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Anarchy in Baltimore


What happened Monday night in Baltimore, the Economist reported, “is perhaps best described not as a riot but as anarchy”:

Though there are police lines, there are few protesters or people fighting the police or hurling stones. Indeed, where the police are lined up, the people standing around are mostly taking photos on their phones. Drive a few blocks in any direction, though, and suddenly it feels lawless. Groups of young men, boys really, wearing bandanas and hoodies, stand on street corners next to derelict buildings, staring at anyone passing, and occasionally throwing projectiles at cars. Young women hurry home carrying bags of stolen loot: food, clothes, and bottles of beer and liquor. On the occasional street here and there cars burn freely. Shops, of which there are not many in this abandoned corner of the inner city, are ravaged, their windows smashed, their shelves picked over. Cars hurtle through red lights at high speed, music blaring, boys leaning out of the windows. And everywhere the intense smell of smoke and the buzz of helicopters overhead.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

As night fell, looters took to Mondawmin Mall and a Save-A-Lot and Rite Aid in Bolton Hill, loading up cars with stolen goods. About 10 fire crews battled a three-alarm fire at a large senior center under construction at Chester and Gay streets, as police officers stood guard with long guns. . . .

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake declared a curfew across the city starting Tuesday and for the next week, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for adults and 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. for children aged 14 and younger. She drew a distinction between peaceful protesters and “thugs” she said engaged in rioting Monday intend on “destroying our city.”

“It’s idiotic to think that by destroying your city, you’re going to make life better for anybody,” Rawlings-Blake said.

(“Idiotic”? Ma’am, these are Democrat voters you’re talking about.)

At Rawlings-Blake’s request, Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency and activating the Maryland National Guard. . . .

The governor is sending 500 state troopers to Baltimore and requesting as many as 5,000 officers from neighboring states, he said in a press conference.

“I have not made this decision lightly,” Hogan said. “The National Guard represents a last resort.”

Of course, if the National Guard can’t restore order, President Obama could deploy the 82nd Airborne Division, or maybe order some Predator drone strikes against the rioters, but we probably don’t want think about that “last resort.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates offers intellectual excuses for the rioters:

Rioting broke out on Monday in Baltimore—an angry response to the death of Freddie Gray, a death my native city seems powerless to explain. Gray did not die mysteriously in some back alley but in the custody of the city’s publicly appointed guardians of order. And yet the mayor of that city and the commissioner of that city’s police still have no idea what happened. . . .

The citizens who live in West Baltimore, where the rioting began, intuitively understand this. I grew up across the street from Mondawmin Mall, where today’s riots began. My mother was raised in the same housing project, Gilmor Homes, where Freddie Gray was killed. Everyone I knew who lived in that world regarded the police not with admiration and respect but with fear and caution. People write these feelings off as wholly irrational at their own peril, or their own leisure. The case against the Baltimore police, and the society that superintends them, is easily made . . .

Right. Liberals must blame “society,” despite the fact that the “publicly appointed guardians of order” answer to a “society” (i.e., the citizens of Baltimore) who in 2012 gave 87% of their votes to Barack Obama. Yet it is predictable that, to people whose politics is a simple devotion to (a) electing Democrats and (b) supporting liberal policies, the evidence of failure leaves them angry, confused and hunting for scapegoats. Democrats cannot be blamed, nor can the party’s most loyal constituents be held responsible, and the possibility that liberalism is itself the problem — well, no, thoughts like that never cross the mind of someone like Ta-Nehisi Coates. His worldview is completely fact-proof and immune to the influence of logical deduction.

This is the political gospel of modern liberalism: People who vote 87% Democrat are never to be blamed for anything they do wrong. And really, the liberal asks, isn’t “wrong” kind of a judgmental word when applied to the peace-loving citizens of Baltimore?

First published at


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