Apr 29, 201504:57 PMBlaska's Bring It!
with David Blaska
Madison can smell Baltimore’s smoke
(page 1 of 2)
Baltimore has lessons for Madison.
1) First is the value of parenting. Mother of the year goes to the woman who slapped her teenage son silly for throwing rocks at the police. If Barack Obama wants to send a clear message of social responsibility, he should invite the lady to the White House and give her a medal of some sort. Bring the boy along. The young man has a real chance to grow up and be something. Or, at least, to grow up.
“He’s my only son. At the end of the day, I won’t want him to be another Freddie Gray,” she said, in reference to the 25-year-old killed in police custody. (CNN’s video here.) Think about that. Obey the law as a survival strategy.
2) The second lesson stems from the first. The raw fuel for disorders in Baltimore, as in Madison, comes down to teenage boys. The troubles started in Baltimore after the high schools let out Monday. Most of the victims –– whether in Baltimore, Madison, or Ferguson –– have been troubled young males. Boys looking to be men challenge authority –– the father figure. That is part of the initiation rite, no matter the species. The purpose of the adult is to keep order. Didn’t we read about a world ruled by teenaged boys in Lord of the Flies?
A while back, gamekeepers noted young bull elephants were wantonly killing rhinos. They captured and introduced into the rogue band a couple mature elephants from another herd. The rhino killing ceased. In this most violent year of race relations since LBJ, police substitute for the father figures –– the upholders of order –– for so many fatherless young men.
In Madison, the April 13 daylong shutdown of East Washington Avenue was in large part the work of truant high schoolers.
3) The third lesson is to not abdicate that authority just because it is challenged in the name of some bogus altruism. You protest the death of Freddie Gray by burning down a drug store and senior citizen housing? Stealing the Stoly?
The president is correct to call the riots the work of “criminals and thugs.” Baltimore’s mayor said the same, but some of her words were (perhaps understandably) misinterpreted. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she worked with the police, “to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech. It’s a very delicate balancing act, because, while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.”
At first blush, it sounded that the mayor was giving free rein to the rioters. What she meant was that ordering police to stand back for the purpose of allowing peaceful demonstration gave an unintended opening to lawless instigators.
The indispensible James Taranto, of The Wall Street Journal, writes that Baltimore “failed in the delicate balancing act of safeguarding both free expression and public order. As the latter deteriorated, the former inevitably suffered as well: It’s hard to protest when bricks are flying and buildings are burning.”
Allowing Madison kids to close down a major thoroughfare during rush-hour traffic is that kind of opening.