Baltimore burns after powder keg explodes

Baltimore burns after powder keg explodes

It’s a scene that we’ve become too familiar with. A horde of angry protesters confronting a line of helmeted, armor-clad police officers. Burning cars, broken glass, and chaos. It isn’t just in Egypt, Ukraine, or Greece. This is America.

From the Occupy Movement to the battle of Ferguson, the streets of the United States have been simmering with tension numerous times over the past months. Whether it be economic malaise, environmental issues, or racial issues, the United States has seen its fair share of protests.

With images of the rampant looting and rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, still fresh in the public’s mind, the city of Baltimore, Maryland has exploded. Freddie Gray died April 19th of a spinal injury he suffered after being arrested by Baltimore police, leading to peaceful protests. What began as a peaceful protest against police brutality soon descended into an episode of violence.

Some protesters started hurling stones and other objects at Baltimore PD officers. They also looted and set stores and cars alight. By April 28th, the Maryland National Guard was deployed. To most people, it is apparent that the violence is doing more harm than good to the movement and the community.

The rioters and looters are destroying the legitimacy of the protests against police brutality in Baltimore. The reason for these protests is police brutality, and whether the police abuses are real or imagined, everyone can agree that the subject of the demonstrations should be the police.

But the agitators are not only targeting law enforcement, they are also affecting many large and small businesses. The looters are damaging these businesses and stealing food and other products. By looting and stealing, the rioters give the appearance that many protesters are not as interested in justice as much as their own personal gain.

Looting and violence only distract the populace from the original message of the protests, to demonstrate against police brutality. As the violence continues to drag on, the original message is lost, and the peaceful protesters are overlooked more and more.

Freddie Grey’s death, instead of being the catalyst for peaceful protests, is being turned into an excuse to commit senseless acts of violence that have no social benefit.

The violence in Baltimore is not only discrediting the demonstrations, but also carries many more serious consequences. Not only are the rioters are destroying the protesters’ credibility, but also their own communities as well.

When the dust settles, the looting and vandalism will cost millions of dollars in damage to infrastructure, public, and private property. The money that will go into repair and replacement is millions of dollars that cannot be used for social programs and the community. That will be millions of dollars used for repairing the community rather than actually enriching the community.

The destruction will cause many businesses to close their doors for a time in order to repair damages caused by rioters, and businesses will lose money from the closings. In the worst case scenario, some businesses may never open their doors again, and they will go out of business. That means that more people will be left out of work, and the community will further deteriorate.

The violence undoubtedly does more harm than good. It not only destroys the credibility of protests, but it also destroys communities and livelihoods. It is social cannibalism.