I wasn’t born or raised in Baltimore, and I don’t consider myself a Baltimorian today even if I do work in the city and live right outside it. In fact, I make fun of it all the time, with good reason.
But there’s nothing to make fun of right now. The riots and violence that happened this week – and will probably continue to happen for at least the next few days – aren’t anything any of us should be laughing at. They’re a sign of a society so diseased that it’s eating itself.
On Facebook last night, I saw statuses from friends who do consider themselves Baltimorians though. One posted a single word: “heartbroken.” Another trashed the city with harsh words and a sense of grief, while a third wrote out her feelings over multiple paragraphs decrying her liberal sympathies and admitting that she wanted to see the rioters sobbing under the effects of teargas.
They should be heartbroken and grieving. They have every reason to be. Because their city is under attack and the supposed authorities – whether elected or professional – are incompetent.
Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said the protesters should have space to “destroy” (whether she knew what she was saying or not is currently being debated by two of my coworkers down the hall), the city council has told police to stand down and watch people break into stores and burn down property. And my financial publishing company is meanwhile blaming it all on certain Baltimorians’ lack of wealth, flat-out calling financial wealth the key to liberty.
I’m not going to say that I think they’re all idiots. I know they are.
This isn’t about wealth. This is about education, or the lack thereof, at its most basic sense. Which means that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece, Dr. Alveda King, has so far said it best:
“As I watched the protest, I’m reminded of [when]… I was part of the first children’s march in Birmingham, Alabama,” she told Breitbart, adding that the march was supervised and peaceful. “These children [in Baltimore today] are not supervised – they are angry.”
“These children” also have a whole lot more going for them than King and her companions down in Alabama back in the day. How many of the little thugs from last night have cool kicks, smartphones and iPods? I bet a lot of them. And even if they don’t, there are kids far poorer around the world who don’t go around hurting innocent people because they’re poor. Likewise, there are plenty of rich people who do hurt innocent people.
Take politicians, for example, and I’m not just talking about their policies. Having wealth isn’t the key to freedom any more than abstaining from wealth. If someone gave the rioters a fortune each, they would still be ill-mannered little thugs. Because money isn’t the root of all happiness (incidentally, it’s also not the root of all evil).
Take it from King again, who also stated that allowing them to run wild and destructive isn’t showing compassion; it’s just the opposite. “These children need help. They need guidance.”
And that includes a good spanking. Right now, that might be the best education they could get.