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April 30, 2015


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There are two separate but related components to the situation in Baltimore.

The first is outrage over the death of an individual while in police custody, of spinal injuries and a crushed voice box. Though Freddie Gray had a record of drug use and dealing, he was arrested for nothing more than making eye contact with the police and leaving the scene of said contact on a bicycle.

The second is opportunism by criminal elements using protests as cover for looting and arson.

But opportunism requires an opportunity. If Gray's entirely preventable death by means of police malfeasance hadn't occurred, or if subsequent attempts to blame the victim hadn't been permitted, or if information which should have been made public long before a month had passed had been released, or if local prosecutors had made a point of holding news conferences which indicated vigilant intolerance of potential injustice, the protests would never have grown to the point where they could turn into riots.

I also have to wonder about some of the elements organizing the criminal activity. The rioters used guerrilla tactics to pop up at locations arranged in real time using social media, only to melt away and pop up at a new location when police responded in force. Fires were started at each new location, whether to destroy forensic evidence and video of looting, or for other reasons.

As for statistics on justifiable homicides by race, these are self reported by police: only 750 departments out of over 20,000 report those stats to the FBI. Those not reporting these figures include a number of large urban police departments. The reports are not audited by the FBI so the claim of justifiable homicide depends entirely on characterizations by the police departments themselves, which have an obvious conflict of interest.


On the basis of the numbers as reported to the FBI by police departments (see caveat above), it's clear that through age 30, which is roughly when crime rates begin to significantly taper off by age, Blacks are killed by police in larger absolute numbers than Whites. Since Blacks only make up about 13 percent of the population, this figure is shocking. Per capita, Blacks in their late teens are 21 times more likely to be killed by police than their White counterparts.


The author of the blog linked to, a journalist, attempts to make the argument that this grim statistic needs to be put into context: in the same age range, Blacks also are a larger absolute number of "homicide offenders whose race is known".

There are a couple of potential weak spots in this context.

First, its fairly clear that these homicide offenders aren't the victims of police killings: in order to be classified as an offender, you have to be tried and convicted. While it's possible to argue that the Black victims of police killings are serious offenders who never make it to trial, it's just as possible to argue that no such connection has been established. Individual cases in the news showing clear evidence of police abuse in the killings of unarmed Blacks provide credible circumstantial evidence that, whatever the larger statistical picture, unjustified police shootings of Blacks occur on a regular basis.

It may be that unjustified police killings of Whites do also, but receive less media attention. If so, that doesn't necessarily eliminate racial factors from unjustified police killings; it merely indicates that unconstitutional abuses under color of law are a broader problem than is generally portrayed by the media.

Second, there is the issue of to what extent Black homicide suspects, who may be subject to fairly indiscriminate investigation methods yet are statistically less likely to be able to afford competent legal counsel, have higher conviction rates than Whites.

Finally, from police departments' own statistics, one commonly finds a pattern in which minorities are more likely to be targeted by police even when they are statistically less likely (again, according to these departments: own records) than non-Hispanic Whites.

This was true in Arizona when the state Department of Public Safety was required by court order to keep records of stops including race and results. It was true in New York City under the "stop and frisk" practice. It was true for revenue raising traffic citations in Ferguson, well out of proportion to the percentage of Blacks in the population.

Sorry, that should read:

" Finally, from police departments' own statistics, one commonly finds a pattern in which minorities are more likely to be targeted by police, even when they are statistically less likely (again, according to these departments' own records) than non-Hispanic Whites to be found carrying contraband or firearms."

P.S. New comments here:


Incidentally, another possible explanation for higher homicide rates among Blacks (i.e. committed by Blacks), and one that I tend to favor, is that for a variety of socioeconomic reasons, Blacks in their late teens and 20s are more statistically likely to belong to street gangs (e.g. Bloods and Crips). That is, even though most young Black men are NOT gang members, a higher percentage of them are relative to non-Hispanic Whites.

We know from police reporting that in some jurisdictions and during some periods, criminal gangs not only account for a disproportionate amount of crime, but in some cases account for a majority of the homicides.

This is because such gangs compete for the turf (city neighborhoods) which allows those controlling it to dominate the lucrative local drug franchise. This competition takes the form of violent, often homicidal attacks on members of opposing gangs.

Thus, you have a comparatively small number of perpetrators accounting for a large number of jurisdictional homicides. If you could control for this by separating out gang related homicides from homicide statistics for all races, I suspect that Black homicide rates would be comparable to those of non-Hispanic Whites.

Another likely explanation for the higher rate of homicides committed by Blacks compared to non-Hispanic Whites is that the percentage of Blacks who are younger than 30 is considerably higher than the percentage of Whites who are under 30. The median age of Blacks is just 31; that of the nation as a whole is 37.2; but the national figure includes not only Blacks with a younger median age, but also Hispanics with a younger median age; so that the median age of non-Hispanic Whites is actually higher than 37.2.


The reason this is important in crime statistics is that, more than any other single factor, crime rates correlate with age. Most crime is committed by the comparatively young. Rates fall among middle aged and elderly cohorts of all races.

This is why the national crime rate began falling around 1993; even the youngest of the Baby Boomers were turning 30 by then. Most were White and since Whites are the majority of the population, as the Boomers continued to age, crime rates dropped nationally, even in jurisdictions with liberal sentencing laws and judicial discretion.

Conversely, crime rates began to rise dramatically in the early to middle 1960s when the oldest of the Boomers reached their late teens.

Per my reading of Kunstler, I think when globalization,peak oil and financialization began in the 70''s the power structure had to figure out what to do with all the proletariats that would be put out of work.They could retrain and/or support them or they could tighten the screws through agressive police action.Being good businessmen,they chose the cheaper route of more police and incarceration.In addition they made sure that thosed who served their time had to return to the community because they were now un-hireable because of their prison records.There they could be managed by stop and frisk methods that were endorsed by the courts
.I do believe in self-segregation,but my experience is that is more class related than race related.I have several friends who are not white/european and we relate to each other quite well and have much in common.
It's taken 50 years but the chicks are coming home to roost,and this time the ruling class can't hire more police and don't have the money to fix them.Not sure I want to watch the show.

Did the cop in Ferguson "murder" that kid??


Every single investigation concluded pretty clearly "no".

But why should that matter? Someone has to stir the pot. Someone has to push along that the cops hate blacks, cause that way, they're still victims. And then there's still the "soft bigotry of low expectations"

Kunstler is spot on. There's no sympathy left for the lack of opportunities and the difficulties blacks experience. And they do experience those difficulties.

Not when the only drugstore in the community is a burned out shell.

