No Love in the Heart of the City
It's hard times in Baltimore City right now but it has always been hard times. When you ride through the communities of Baltimore City, you'll see a lot of despair, struggle, oppression, and violence. April 25th, 2015 will be a day my city lives in infamy and unfortunately one of our crown jewels was effected by the chaos.
The Orioles defeated the Boston Red Sox Saturday night, 5-4, in extra innings to end their 5 game losing streak. Adam Jones, who has been hot like a firecracker, hit a triple in the tenth setting himself up as the tying run, Chris Davis bringing him home with a Sac Fly, tying the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the tenth.
David Lough walked to the plate and sent Koji Uehara's pitch into right field, ending the game with a walkoff Home-run. Usually this would mean filled bars and happy times in the surrounding areas of Camden Yards but not on this night.
This was the scene outside of Camden Yards minutes before the start of the O's-Red Sox 7:05 game. To catch you up to date, a young man by the name of Freddie Gray was arrested by Baltimore City Police but died a week later after suffering a fractured spine while in BCPS custody. This has generated peaceful protest for the most part, mainly on the West Side of the city where Gray was a resident, but Saturday Evening was the first day things turned violent.
Watching this turmoil on the news, it hurt my heart to see my city in such a bad time. Am I disappointed that it has come to this point? Yes, but I am not disappointed in the people who were causing this destruction.
I've lived in Baltimore all 25 years of my life and I have witness the police brutalized citizens, mainly young black males, for majority of that time. I have been a victim of such acts, and I will be the first to say that people are tired of it. What happened on 4/25/15 was the results of more than 3 decades of anger and aggression. Not to mention, this has been a recurring situation since the death of Trayvon Martin in 2012, who wasn't even killed by an officer but death still went unjustified.
Police brutality is a nationwide issue, but in Baltimore it is a serious issue. Every Tuesday and Thursday here in the city, undercover police, also known as "Knockers", ride around and jump out on civilians, illegally search them with no probable cause, humiliate them, and often times get violent with them. This tatic has caused nothing but tension between civilians and Officers along with mistrust. Since I was a kid I recall of these days, and even being taught what to do in case I was ever caught on "Hop Out day".
I am not trying to defend the chaos that took place but more so helping people understand the mindset of a young black male during this time. We're unlike any other species and race in this country because we have to go through different events in our life that shape the way we think. When you grow up in a poverty driven environment, where violence and chaos happen on a daily, you become a product of that. People outside of them realms won't understand this anger but instead judge and criticize. Not many people want to come into the rough areas of Baltimore to help or show people that they have options other than dope dealing, stealing, and killing. That reason alone creates animosity, along with an "Us vs. Them" mentality.
To my fellow YBMs, we must changed ourselves also. I feel the same anger everyone of those protesters felt on Saturday but I am fortunate to know that I have to channel my energy into something other than destruction. Destruction will not get us what we want in the long term, it may feel good for the moment, but we will still have to fight the same war that we are fighting now. We must not look at one anther as enemies but more so as brothers. The police are killing us because they see us killing each other. We can't win this war if we are so quick to take a fellow YBM life. When people see us do that it gives them more reason to generalize us as "savages". This war is not our fault but in order for it to end, we have to be progressive in our self-evaluation.
Unfortunately, from here on out it is only going to get worse and the reason why I say that is because I don't think those 6 officers that I'm sure brutalized 25-year old Freddie Gray, and ultimately killed him, will be indicted. Mike Brown's killer wasn't indicted, Eric Gardner's killer wasn't indicted, and many other victims' of police brutality killers walked away freely. Until this country shows that they care about "US" and understand this can not continue to happen, this sort of destruction will continue.