In watching Baltimore burn, “progressives” run out of scapegoats. Over a week ago, a black man named Freddie Gray died after being arrested by police. Videotape shows Gray being dragged into a police van. Within a less than half an hour, his spine was somehow severed and he died seven days later.
Did an officer or the officers intentionally or inadvertently cause the injury? Did the vehicle suddenly stop, causing a possibly untethered or poorly tethered suspect/passenger to break his neck? Why was Gray stopped in the first place? Given that he ran from the police, did this provide a basis for pursuit, search and arrest? Does this not underscore the importance of police body cams and car-dash cams?
These are, of course, legitimate questions. And, in addition to the Baltimore police investigation, the Department of Justice announced that it, too, would examine the circumstances surrounding Gray’s death.
So, why riot? Unlike Ferguson, where riots also took place, black Baltimore residents do not lack political power and representation. The mayor is black. The police commissioner and deputy commissioner are black. The police department is approximately 40 percent black, in a city with a black population of 63 percent. The new head of the Department of Justice, Loretta Lynch, is a black female, the second consecutive black person to run the Department of Justice. And, of course, the president of United States is black.
There’s every reason, therefore, to believe that the investigations will be full, complete and thorough. This does not mean that the results will please everyone, but that the examination will be fair and open. After all, if a wildly popular mayor who received 84 percent of the vote cannot be trusted, who can?
This isn’t Mississippi in 1955, where Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy, was brutally murdered, only to have the obviously guilty killers acquitted by an all-white jury. This is not the 60s of white-run cities, with nearly all-white police departments policing all-black communities. In New York City, for example, most officers are people of color. Los Angeles had back-to-back black police chiefs, and as with New York City, the majority of L.A.’s street cops are people of color or women.
And it is not true, as some protestors claim, that “it doesn’t happen the other way around.” In Mobile, Alabama, in 2012, a black police officer shot and killed a white teenager. The white teen, high on drugs, was completely nude, and still the officer — fearing for his life — shot and killed the suspect. An investigation cleared the cop and — despite public pressure — a grand jury refused to indict him. No cameras. No CNN.
Just two days after Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, a “not white” cop in Salt Lake City, Utah, shot and killed an unarmed 20-year-old man whose race has been described as Hispanic. The family of the dead man believes that the cop is a murderer. No cameras. No CNN.
So, why riot in Baltimore? The answer is that for some people facts and reason don’t matter. It’s about anger, excitement, disruption. Some call it a “subculture.” Others say these are “at-risk youth.” Still others call it the “underclass.” But the 800-pound elephant in the room is the absence of fathers — responsible, involved fathers. Obama has said that a child growing up without a father is 20 times more likely to end up in jail. Today over 70 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers compared to 25 percent in the 1965.
To earn their near-monolithic 95-percent black vote, the Democratic Party repeatedly tells blacks of their continued oppression. During the 2012 election, Democratic National Committee chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, accused Republicans of seeking to “literally drag us all the way back to Jim Crow laws.”
So, when a questionable white cop/black suspect takes place, some people, conditioned to react with anger and distrust, lash out. — it’s “us against them” and “they are trying to oppress us.”
Come election time, Democrats fan and exploit this anger. Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., for example, made this accusation in his last race: “Everything we believe in, everything we believe in (Republicans) hate. They don’t disagree — they hate. … Some of them believe that slavery isn’t over and that they won the Civil War.” This is how Democrats get 95 percent of blacks to vote one way -? by telling them the other side is evil, that “the system” is corrupt and racist. So when a Freddy Gray, in police custody, turns up dead under suspicious circumstances, some will take to the streets to vent that “slavery isn’t over.”
Yes, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” When he said that, none of America’s major cities had a black mayor. The country did not have back-to-back black attorneys general. The country did not have a black president elected — and reelected.? Baltimore’s riot is the tragic language of modern welfare state.
COPYRIGHT 2015 LAURENCE A. ELDER
Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an “Elderado,” visit www.LarryElder.com. Follow Larry on Twitter @larryelder.