Can you believe the incredibly stupid statement by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake? As hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of her city, to protest the death of a 25-year-old black man while in police custody, she ordered the cops to allow “those who wished to destroy space to do that.”
That was all it took for peaceful protests to turn violent. There had been demonstrations every day since April 19, when it was learned that Freddie Gray had died of a spinal-cord injury after police arrested him. But it wasn’t until a week later, after Gray’s funeral on Monday afternoon, that some “criminals and thugs,” as President Obama described them, began looting and burning stores in the area.
The mayhem lasted for two days and nights, until Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and ordered 2,000 National Guardsmen into the city. They were joined by by more than a thousand extra law enforcement officers. “This combined force will not tolerate violence or looting,” the governor declared.
A curfew was imposed from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. Finally things began to quiet down. But at what a cost? At least 20 police officers have been injured, some seriously. Dozens of buildings were looted and damaged. More than 250 people have been arrested. And about 150 automobiles, many of them police vehicles, have been destroyed.
Schools and colleges in the city have been closed. Two baseball games scheduled for Camden Yards, the home of the Baltimore Orioles, have been postponed. And in a first in the history of professional baseball, fans were not permitted to attend Wednesday's game with the Chicago White Sox.
Buck Showalter, the Orioles’ manager, supported the decision by Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfrew to ban fans from the game. “It’s all about what’s best for the city and the safety of our people,” he said. “The last thing you want to do is put the fans in harm’s way. You have to err on the side of safety.”
But there have been some positive stories, too. Hundreds of residents turned out to help clean up the streets, sweeping up glass and debris and putting it in trash bags that stores had donated. Blanca Tapahuasco, a black mother from another part of the city, brought her three sons to help clean up outside a looted and burned CVS. “We’re helping the neighborhood build back up,” she told reporters. “This is an encouragement to them to know the rest of the city is not just looking on and wondering what to do.”
Haywood McMorris, the manager of the looted CVS, said the destruction of his store made no sense. “We work here, man,” he said. “This is where we stand, and this is where people actually make a living.”
Yes, thanks to thousands of National Guardsmen and law-enforcement personnel patrolling the streets, the riots have stopped. Some sort of order has been restored.
But the anarchy in Baltimore proves once again that liberal policies haven’t worked. And they won’t, so long as schools fail to teach, black men abandon their families, businesses are threatened, and unemployment remains chronically high.
Tell “thugs and criminals” they can loot with impunity and you can expect a lot more trouble in our cities. This past week, these failed liberal policies produced some bitter fruit. So of course the left says even more welfare programs are needed.
Sadly, I’m afraid things will get a lot worse in this country – and especially in our major cities – while this philosophy prevails.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.
Chip Wood was the first news editor of The Review of the News and also wrote for American Opinion, our two predecessor publications. He is now the geopolitical editor of Personal Liberty Digest. This article first appeared on PersonalLiberty.com and has been reprinted with permission.