If you live in AZ, even if you're in a bubble, you know you're in a bubble. We're reminded constantly through our state government and the yahoos who run it.

Black and Brown Americans have every right to feel disenfranchised, no matter how much better things have gotten. Same for poor white people. Conservative government has done nothing to improve the lot of the average American. The statistics are well known. So if the middle class is not doing well economically, then the poor are completely devastated economically. I worked in a Title I school for almost two decades. The poor are getting poorer. They've been pushed into a corner, and now they're fighting back. Wage equity, race equity, marriage equity. I personally think America IS waking up.

I'd also like to mention that I saw quite a few white faces among the protesters. A lot of us are fed up and happy to help out our brothers and sisters in a just cause. My dad used to say that if you give a cop a gun and a badge, he becomes the jury, judge, and executioner. We've now seen it for months, and some of us are sick of it.

I can listen to the T-Baggers all day how they want to water the tree of liberty, but when an actual riot breaks out they shat themselves 'cuz it ain't the right kind of people standing up for themselves. The fascists are only comfortable with white people (Cliven Bundy and whoever that gold miner is) breaking the law. All others had better OBEY!

People do need to get out of their bubbles occasionally and talk with the other side. Dialogue is in painfully short supply in today's society.

We tend to paint all with a broad brush. It's easy to forget that many black businesses were destroyed as well. The media does not seem interested in in-depth coverage of these riots when they crop up. Fire and brimstone sells! With cameras everywhere, it does turn out that police brutality is real and it is disproportionally directed at minorities. The numbers may be small, but like in any other arena, a few taint the whole. I support the police but I want to know that my admiration is justified. Another issue: all institutions circle the wagons when there is wrong doing in order to protect the institution-Penn State, the Catholic Church and of course, police departments. But a good starting point would be to get rid of the bad apples FOR the sake of the institution.

Here is an interesting post from a friend of mine, retired Federal Judge who lives in OK:

Race and crime in America

In the wake of the Ferguson and Baltimore riots I spent some time on my computer researching statistics about crime and police “racism”. This article is not intended to be exhaustive nor do I claim it as entirely mine as much of the content comes from other articles. I have attempted to avoid both the right and left extremes and stuck to FBI and census figures as much as possible.

Of the nearly 770,000 violent interracial crimes committed every year involving Blacks and Whites, Blacks commit 85 percent and Whites commit 15 percent. Blacks commit more violent crime against whites than against blacks. Forty-five percent of their victims are white, 43 percent are Black, and 10 percent are Hispanic.

It’s important to note that black men commit nearly half of all murders in this country, which is astounding when you take into consideration the fact that they only make up 6.5 per cent of the population. A number of credible academics have determined that the proportion of black suspects arrested by the police tends to match closely the proportion of offenders identified as black by victims in the National Crime Victimization Survey.

This doesn’t support the idea that the police are unfairly discriminating against the black population when they make arrests. So why are black offenders – and young black men in particular – over-represented in America’s crime statistics?

There is evidence in the official police-recorded figures that black Americans are more likely to commit certain types of crime than people of other races. While it would be naïve to suggest that there is no racism in the US criminal justice system, victim reports don’t support the idea that this is because of mass discrimination. Higher poverty rates among various urban black communities might explain the difference in crime rates, although the evidence is mixed.

There are few simple answers and links between crime and race are likely to remain the subject of bitter argument.

Blacks make up less than 14% of the U.S. population, approximately half of that (7%) are males. But homicide are not distributed evenly across the population of males. Violent crime is most often committed by males between the ages of 16 and 30 (give or take a year or so on other end). So in reality the vast majority of our murders are committed by a small subset of that 7%.

The leading cause of death for young American males is accidents, except for young black males where the leading cause of death is homicide at the hands of other young black males who look like Obama’s son if he had one.

It is also important to know that when examining FBI crimes statistics that there is not a classification for Hispanic. Hispanics are classified as white. So the 50% of our homicides that are committed by “whites” include crimes committed by a mixture of Hispanics, people from the Middle East, and Europeans. Basically everyone who is not Black or American Indian is counted by the FBI as white. (These categories were developed in the early 1930s.)

Approximate breakdown by race in the U.S.: 59% White, 15% Hispanic, 13% Black, 8% mixed, 4% Asian, 1% other.

From listening to cable channels and hearing Holder, Sharpton, Obama and others, one would think the great threat to black children today emanates from white vigilantes and white cops. Hence, every black father must have a “conversation” with his son, warning him not to resist or run if pulled over or hassled by a cop. Make the wrong move, son, and you may be dead is the implication. But is this the reality in Black America?

When Holder delivered his 2009 “nation-of-cowards” speech blaming racism for racial separation, Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald suggested that our attorney general study his crime statistics.

In New York from January to June 2008, 83 percent of all gun assailants were black, according to witnesses and victims, though blacks were only 24 percent of the population of New York City. Blacks and Hispanics together accounted for 98 percent of all gun assailants. Forty-nine of every 50 muggings and murders in the Big Apple were the work of black or Hispanic criminals.

Former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly confirms Mac Donald’s facts. Blacks and Hispanics commit 96 percent of all crimes in the city, he says, but only 85 percent of the stop-and-frisks are of blacks and Hispanics. And these may involve the kind of pat-downs all of us have had at the airport.

Was stop-and-frisk the work of racist cops in New York, where the crime rate was driven down to levels unseen in decades? According to Kelly, a majority of his police force, which he has been able to cut from 41,000 officers to 35,000, is now made up of minorities. (Stop and frisk was discontinued by Mayor DeBlasio. It remains to be seen how this will affect future crime rates.)

Fernando Mateo, head of the New York taxicab union, urges his drivers to profile blacks and Hispanics for their own safety: “The God’s honest truth is that 99 percent of the people that are robbing, stealing, killing these drivers are blacks and Hispanics.” Mateo is what The New York Times would describe as “a black Hispanic” Yet he may be closer to the ‘hood than Holder, who says he was stopped by police when running to a movie — in Georgetown.

Which raises a relevant question. Georgetown is an elitist enclave of a national capital that has been ruled by black mayors for half a century. It’s never had a white mayor. Is Holder saying we’ve got racist cops in the district where Obama carried 86 percent of the white vote and 97 percent of the black vote? And his son should fear the white cops in Washington, D.C.?

What about interracial crime, white-on-black attacks and the reverse?

After researching the FBI numbers An analysis of ‘single offender victimization figures’ from the FBI for 2007 finds blacks committed 433,934 crimes against whites, eight times the 55,685 whites committed against blacks. Interracial rape is almost exclusively black on white — with 14,000 assaults on white women by African Americans in 2007. Not one case of a white sexual assault on a black female was found in the FBI study.

