May 1, 2015

Web of Tragedy

I have been in Baltimore since Monday, to be met with the unrest following the tragic death of Freddy Gray. This strikes close to home, literally. My Baltimore neighborhood (Bolton Hill) shares the same zip code with the neighborhood in which Freddy Gray lived and was taken into custody, and in which much of the unrest and protest and violence has taken place. This was highlighted in a recent story on the PBS Newshour.

The helicopters have been a nightly accompaniment to lost sleep, and have led me to sundry thoughts, which I share with you in no particular order.

  • The War on Drugs has had little effect on drugs but has impoverished and criminalized whole populations, here and abroad.
  • Who says racism is a thing of the past?
  • When looking police in the eye is a crime, who are the criminals?
  • And when doesn't flight from police seem like a good idea?
  • Abuse of suspects is a heinous crime, even when it doesn't result in serious injury or death. If the "rough ride" is the norm, is it any wonder people hate the police?
  • Some in the BPD seem to believe in taking justice into their own vans.
  • Time to reevaluate flight as probable cause for pursuit.
  • When does what amounts to entrapment become the primary modality of law enforcement?
  • “Resistance is futile” ought not be the motto of law enforcement.
  • When does media coverage become the cause rather than the observer (cue Heisenberg... and I don't mean the meth king of Breaking Bad.) When does covering the news create the news?
  • And speaking of media, since when does freedom of the press mean not obeying the law? There are more media than protestors out after the curfew. 
  • I wish Elijah Cumming would run for President.
  • How does the view from a helicopter differ from the view from a drone, and to what extent does it further dehumanize the populace. (Cue Harry Lime on moving dots from the top of the Ferris wheel in Vienna.)
  • Who doesn't think reactions would be very different if Freddy Gray were white? Of course, were he white the whole situation would be different from the get go, so doesn't that tell us that the problem is systemic?
  • Some kids need to be forcibly reminded that their grandmas now have no where to get their heart medicine.

That's the summary for now. God bless us all, and may sanity prevail.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

1 comment:

Mary Clara said...

Tobias, I am glad you are here, painful though it is to be here. I know you love your home town. Hope by now you are getting some sleep!

Brother Elijah has been an amazing presence this week. His funeral address knocked me out, and every word and every gesture he has made in the streets has been eloquent and focused, insightful and loving. No wasted words, no empty gestures.

The African-American clergy have shown strong leadership, too, and Baltimoreans are standing up all over the place, showing their passion for the city and love for each other. There is a long road ahead, but I am hopeful.