I usually never watch the news, but I’ve been keeping up with the goings on in Baltimore this week, mostly because I used to live there and have many friends, co-workers, and colleagues who are taking part, in many different ways, in the resistance.
My first thought is that inciting a police curfew is a brilliant strategy, whether or not it was intentional; the cops have effectively spread the economic pain that these neighborhoods experience throughout the rest of the city by hurting businesses that would otherwise be uninvolved. Nobody can go shopping, or they’ll get arrested. It’s genius.
My second thought is that if you say you want things to “calm down” in Baltimore, you’re actually saying that you want things to go back to normal—normal being the constant systematic violence visited upon the common citizen by the state (which indeed would falter quickly without widespread violence). You just want this to go away, so you can go back to shopping and ignoring the consequences of our “lifestyles.”
My third thought is that if you think the recent news from Baltimore is “sad,” what you’re saying is that it wasn’t sad last week, when a number of people were murdered without fanfare. It wasn’t sad last year or the year before, when a large portion of city residents lived with hunger, lead paint, police brutality, and utter divestment in their neighborhoods as the stats quo. It wasn’t sad decades ago, when major corporations (notably auto companies) segregated, ghetto-ized, and gutted the area, setting up the now well-documented “good” neighborhood next to “bad” neighborhood patchwork (with little transit between them) that pretty much everyone who has been to or lived in Baltimore will inevitably talk about when describing the city to someone who’s about to visit.
My fourth thought is that I love Baltimore. I’m proud of Baltimore.