Though blacks are outnumbered over 5-to-1 in the population by whites, they commit eight times as many crimes against whites as the reverse. By those 2007 numbers, a black male was 40 times as likely to assault a white person as the reverse.

If interracial crime is the ugliest manifestation of racism, what does this tell us about where racism really resides — in America?

If the FBI stats for 2007 represent an average year since the Tawana Brawley rape-hoax of 1987, over one-third of a million white women have been sexually assaulted by black males since 1987 — with no visible protest from the civil rights leadership. An unsupported allegation by a black woman of rape by whites garnered headlines for months. What have you heard about the one-third million white women sexually assaulted by blacks?

The reality is that the reason the police arrest blacks in higher percentages is because blacks commit far more of the crime in this country. Race-baiters like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are in reality the worst racists in the country. The last thing you will hear from them is the truth – black thugs deserve to be arrested and when they resist arrest the police are within their rights to protect themselves and if necessary use deadly force.

Are white vigilantes or white cops really Black America’s problem? Facts don’t support that rhetoric.

Ametican History X

I am starting to get disgusted by how both the right and left are using this as an opportunity to rally their troops (OMG look at how poor baltimore is and how it can't share in our prosperity/OMG these people destroyed their neighborhoods how horrible) and cannot see how this has nothing to do with jobs or affirmative action or diversity or education or any other the other areas for reform which distract us from the real point. And I say this because I only recently saw the light myself after reading this article:


Those kids were left with no option but to fight. Not just the protestors, but everyday kids. How else would they get home? The problem here is not the conditions of poor black folks. The problem is the police.

The ONLY reason for this unrest is that the BPD kidnapped and killed a mentally disabled adult AND THEN antagonized residents to the point children had to fight them so they could walk home. I've said it before, but is there really a difference between this and the Boston Massacre? How are those involved their patriots and those in Ferguson or Baltimore are rioters?

The problem is the police, who have been aided and abetted in their abuses by a public which devalues black testimony and, in turn, black life. I challenge anyone on here to show the distinction between the Boston Massacre and what just happened in Baltimore. Because I don't think you can-especially if you do it from the perspective of those kids. They're the only ones willing to stand up for to a militarized police state. I mean, aside from Cliven Bundy, but I can't equate that thief with a kid walking home from school.

PS-John Adams got the soldiers in the Boston Massacre off pretty much scott-free. I'm sure the murderers of Freddie Gray will encounter a similar outcome.

Skip, your friend is so full of shit that , due to the drought, there isn't enough water to flush him and his delusions down the drain.

Retired judge. Ya, sure.

Skip... Thank you for your exhaustive data dump, but using your logic, white men are the largest purveyors of imperialism, theft, and murder in the world. We shouldn't let white men own guns, property--much less run a country. GTFOH with that cherry picked, unreliable info. As though you didn't just see Michael Slager plant evidence on Walter Scott in North Charleston to justify shooting him in the back OR that the FBI didn't just lie the entire country about DNA evidence from hair OR that 1/7 of death row inmates have been freed by that same DNA BS that the feds have been pushing. Come on, man. The IRS is more dangerous to you than some black high school dropout. Know the oppressor.

Just for the sake of argument, there are some important differences between recent events in Baltimore and the Boston Massacre:

1. The crowd did not burn down its city and let it go at that. The Massacre was one of the foundational events in the runup to the American Revolution. Britain ultimately paid an enormous price, losing its first empire.

2. These were soldiers, not police. They were withdrawn from the city because sentiment against them was so deep and widespread, across all classes.

3. Unlike many questionable police shootings now, the soldiers were indicted for murder.

4. Two British soldiers were found guilty of manslaughter.


I live amidst tea party members. My best friend here in AZ is Mormon and cars in the family driveway have decals with tea party snake etc. A neighbor saw me in the Grocery store and chatted and then whispered "I'm a Democrat but my daughter told me not to tell anyone that here in Scottsdale". I lived in downtown Chicago 27 years (riots in 68 MLK and Dem Convention). I never understood much about the South side (black) until I saw The WIRE, It's almost as prophecy of Baltimore today.

Hey Christine, come on down to Tucson. You can feel at home real quick.

The live wire of America, how to deal with our permanent underclass, now reinforced with tons of immigration.

The rich would prefer to ignore the seething crabbucket and discuss their tax rates with their lobbyists.


Basic facts, large immigration has destroyed the ability of workers to unionize, to organize, and to demand any resemblance of higher wages.

Our immigration policies have been a disaster, and have put immense pressure on existing black communities in America.

Combine this with the war on drugs disaster finally being brought out: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/article/2563767

And see how the people on top want even more immigration for tech visas so they can drive down some of the last higher wages. http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/jeb-bush-on-immigration-i-think-im-right-about-this/article/2563866

After a while, one begins to see that we have a problem, and labeling it simply racism allows only one side of the problem to be addressed.

Everybody dismissed Murray's comments, but the greatest part of it was the fact the white underclass is turning into what we have in our black slums, unwed mothers, violence in the home and out of it, and the reality is fixing our community will require a lot of effort.

And I don't see us putting forth that effort, because the rich don't think beyond their next million, and they don't want to spend the money on more wages for all of America.

And to do that, we have to restrict the supply of labor, and stop it from streaming across our borders. Quite frankly, a lot of white folks got rich off the last homebuilding cycle by hiring teams of illegal immigrants to build houses that were done through subcontractors- yet nobody went to jail.

Governor Double Dip has already shown immense favoratism to certain industries, and that clientism is the death of the American Dream, and business is bringing us an American Nightmare.

Skip wrote:

"Here is an interesting post from a friend of mine, retired Federal Judge who lives in OK"

This is a complete lie. Skip does not have a friend who is a retired federal judge living in Oklahoma. He picked this up from the Internet, including the introduction. It's characteristic of right-wing Internet hoaxes in that: (1) It attempts to justify itself by an appeal to authority (a federal judge); (2) It attempts to justify itself by claiming a firsthand (and by implication reliable) source.

In fact, the whole sordid tissue of lies and unsourced phony statistics comes from the New Century Foundation, which has been described by its critics as White supremacist, and by its founder as "White separatist".


A Google search of the "770,000 interracial crimes" pseudo-statistic turns up the same text dated well before the current problems in Baltimore, and published by Stormfront and other neo-Nazi outlets.

Skip, if this is a friend of yours, tell us his name and his federal court position specifically. Also, give a reliable citation and link to the source of these statistical claims.

Skip wrote: "Former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly confirms MacDonald’s facts. Blacks and Hispanics commit 96 percent of all crimes in the city."

