Anyone who isn’t familiar with Baltimore will need some background and perspective to even begin to understand the troubled story unfolding there. The protests and unrest in the city stem from the arrest and death in custody of Freddie Gray, who was buried Monday. But the underlying grievances have a long history.
Here are two columns I recommend:
JAMIE STIEHM, a former Baltimore Sun reporter, now writing for Creators Inc. Tuesday, Apr. 28, “Notes From a Baltimore Police Scene.” Updated link: Go to Creators Syndicate and search for Jamie Stiehm.
“It happened in plain sight in Sandtown. “Another City, Another Death in the Public Eye,” said the front-page headline in The New York Times. But Baltimore’s leadership is unusual compared to most cities, with a black woman mayor and a black police commissioner. That means its citizen protests may go beyond black and white. It’s gray, like the victim’s name.”
Ms. Stiehm goes on to recount her own bruising arrest experience some years back in Baltimore, followed by a night in the city lockup.
THOMAS SCHALLER, writing in the Baltimore Sun on Tuesday, Apr. 28, “Why Baltimore Burns For Freddie Gray.” Read it here.
“Rather, the fact of social protest is prima facie evidence of political disgruntlement, and of an extant imbalance between those who wield power and those subjected to it. When these inequities persist and have no other form of expression, there will be unrest. And in this case, those suffering from Baltimore’s power imbalances are disproportionately black.”
I don’t know where Baltimore goes from here. There’s a lot yet to sort out. I think this latest death by police and the ensuing protests put the economic and racial divides in America on stark display for all to see. I hope we can learn something from this painful time. I hope peace and some semblance of normalcy will soon return to the streets of Baltimore. But I’m afraid for the future of America.
— John Hayden