Baltimore looks like pure hell to me.
I don't know enough about the Freddie Gray thing to say one way or the other who is right or who is wrong. I don't think anybody really does.
What we do know is that there are two sides to every story. Way too many black men are being gunned down in the streets unarmed. Or beaten to death. It's likely this had gone on for a very long time, and the only reason we are paying attention now is the cellphone cameras that catch it on tape. I've heard that comment from many inner city black citizens of Baltimore this week.
On the flipside of that, the police in general have a very tough job in these inner cites. It's not a job I would do. You are in the eye of the storm every second you are on duty. It jades you, makes you defensive and on guard 24/7, and you likely start shooting first and asking yourself why you do that later.
It's a recipe for what we have seen happen lately. When those two things occur, somebody is going to die and somebody is going to be accused of being the bad person in the equation.
We all know there is a huge race relations problem in the States. I see it every time I go there, in many different cities, from coast to coast. It bothers me at times to even be in those cities. I know its not safe. There is so much tension on both sides. Like a volcano ready to bubble over and explode at any minute.
Baltimore is now in Volcano eruption mode. But, I know this. This I know for sure:
Baltimore has had a bad reputation as a city you didn't want to go near anyway for a long time, much like Detroit did--and does still-- for as long as I can remember.
And if there was any hope that was going to change, that evaporated this week.
It seems to me its just another great American city that has fallen apart at the seems and will only get worse until anybody who cares enough will flee it..much like Detroit experienced when the population moved out of the main city.
I am going to Washington this week for a few days. I was thinking I might like to go to Pimlico or Laurel for the day to see whichever is running. Even if this Freddie Gray thing was 3 months ago, and had completely blown over, I doubt I would go. It just doesn't seem safe.
Now, today, they played a baseball game to a completely empty stadium. That was a mind blowing image to see. I don't think I ever thought that was conceivable. That is reflective of how out of hand the situation and that city has become.
When your city doesn't seem safe, you are at the point that the city has collapsed onto itself with its own problems. I don't think it can recover. This was the death blow to the city.
Where does all this type of thing end? I really don't know that it will, or it can. It has just gotten too bad. We seem to see one of these a month, and I suspect it will become more frequent, not less frequent. We are almost at the point that I view travelling in the States as a risk not worth the reward.
I know most cities aren't that bad, but on any given day, I don't know which and where.
That is not good. Not good at all.
I wish I had a witty, poignant conclusion to this blog, like I always try to do. To put the button on the whole thing. I don't. I just don't know. I am only glad I don't live there, and can avoid it. Thank god for that.
It looks like pure hell to me.