This alone should discredit Skip's phony statistics and half-lies. What Kelly actually claimed was that 96 percent of all shooting victims in NYC are Black or Latino; also that 97 percent of "shooting suspects" are Black or Latino; which belies Skip's claim that "Blacks commit more violent crime against Whites than against Blacks".


The phony stat is typical of far right propaganda claims. The actual claim (itself questionable) is that in NYC 96 percent of shooting victims are Black or Hispanic (and note that these make up 51 percent of the city's population); this in a city with some of the most restrictive gun laws and harsh anti-gun sentencing in the country, where most gun crime is committed by gang members. This gets altered into the false claim that it's 96 percent of crime in general.

The claim that 97 percent of the shooting suspects themselves are (per Kelly) Black or Latino gets ignored in the completely fabricated interracial crime stats: if 96 percent of shooting victims are minority and 97 percent of the shooting suspects are minority, there is no room for all those supposed Black on White crimes.

Skip, come clean. Just remaining silent isn't going to cut it.

So, so tired of listening to white people promote theories of why the black community is the way it is, using a white frame of reference and their own experience as citizens as "normal." It's like listening to a high schooler critique brain surgery. My experience over and over again is that the white people whining, "Why do they loot. Why are they victims?" have no African American associates, let alone friends. There is no awareness of American history other than the colonial version full of myths that deny the reality of life for many Americans. When people - black, female, Native American - voice what the problems are and fight for justice, they are ignored because what they're saying doesn't fit the American narrative. If you are truly concerned, then suspend your "right" to opine indiscriminately, go into the black (or gay or Latino, or Native American) communities, and listen.

Was that Skip and the Judge in The movie I watched last nite, American History X?

The "Judge" was played by Stacey Keach.

Concern Troll wrote:

"Basic facts, large immigration has destroyed the ability of workers to unionize, to organize, and to demand any resemblance of higher wages."

This is right-wing nonsense and divided & conquer rhetoric, blaming one racial underclass for the problems of another and of working class Whites too.

Large immigration occurred at the start of the 20th century, too. As a percentage of the population, Italian immigration into the United States in the first decade of the 20th century was bigger than Mexican immigration at its recent height. Large numbers of Poles and other Eastern Europeans also immigrated during the same period. The same complaints were voiced then, too. None of that stopped union membership from reaching more than a third of the American workforce in the 1950s.

What enabled union membership was the legislation passed by a Democratically controlled Congress under FDR; the creation, funding, and staffing of Executive branch agencies like the National Labor Relations Board by FDR and others; progressive Supreme Court nominations by FDR and others that shaped case law for half a century; and trade laws that kept manufacturing jobs in the United States.

What decimated private sector union membership was the loss of Democratic control of Congress, conservative Supreme Court nominations, labor agency defunding and leadership/board changes during and after the Reagan administration, and trade agreements that allowed unions to be bypassed by the simple expedient of relocating factories in China and other developing nations where free unions don't exist, labor is cheap, regulatory costs are virtually nonexistent, and the only thing stopping you from making poisonous dog food, toys, or other manufactured products is who you know in the Party bureaucracy and how much bribery you can afford.

The really funny part is Murray's solutions are unworkable.

The lower half of society will rebuild only with sufficient employment to rebuild the family structure, yet everything he wants would further destroy the poor- which we now understand through research.

The family structure starts dying with insufficient employment for potential male head of households. And guess what, more college is not the answer- more lower level employment with real wages is the answer- just what we don't have in America.

What a crab bucket we have made, and now everyone tries to get their kids up the sides, not realizing that we have made it nearly impossible to get ahead.

The American Dream is now a Nightmare, and it will take another New Deal to fix it.

Emil- the only thing that worked to boost Union membership was the New Deal, which has been mostly dismantled- which included further restrictions on immigration- shutting off the flow of low end workers- and included mass deportations in the 1930s. The violence that was necessary to get through the 1930s is forgotten- violence on both sides of business and labor.

Free Trade has ended up causing massive lower class unemployment in America, and I agree with that- because we were supposed to find them more employment- which we did not do.

The problem of racism is the problem of the crab bucket, and we continue to make it really more about class than anything else in this country.

The first demagogue to combine a National Labor right to a job with some semblance of justice will be a winner- and look at Europe- Hungary looks mighty socialist and right wing...which nobody here thinks can happen, but the right message will light a tremendous fire in America.

And that new bunch will owe the old established order not very much...I expect to see a lot of money deployed against them, and maybe some serious political violence.

I also think it will happen because we are falling backward in wages again- as the Congressional Report I linked shows.

Our statistics are even worse than we typically portray because so many people are out of the workforce, and have given up any real employment hopes.

To cast this in terms of right and left is a mistake- both sides are actively fighting solutions that will work, and trying to maintain the failing status quo.

"theintellectualassassin" wrote:

"I challenge anyone on here to show the distinction between the Boston Massacre and what just happened in Baltimore."

Easily done. The Boston Massacre began when " a young wigmaker's apprentice named Edward Garrick called out to a British officer, Captain-Lieutenant John Goldfinch, that Goldfinch had not paid a bill due to Garrick's master".


The "massacre" consisted of shots fired by British soldiers and allegedly four pro-British civilians in a Customs House which killed 11 Americans.

How this relates, even superficially, to anything going on in Baltimore, is beyond me.

Diane D'Angelo wrote:

"So, so tired of listening to white people promote theories of why the black community is the way it is, using a white frame of reference and their own experience as citizens as "normal". My experience over and over again is that the white people whining, "Why do they loot? Why are they victims?" have no African American associates, let alone friends."

Would Diane tell us whether she is Black or White? Also, what her own frame of reference (i.e. neighborhood demographics and personal annual income) is?

Whenever I read generalizations about "the Black community" I wonder, perhaps unfairly, whether I'm reading comments from White middle-class liberals. I mean, if I saw generalizations about "the White community" on the basis of Cliven Bundy or Timothy Mcveigh I'd wonder WTF that individual was talking about.

The population of Baltimore is roughly 622,000 and about 63 percent of that is Black, which leaves slightly less than 400,000 to be accounted for. While I have no doubt that the anti-police-abuse protests are widely popular in terms of general sentiment, the number of arsonists, looters, and individuals throwing bottles at firetrucks attempting to douse local residential, business and church fires is only a tiny handful; and I haven't seen any opinion polls by Black residents of Baltimore suggesting widespread sympathy for this.

Concern Troll wrote:

"...the only thing that worked to boost Union membership was the New Deal, which has been mostly dismantled- which included further restrictions on immigration- shutting off the flow of low end workers- and included mass deportations in the 1930s."

