Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Fire this Time

As riots go, last night's edition in Baltimore wasn't so bad. But life in Baltimore is. Here is Baltimore Orioles' COO John Angelos reflecting on Twitter:
That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts group but is focued rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the US to 3rd world dictatorships like China and others plunged tens of millions of good hard working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.
The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, an ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importance of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards. We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the US and while we are thankful no on was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights and this makes inconvenience at a ball game irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans.
Here is Dan Diamond at Forbes:
 Life in Baltimore is a tale of two cities.
And I grew up in the charmed city — truly, Charm City — that stretched along tree-lined streets near Johns Hopkins University, near the art museum, near a small encampment of a half-dozen private schools. The part of Baltimore where we not only dared to dream big, but believed that those dreams would actually come true.
Freddie Gray died in the other city.
About a quarter of Baltimore residents live below the poverty line. The unemployment rate in zip code 21217, where the riots broke out on Monday, was 19.1% in 2011.
Less than 60% of Baltimore’s high school students graduate, the worst mark in the state — by far.
Taken together, these disparities illustrate what poverty’s like in big-city America. And the effects are brutally obvious in Baltimore’s health care statistics.
Black infants in Baltimore are almost nine times more likely to die before age 1 than White infants. AIDS cases are nearly five times more common in the African-American community.
“Only six miles separate the Baltimore neighborhoods of Roland Park and Hollins Market,” interim Hopkins provost Jonathan Bagger said last year. “[B]ut there is a 20-year difference in the average life expectancy.”
That inequality is staggering when you consider that one of the best health systems in the world — Johns Hopkins Health System — is based in Baltimore. And many of the nation’s top government health care officials live in or commute to Baltimore, to work at the Medicare and Medicaid office.
Yet Baltimore’s infant mortality is on par with Moldova and Belize.
But what about the violence? Ta-Nehisi Coates responds:
 When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is "correct" or "wise," any more than a forest fire can be "correct" or "wise." Wisdom isn't the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the rioters themselves.
Riots like these solve nothing and usually end up intensifying the misery and marginalization of communities. They accelerate the thuggishness and militarization of policing.. They are like neon signs pointing to festering rot, something the powerful deal with by building higher walls around their gated communities, reinforcing their bubble of privilege. I have witnessed enough and am weary enough to guess that things will only get worse.

Now watch Gawker's Cord Jefferson on Chris Hayes.

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