As a Maryland native, it has usually been rare to have major national headlines about our state, unless it was related to something right outside of Washington. But now, one of the major headlines comes right out of my beautiful state.
Baltimore. Protests, riots, fiery cars, broken store windows. Now, the latest developments are the most horrifying developments I have heard yet. These events have now led to a declaration of a State of Emergency and the deployment of the National Guard.
Today, the Baltimore Police Department reported that there are credible threats that members of gangs including the Bloods, Crips, and Black Guerrilla family have “entered into a partnership” to “take-out” law enforcement officers.
The Bloods and the Crips are two very infamously violent rival gangs. Having two of the largest, most vicious rival gangs teaming up could be one of the most terrifying unities that has ever happened. Furthermore, the Black Guerrilla Gang family is extremely viscous. Just a few years ago, the gang overtook a Baltimore prison, raped multiple people, and impregnated four guards.
Crowds of people, allegedly teenagers, throwing rocks, bricks, and various debris at huge lines of police officers armed with shields and other various protections. There was a High School meme that surfaced online, which promoted a “Purge,” a reference to a recent movie that embraced the idea of a 12-hour period of time that allowed for anyone to commit any crime, including murder. So far, seven officers have been injured during the violent protests. The injuries range from broken bones to one officer being unresponsive.
The University of Maryland, a train station, various roads, malls, and many other places have been shut down. The protests, initially sparked over the death of Freddie Gray, who was in police custody when he sustained the fatal injuries, have turned from peaceful to violent. Last night, baseball fans were held in the Orioles Stadium until the violent protests died down.
And, one of the most shocking things of all of this is a statement from the Baltimore mayor. Baltimore Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, asked the Baltimore Police Department to “give those who wished to destroy, space to do that.”
Despite my views on how smashing store windows will not speed up the justice process, or how the young people throwing bricks at police officers might not fully understand the ramifications of their actions, or that there was a lack of thought put into the mayor’s comments, right now, I believe we must wait and pray.
We must wait until the investigation is complete and we get all of the facts before we rush to judgement. If anyone decides to protest, I urge them to peacefully protest. Do not listen to the Baltimore mayor. If there is an avenue where your leader condones violence, take the higher ground.
There are life-long ramifications that can happen from your actions today. Choose to be a role-model, not an instigator. If you are in Baltimore, try to stand up with peace and love. Be a role-model for those who don’t know to peacefully protest. If you are currently one of the people involved in the peaceful protests around Baltimore, thank you.
Finally, we must pray for Baltimore: the locals, that they can stay calm, the rioters, that they choose to protest peacefully, the police officers, that they protect and are protected, and the entire city, that they are all safe. We should pray that the intesity of the current escalation is the climax of this event, and that soon the event will become peaceful again.