The era of easy immigration was stopped after WW I in the early 1920s.

Its true that the Great Depression saw an exodus of roughly 350,000 Mexicans (many of them here legally) through a combination of deportation and intimidation:


But this didn't have any significant effect on subsequent unionization rates and success. First, because more than 20 million European immigrants came here between 1880 and 1920, including 1.3 million who came here legally in 1907 alone:


Second, because as soon as the Depression abated those Mexican fruitpickers were welcomed back: the market had yet to be unionized and not many Americans wanted that kind of labor when times weren't desperate.


1) The colonists still saw themselves as subjects of the British Empire five years after the Boston Massacre. Similarly, we can't tell if we stand at the cusp of revolutionary changes in the next five years. Maybe this really could be the uprising. Your article (which I largely agree with) suggests probably not... but isn't there a possibility?

2) Police get military-grade equipment (but not training!) in our society, so any difference between the two is not in terms of force. Also, I'm not sure there were professional police in Boston at that time so we can't compare that back. Finally, isn't the removal of soldiers similar to what happens in some inner-city neighborhoods (like West Baltimore!) where the police are seen as an occupying force who residents would eject if they could? If only the gang-members there were as organized or prominent as the tariff dodging merchants of Boston.

3) Similar charges between soldiers and police.

4) Only two were convicted of manslaughter for shooting indiscriminately into a crowd? I bet a similarly laughable outcome occurs in regards to this particular case. And the dozens others like it we keep hearing about weekly throughout the country.

The remarkable thing about the Boston Massacre Wiki page is how balanced it is:


Those colonists weren't saints. Neither are the people protesting the deaths of Trayvon Martin, or Mike Brown, or even poor Freddie Gray (btw... isn't it depressing that he was mentally disabled from lead poisoning? Just think about that-a mentally disabled guy was incarcerated by the state a dozen times--mostly for drug offenses. Talk about a cradle to prison pipeline) but that doesn't detract from most obvious similarity of their causes--both groups (justifiaby) resented the unchecked abuses of a police force which had come to represent the asymmetrical power relations between minority and majority groups in social and political society.

All these other things are manifestations of that fact. Police generally do what they can get away with (because nobody wants to lose their job) and in this society, they can get away with throwing poor, mentally disabled, black felons into police vans because nobody powerful enough to stop them deigned to do so because those with political capital aren't wasting it on poor blacks.

Emil, typically I find myself in agreement with your sentiments, but think that this may be a spot where you may want to push beyond the initial point you are making. I thank you for calling me on my bluster, but refuse to concede the point.

Both incidents began when local working-class youths, passions inflamed from the recent murder of a neighborhood colleague, were confronted by armed peacekeepers at a prominent public place of commerce where some, but not all, of the youths met to engage in protest. After youth had been forcibly congregated in the vicinity of the mall, the two sides began to antagonize each other until the police attacked the mob. The mob then dispersed throughout the city, swelled in size, and forced the head of state to release the armed forces and promise an inquiry into their grievances if they would disperse. Crowd disperses, in a few days we have formal charges, in a few weeks we'll have acquittal of the most serious charges.

If someone can explain how it's justifiable for the colonists to riot but not black residents of Baltimore, I'm all ears. No superficial differences: fundamentally, how the protest of one set of grievances justifiably distinct than that of the other? To me, the similarities seem striking enough so that I believe our answer resides here and, oh, not with more service jobs at the local university.

I recognize that all narrative can be cornholed to fit whatever ends the author has, and I'm (clearly) sympathetic to these kids. But this is a narrative that I feel is at least worth exploring because it provide lens into what else could be motivating this unrest. And as I said, the fundamental thing is abuse of power by armed, foreign peacekeepers. That is similar in both situations.

PS-I am in total agreement with Diane. Certainly there are fissures within a BS social construct such as a racial community, but that doesn't mean outsiders fumble badly when they assume their perspective aligns with the object of study. I never lived in abject fear of the police, so I don't know what I would do if goaded into violent confrontation with them. I don't think everyone in the community would have the same response, but to judge the response without considering the perspective of the community, eh, probably will lead to poor conclusions. I find that we easily see the sentiment of the unruly colonists, but lack empathy for unruly blacks. Am I off?

So many juicy issues to get into – where does one start? My comments to follow only (strictly) apply to Baltimore. I’m going to jump to the end – what to do about the situation there? There’s plenty of blame to go around. I don’t want to get into that now.

Let me preface by saying that the citizens of Baltimore have plenty to be pissed about. The real thing is: what do you do about it?

One more thing: the protests to date have been totally counter-productive. Has anyone been convinced of anything that they didn’t believe before? Nope. Just created more discord. Well the “organizers” had a fun time with their bull-horns and chants. Nothing more than accelerated deterioration of the neighborhood, lost businesses (to never return), lost jobs, more burned out crap to witness, etc. Way to go.

Here’s what I think needs to be done. Form the Baltimore equivalent of the Tea Party. Call it the Black Coffee or Café au alit Party. No more protesting in the street. No more playing to Channel X news. We’re here to assign blame and clean house. First order of business: our Public Safety organizations. Then school system. Then public works. We’re tired of being swindled by our government. I’d rather have a white bread Republican than the traitors that are in office now – at least then we’d know what we’re dealing with. Fire everybody if that’s what it takes. Put the fear of God into them.

Concern Troll wrote:

"The first demagogue to combine a National Labor right to a job with some semblance of justice will be a winner- and look at Europe-Hungary looks mighty socialist and right wing...which nobody here thinks can happen, but the right message will light a tremendous fire in America."

I don't see Orban's Hungary as any more socialist than Putin's Russia. The party with a supermajority, Fidesz, is a typically nationalist, cronyist, conservative party. Its true, they raised taxes on foreign multinational corporations operating there, but that is only because directing domestic dissatisfaction against outsiders (in this case, the European Union and its neo-liberal banking and trade policies) is the traditional meat and potatoes of nationalism. The private sector accounts for 80 percent of GDP. Authoritarian, yes. The country's economy is upper middle income by European standards.

The next most powerful party is the far right Jobbik, with about 20 percent of the votes. Unlike Fidesz it is openly anti-semitic and xenophobic. Just as Fidesz is akin to Putin's ruling party, Jobbik is akin to ultranationalist parties like that of Zhirinovsky. The left-liberal coalition got about 19 percent of the vote.

The last time a political party of the right advocated "socialism" it took a Great Depression and the threat of Soviet style Communism waiting in the wings. But unlike some of the Brownshirt leadership (all of whom were assassinated or scared off during the Night of the Long Knives just a year after the Nazis came to power) Hitler came to an understanding with Big Business that there would be no "second revolution", and all the left-wing elements of the Nazi political platform went out the window in exchange for the campaign financing the desperately poor Nazi Party needed to make its final push to power.

