First things first, it would appear the Baltimore Police Department acted improperly in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray. Lots of people are arrested. Death due to a spinal injury normally doesn’t occur after the arrest has happened.
That said, is Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake a part of the problem or the solution?
Problem refers to the plight of poor, urban citizens who often are people of color. Solution refers to doing things that help urban Americans make a better way for themselves in life. The Mayor’s position between these two social trajectories is curious in light of her recent action. Action refers to her deliberate — and publicly stated — policy of allowing rioters “a space” to “destroy” things if that’s what they felt they needed to do.
On a macro-level Blake’s progressive politics and the destructive behavior of rioters are essentially the same thing. Rioters destroy what’s given to them to destroy physically, while progressive political figures use policy to decimate entire communities. Really, the only difference between what a rioter does and what eight decades of progressive rule has done in say, Detroit, is that one acts through instruments of policy and law while the other does so using bricks, molotovs, or whatever instrument is within reach.
In other words, the agenda of a Stephanie Rawlings-Blake isn’t all that different from what the Baltimore rioters hoped to accomplish — destruction of a vibrant and successful part of the city. (Baltimore’s Inner Harbor was revitalized a few decades ago and today is a key attraction in the city).
On an individual level, Blake’s decision to give rioters a place where they could freely break the law speaks of bigotry and racism. The message she conveyed to Baltimore’s poor and largely African-American urban core is this: “You are too dumb and immature to behave thoughtfully in a civil society so I will grant you room so that you may engage in knee-jerk incivility without consequence”.
On a side note, there are men and women at a Maryland state prison in downtown Baltimore and not too far from the Inner Harbor that no doubt wish a space had been granted where they were when they committed their criminal offenses. And they claim there is white privilege…
Isn’t it precisely incivility without consequence that in part furthers the plight of urban America? It’s at the root of every malign aspect in urban communities from drive by shootings, drug abuse, street violence, broken households, and all the rest.
Mayor Blake is clearly on the side of the problem. She’ll be given a pass for it as all good progressives are. Even as that space for destruction she authorized proves the truth behind the old saying “give’em an inch and they’ll take a mile” and rioters expand the depth and scope of their violence in Baltimore. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake will be called courageous for taking a controversial approach towards solving a thorny problem.
Make no mistake, Mayor Blake is the Baltimore riots just as all progressives are the problems that plague the inner city.