Monday, May 4, 2015

Baltimore, Ferguson, Garland

Later this year will be the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita hitting the Gulf Coast of the United States.  The devastation was unlike anything the US had seen in recent history and the region was thrown into chaos and lawlessness with huge crowds robbing and pillage businesses.  The federal government, especially FEMA and President Bush, took the lions-share of the blame for a slow response that aggravated an already desperate situation.  Somehow or other, the then governor of Louisiana Mary Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin did not get blamed as much for their delay in requesting help form the federal government.

Ten years later, the riots in Baltimore and last year's riots in Ferguson had equally slow responses from local officials but like the Hurricane Katrina response, the blame has gone elsewhere.  Whites are blaming blacks and blacks are blaming the police yet no one seems to realize that everyone is losing.  The reason the riots happened was NOT because of the death of Freddie Gray, it was because Baltimore officials (especially Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts) did NOT direct the Baltimore Police Department to take an aggressive approach when the riot first started.  Their approaches left the Baltimore Police out-matched when demonstrators began to throw rocks causing the police to fall back and in essence, give up ground to the rioters.  Then all hell broke loose.

Social media is full of vitriol along political and racial lines about the Baltimore riots.  In the quest to find justice for Freddie Gray, the discussion about why Baltimore was allowed to burn is being overlooked (perhaps on purpose?).  Similarly, the poor response of the Ferguson City Hall and Police Department allowed a situation to go from peaceful protest into full-blown riot.  Conversely, while the calls for both the mayor and police chief of Ferguson to step down, nary a word has been mentioned about either Rawlings-Blake or Batts resignations.

The shooting of two armed Muslims in Garland, TX has also focused more on the event (Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest) and host (Pamela Geller) than on the terrorists perpetrators.  We are hearing more about Geller's anti-Muslim/pro-Israeli rants than the fact that both shooters are linked to ISIS.

Americans are missing the big picture.  Each of these events are keeping us focused on bickering with one another and failing to realize that our elected officials are grossly incompetent, are letting their citizens down (regardless of color) and are very likely in collusion with the federal government to allow more control of first responders by Washington (contrary to the Tenth Amendment).  The events in Ferguson, New York, Baltimore and now Garland are being portrayed as examples of how lawless and chaotic the US has really become.  It hasn't but the news and social media will convince you otherwise and that's all that is needed to allow the introduction of martial law.

We are being duped by our own prejudices and bigotry.  The police are falling right into the trap as well.  They don't work for Washington yet more and more local police are having to get FBI approval for their operations.  It makes a nice sound-byte to say local police are now under federal oversight but that cuts both ways.  Now local police are beholding to the feds in order to do their jobs.  The distinction between federal authorities and locals is getting thiner by the day.

While we are bickering along political and racial lines, we are completely unaware of the threat ISIS now poses.  They have watched and learned much in the past few months.  African-Americans have less trust in law enforcement today than they did during the Civil Rights era.  I can't imagine any immigrant having trust in federal agents right now.  ISIS  can thus move easily through either of these populations with little fear of being reported to the authorities.  White Americans are too quick to give up on African-Americans thinking the problems in Baltimore aren't theirs as well.  Our cities are failing in providing a safe and secure environment to ALL citizens.  And Washington is too eager to fill in that role.

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