I just don't see current circumstances in the United States as ripe for radical revolutionary parties of the left or right. There is no such party structure in any case and it takes more than a figurehead, however charismatic.

I do think, however, that a progressive economic program, properly designed and marketed, could be quite popular here.

Oh, man.

It's a stupid and dangerous thing to say, but hey, what the fuck:

I like to think that if I was a black man, I would be dead or in jail in America.

Because that is the only thing that honesty offers.

If I had such courage.

Pay attention.

Yea, yea... "if I were..."

theintellectualassassin wrote:

"If someone can explain how it's justifiable for the colonists to riot but not black residents of Baltimore, I'm all ears. No superficial differences: fundamentally, how the protest of one set of grievances justifiably distinct than that of the other?"

Very simply: the large crowd that gathered and which forced the acting governor to promise an investigation, arrest suspects among his own troops, and remove the rest of the troops stationed in the city, (sending them to a nearby island garrison) assembled at the government customs house and at the local state house. They used direct action to make demands of the government at its local seats of power.

They didn't loot and indiscriminately burn the city's business and residential structures. Despite the fact that the removal of the troops left the governor without adequate means to police the city, the crowd did not even reassemble much less embark on an orgy of looting and arson of civilian businesses and residences.

Nice, Emil.

I would like to point out that "looting" actually translates into a relevant protest.

Follow me here - the police in our country are not really here to "serve and protect" people as they are her to secure a protected business presence. My quick go-to example is the rousting of homeless PEOPLE because said PEOPLE are a hindrance to business, and yeah, that happens. My point here is that denying the police their agency by molesting the very businesses that they really are out there to protect is a pretty in-your-face action.

Probably inadvertent, much of this, but it might be useful to put that idea out there.

Useful, and probably unwelcome from certain quarters. :)

Right on, Petro!!

Quite aside from the fact that personal opportunism rather than Marxist political theorizing seems to have motivated the looting in question (no comment from Petro about what motivated the arson or the attacks on fire-trucks rushing to put out not only business fires but residential fires), the suggestion that local socioeconomic conditions can be improved by such acts, or that this contributes to the organization of a working class political movement, is sheer lunacy.

We are not even talking about the organized seizure of property and its operation for and by anarcho-syndicalist style "socialism" as occurred in portions of Spain prior to its civil war. We are talking about simple theft and the destruction of the very means of production which the local community relies on to provide basic goods and services.

I might also add that the idea that police would have no function in a socialist state is infantile naivete. Police exist to protect personal (bodily) rights and to protect property, whether that property belongs to individuals, capitalists, labor cooperatives, or the State.

Actually, police do not need to exist. They are a modern innovation.

But I'm swiggin' Cazadores at the moment, so I concede the gauntlet... at least until morning coffee has adjusted the situation.


Cazadores, a sign of fine judgment.

Ruben, remember when I suggested Petro might be able to fly. Now I know he drank and winged his mutated frame in from the Mohave to the Sonoran.

PS Petro, some people believe they need police. About 1950 we came to believe they were there for everyone. But now we once again understand they still work for King Koke and his head thug, Sheriff John. Where's Robin hood when you need him?

Police are not a modern innovation. Ancient Rome had its Vigiles Urbani. The Code of Hammurabi in ancient Mesopotamia was ultimately enforced by a form of gendarmerie (soldiers delegated to performing the equivalent of local law enforcement). Ancient China adjudicated the law using a system of prefects and enforced it through a system of sub-prefects.

In some places and at some times, prosecution was privately paid for, which means that victims of crime who were poor had no redress unless they were ready and able to take the law into their own hands.

Later but still pre-modern developments include the hermandades of Spain and the "thief-takers" of England.

Every society recognizes some form of rights for some portion of its members. In the absence of a professional police force, violations of those rights (e.g., rape, assault, theft) can only be enforced against using private means, whether the hiring of mercenary agents, the mobilization of family clans, or individual action. I suggest to you that the law of the jungle is not a practical or superior substitute.

Emil, protesters have been asking the police to explain what happened to Gray since before he even died. It is safe to assume that their direct action helped lead to an unusual prosecution of law enforcement officers by the AG (I say this looking at the dozens of unprosecuted complaints settled out of court by the BPD)

Honestly, I think you've further proved the point that the insertion of armed peacekeepers only led to the "riots" which occurred: similar to how it took the soldiers coming to their compadres rescue to initiate the Boston Massacre, there were no violent protests until... April 25th. Two days after the Maryland Gov. deployed state police to Baltimore.


The protests were peaceful prior to the armed peacekeepers arrival.Emil, if you wanted to loot a store, wouldn't you do it before the police came? It's also been pretty widely reported that Orioles fans' contributed to the violence of that first day. Not to excuse what happened, but it's not like the protestors woke up with plans to fight and loot. There were outside antagonists and, more importantly, an augmented police presence.


Also, in regards to your comments about property destruction (or lack there of by the colonists,) "Secretary of State Andrew Oliver reported that, had the troops not been removed, "that they would probably be destroyed by the people — should it be called rebellion, should it incur the loss of our charter, or be the consequence what it would."


If you want to fault the Baltimore protestors for property damage, the most significant difference is that the authorities refused to remove the armed peacekeepers for them but did for the colonists. If the British soldiers had remained, the War for Independence may have begun much sooner.

Rioting and looting does not improve local socioeconomic conditions. But then again, neither does occupation by distrusted armed peacekeepers. At least one is cathartic. Come on, man... Both groups are protesting abuses by a police state. What's the difference? Aside from the Brits backed down from the wealthy colonists (we had the highest per capita income in the world!) and there have been ten cops deployed for every poor black Baltimorean arrested.



So what else is it?

I wish I read this before finding the links for the last post it makes it even more clear that this "riot" is hype which distracts us from the clear abuse of power by the police:


About a week and a half from alleged crime to indictment.

Prosecutors had the evidence file overnight before indicting the cops.

Public pressure 1, lady justice 0.

"riot is a hype to distract."
reminds me of the undercover fed tha supplies the dynamite and the matches and dares the dupe to strike the match. And when the fuse fizzles he arrests the dupe for terroism.

Emil I have serious concerns about Ancient Rome police and who they protected. And law enforcement since then. Do you believe there is JUSTICE in our legal system today?

