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WORTH REPEATING: Why There’s A Riot Goin’ On

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Photo by SERIOUS_SMOKER

USA TODAY: After protests in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray turned violent on Saturday, Baltimore sports-radio broadcaster Brett Hollander took to Twitter to argue that demonstrations that negatively impact the daily lives of fellow citizens are counter-productive. Orioles COO John Angelos, son of owner Peter Angelos, seized the opportunity to respond with a qualified and brilliant defense of those protesting. You can read the whole thing in Angelos’ Twitter replies, but it’s transcribed here for clarity. It’s all here because it’s all so good. Read the whole thing:

Brett, speaking only for myself, I agree with your point that the principle of peaceful, non-violent protest and the observance of the rule of law is of utmost importance in any society. MLK, Gandhi, Mandela and all great opposition leaders throughout history have always preached this precept. Further, it is critical that in any democracy, investigation must be completed and due process must be honored before any government or police members are judged responsible.

That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused 1024px-Baltimore_Orioles.svgneither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.

The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, and ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importances of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards. We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the U.S., and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ballgame irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans. [via TWITTER]

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DAVID SIMON: First things first. Yes, there is a lot to be argued, debated, addressed. And this moment, as inevitable as it has sometimes seemed, can still, in the end, prove transformational, if not redemptive for our city. Changes are necessary and voices need to be heard. All of that is true and all of that is still DavidSimonPressPasspossible, despite what is now loose in the streets. But now in this moment the anger and the selfishness and the brutality of those claiming the right to violence in Freddie Gray’s name needs to cease. There was real power and potential in the peaceful protests that spoke in Mr. Gray’s name initially, and there was real unity at his homegoing today. But this, now, in the streets, is an affront to that man’s memory and a dimunition of the absolute moral lesson that underlies his unnecessary death. If you can’t seek redress and demand reform without a brick in your hand, you risk losing this moment for all of us in Baltimore. Turn around. Go home. Please. MORE

DAVID SIMON: I believe in mass civil disobedience. I hope the intersection at Pennsie and North is shut down every day by mass protests until the system yields some reform. I was out there today kicking in. But yes, I believe that disobedience should remain non-violent. Second, I am denouncing not all of the victims of this systemic injustice. Nor am I suggesting that it isn’t understandable or inevitable that people under such pressure and for so long can and will be provoked to violence. But nothing in what you write can convince me that this violence isn’t heedlessly brutal and self-defeating — not just to the rioters themselves and their cause, but to the other protestors who are doing all they can to bring real grievances to the powers that be and demand redress. All of us are trying to demilitarize the police in this country, to end the drug war, to bring some of the 2.3 million people in prison, too many of them non-violent offenders, home. That just gets harder when the rest of America looks at the national news and sees burning and looting. Why, the rest of America begins to argue, should we demilitarize anything or empty any prison cells when what happened in Baltimore last night is possible? MORE

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