a nation pull it together and quit seeing hyphenated Americans? The suggestion isn't to forget your heritage or not be proud of your roots. We need to be proud of where our bloodlines come from in order to maintain our individuality. The suggestion isn't to put one ethnicity over the other, to do so flies in the face of the Constitution. America can't heal or become one voice again until we're all proud to be Americans first.