Cal-it's a "court of law",not a "court of justice",as the old saying goes.IMHO-Civiliaztion agrees to let the state be the arbiter of the law and gives police the sole right to inflict legal violence.That right must be under constant vigilance and examination.That is what is happening in Baltimore and it must be allowed to be played out.Unfortunately,there will be a large anount of suffering inflicted on both the community and the police,but the wound must be drained before it can be healed.P.S. Knowing that there are 300 million guns out there,would make any cop shoot first and ask questions later.I know I would sure feel that way.

Yes, the (real or perceived) threat by the Boston Massacre protesters was the destruction of the troops, not of business and residential property! So again, there is no comparison with Baltimore. Read your own quote.

The claim that looting and arson did not begin until a beefed up, aggressive police presence was brought in is false. I know this not from second hand print sources published or read after the fact, but from the live, continuous on scene coverage provided by the cable TV networks (CNN, FOX) that obsessively covered the story hour after hour, night after night.

Because I watched it live I know that the curfew was not put in place until AFTER the first night of looting and arson. I know that the National Guard was not even requested by the Mayor, much less arrive and be deployed, until after that first night of looting and arson. And I know that the local police largely stood back that first night of looting and arson, because I watched swarms of looters entering and leaving businesses while news crews shot video but with no police presence in evidence.

I also know, because I heard her say this on camera, that the Mayor initially said that she would "make space for those who want to destroy". I saw enough video context before and after that statement, continuous and unedited, to know it wasn't a clip-job.

The local police denied having been ordered to stand down, saying that they simply lacked the resources to respond effectively that first night.

Whatever the reason, just like Ferguson, the initial LACK of policing exacerbated the theft and destruction by giving rioters the sense that there would be little chance of real consequences for them.

Cal, I never said that the civilizations of antiquity had republican, much less broadly democratic sensibilities. Obviously their social institutions were intended primarily to serve the elite. That said, preserving public order meant some concessions since widespread public anger could cause a lot of trouble, whether through uprisings or coups seeking to replace an unstable government.

I also never said that modern police departments were without injustice. Quite the contrary.

I merely said that the Marxist fantasy of getting rid of police is idiotic. Marx himself advocated the use of workers' militia for law enforcement and public security. That's just another name for police. I could criticize the idea on other bases as well, but lets not go too far afield.

Yes, the protesters put a continuous media spotlight on Baltimore city government that had positive results. The rioters, by contrast, created a sideshow custom made to give racists and reactionaries an alternative narrative that had nothing to do with police abuse of power. They hijacked the protests. Marches and occupations are one thing. Looting and burning your own community is another.

" Gov. Larry Hogan's office said Thursday that a team of 32 troopers are being sent to help with crowd control at the request of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake."

That's from your news link about deployment on the 23rd. For a city the size of Baltimore that's nothing. Compare that to deployment AFTER the looting and arson began. Nor is it proof of provocation by the police.

How does today compare to the Vietnam protests?

Emil, the level of socialism in Europe is far greater than here, so the direct comparison is nearly impossible. For instance, a discussion of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Labour_Front would show that while there was agreement with business, that wages were set by the government. This level of coercion is unbelievable to us on an operational level, but is common even today in some areas in Europe.

Even in Hungary, they have policies that would make any Republican in Arizona blanch and cry socialism. I especially like how they are the Arizona of Europe for education: http://gpseducation.oecd.org/CountryProfile?primaryCountry=HUN&treshold=10&topic=EO

Yet the costs are still complained about, and the government is in the "business can do no wrong mode", just don't expect anything if you are a minority.

Just over 20 years to start pulling out those cards of nationalism, and exerting controls that would be vilified here as near total socialism (Hungary represses it's banks- yet Orban still got an award from AEI>!>!>)

Europe, anywhere in Europe, is far more screwed down than Arizona, and yet we worry about a little bit of socialism.

It might actually be good for the public.

Does the war in the Baltimore's of the US have a connection to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/military-helicopter-shot-down-as-drug-violence-surges-in-western-mexico/2015/05/01/8529f5bc-f031-11e4-8050-839e9234b303_story.html

CNN has provided us with limited source material as they were one of the last cameras to the party. There had been protests going on for over a week by the time this popped up on their screen. In fact, there had already been violent incidents at Camden Yards before national media (excluding ESPN! S/O Sportscenter!) showed up. To cite CNN as your primary source of information demonstrates that you have a limited knowledge base to begin-even if you watched a "live feed" of activities.


Back to your point about property destruction: I've looked up info on property damage and have found that "In addition to damaging an estimated 200 businesses, rioters also torched 144 cars, according to police, although some were police or other official vehicles."


The colonists at the time of the Boston Massacre were, per capita, the wealthiest people in the world. The rioters we've seen are NOT. Just because the property is in their community doesn't mean the property is theirs. That is a distinct difference in condition between the colonists and rioters, but it doesn't imply that these riots have been wantonly destructive. In both cases, the violent protests occurred under the gaze of the local elites (Boston merchants in Boston, drug dealers in Baltimore) and attacks were focused primarily upon objects which signified oppression by outsiders (military barracks, cop cars). Have you heard of any crack houses going up in flames?


Considering how racially and economically isolated poor, black residents of Baltimore are, I would guess that few of these businesses are owned by residents from the neighborhood. Also, it sounds like many of the vehicles targeted were police vehicles... which is destruction of the property of the foreign peacekeepers. Isn't that JUST what the colonists threatened to do? Except the armed peacekeepers left... so they didn't have to.

In Baltimore, after the initial surge April 23rd, we've seen a rapid escalation of confrontation as well as an augmentation of police forces involved. So as far as provocation by police, I stand by what I said. If Boston could be kept peaceful without armed peacekeepers, why couldn't Baltimore? It was never given the chance. There were no arrests or reported violence until the state police showed on the scene. Not a single one. And people had been protesting for days prior to that! Can you please let me know why people decided to start looting AFTER the initial augmentation of the police force? Why not before they were even called out? It's not as though people weren't in the street and it would have been less dangerous for looters. Come on, man... at least acknowledge correlation!

Finally, less than 200 people have been arrested. This is hype. If things were really dire, why haven't there been more arrests? Come on, man, didn't you live through the King riots? Or recall what happened after King's assassination? We're supposed to lump this in with that?! And if you read the wiki article, you'll see that the latter didn't flare up in Baltimore until, when? The National Guard arrived:


Read that Mother Jones article again... does that not sound like a police riot to you? They goaded those kids into a fight, man. Only a hundred people showed up to protest. How did a bunch of people disinterested in even protesting become rioters? Can't you see a police riot when one is in front of you?

Emil, you've got to move your gaze. The riots look bad and, as rogue said, alienates moderate whites. But the fetishization of property damage prevents discussion on the causes of violence by looking at the end result and not the inciting action. The focus should be on the patience of this community in the face of overwhelming outside forces-not on the destruction of property by a frenzied mob goaded to anger by overbearing police officers.

I'm more optimistic.
...... Yes, Rogue, rioting will harden some whites and inspire a few law-and-order speeches. But it won't reverse trends -- even Hillary opposes the "throw 'em all in prison" failed solution to drug abuse and other crime (which Bill empowered). It won't undo the flight from the suburbs, because the dying middle class can't afford it while young people won't embrace its unsustainability (I write sitting amid square-footage ample for two dozen.) Look at your town of Seattle. Younger generations will keep flocking to cities here, and globally.
........The young are key to mitigating racism. (Blame TV and movies.) My kids (15 & 17) notice skin color, but don't care about it. Their schoolmates, too, not just here in diversity ground zero Northern Virginia, but back in Cave Creek schools where Latinos were rare and blacks nearly non-existent.
........Off-year elections reflect today's demographics, not tomorrow's diverse future. The pot will melt gradually, too slowly in insular areas like farm towns or inner cities, but enough to undercut the plutocracy.
.......You mentioned class. It's more about class than race. Just happens minorities dominate inner cities. (Freddie Gray's chauffeur/alleged murderer, and two of the other five cops, are black.)
....... Certain police feel empowered to bully the oppressed. I don't see that changing. Body cams (ones cops can't turn off) and heightened awareness should reduce police wrongdoing, but won't eliminate it. That job attracts a small percentage of sadists -- always has.

Mike I agree it's a "court of Law" but that's not quite what i meant by justice.

Note: I was a cop for over 22 years. Starting in July 68. Among my many assignments and I was a plainclothes officer in two tours in SAU (Think Swat) and I was a detective that investigated armed robberies committed by Black (only) suspects ( The Robbery division cases were handed out based on race) and I was a Walking beat supervisor in predominately black and Hispanic "project" housing. In robbery my sociological tendencies got questioned by my fellow officers when I pointed out that a heroin addict got 10 years or more for a robbery where the net take was at best $90 and a white con man got probation for ripping off client trusts or old folks savings. My worst critics were Black and Mexican detectives that felt embarrassed by the actions of other Blacks and Mexicans
In the projects in 1977, as a Sergeant my walking beat team consisted of six uniformed cops with side arms and no tasers. I elected to not have dogs or have my squad carry shotguns (although we did have a couple shotguns in the trunk of our unmarked cars.) We had vests but most officers choose not to wear them as it was a walking beat. My squad was known for talking not fighting. In fact, some place in internet space there is a comment on the black suspect that said, Please Officer Lash I will get in the police car, if you will just please quit talking. This philosophy carried over into my SAU years as a supervisor. In late 1969 I was nominated for officer of the year. I came in second. My reward was a transfer from the uniform field to SAU.
SAU in 1969 consisted of a sergeant and six plainclothes cops, with side arms, no Tasers, vests (that no one wore 99 percent of the time) and one shotgun in the trunk and piss poor portable radios. In SAU as an oficer I was partnered with officer Tony Marks. Tony's dad was a Major and that probably explains why (too short) Tony who did not fit the then physical requirements was a cop. But Tony could bullshit with the best of them, so we worked well together and came to the attention of the then Chief for special assignments.
In 1984 as a Sergeant I took over a SAU (SWAT) team of six officers. That included two negotiators and a sniper. My squad was known for negotiating and not getting in trouble for police misconduct. I recall getting called into the Lieutenants office for not being in trouble after another squad made an 80 year old man and his wife 'Low crawl" in a muddy ditch and another squad that went into pursuit of a motor home. The LT was suspicious about how my squad remained problem free. My best negotiator, Janet just retired last year.

My point here is it seems that we did more talking than the use of violence. Probably the biggest riots I recall in Phoenix was when the Vietnam Veterans rioted in Encanto Park. The police department mistakenly used force in that incident. Years later while working in Internal Affairs I was ordered to destroy the photographs of that riot. I disobeyed that order and as far as I know these photos remain in an area of the police department (but not I/A).
Crime stats indicate that overall crime is down in the US, but all that is subject to intense questioning, particularly to reporting standards by police departments and the feds. And was it broken windows or unleaded gas that lead to a decline in crime.
To conclude, regardless of how unprofessional protesters are or rioters, looters and other criminals are, we have to make great efforts to insure the “police” are professional. Not thugs that worked for Marx or Stalin or Gestapo’s and so on. If we truly believe “Modern police” are the protectors of all then we need to hold them to a standard that insures fairness and “justice for ALL!

Intellectualassassin. C my drug war post just before your last post. and negotiate negotiate. The reason I kept Dogs and shotguns out of sight in the projects was because these two things always seemed to incite violence.

Interesting new comment by my pal,Petro.


Ruben, Looks Like Petro had his wake up coffee from Last nights in flight chugging of Cazadores.


Cal, great line: "Please Officer Lash I will get in the police car, if you will just please quit talking." Two-way communications/community relations is huge. Did you and squad have enough time on the street to get to know many in the community, or was most tallking before/during/after arrests?

"Order is the dream of man but chaos is the is the law of nature" Henry James.

"With rebellion Awareness is born" Albert Camus.

Emil, in your response to Petro (May 01 @ 7:32 PM) about looting and ending “Police exist to protect personal (bodily) rights and to protect property, whether that property belongs to individuals, capitalists, labor cooperatives, or the State.”
You remind me that “…police and prosecutors don’t need to charge someone with a crime to seize and keep their property.” And, “Since 9/11, without warrants and despite a lack of criminal charges, law enforcement nationwide has taken in $2.5 billion from 61,998 cash seizures under equitable sharing.“

I call it looting!


Suzanne your right, as I can testify to as I was a part of that. Particularly when I was in charge of drug interdiction at Sky Harbor airport. Only one person asked for his more than $10,000 dollars back, the rest walked.

Mike I got to know a lot of folks in my police career as I mixed well with those whom I was allegedly supposed to incarcerate. The walking beat from Central Avenue to about 2000 West Buckeye Road was predominately black from 700 to 1500 west Buckeye Road, with Hispanics on either end. My squad interacted with everyone from Conservative Black social club operators most of who ran a game in the back room to Militants and everyone in between. The black social club operators and bars and nite clubs were very important in keeping down violence particularly by young Black militants, as it was bad for business.
Big George, a black man ran a social club and was known to shoot at black militants that showed up on “The Road.” I ran into big George in the front yard of his house near 17th Street and Vanburen after I retired and was performing a consulting job in the area. Big George was dying of diabetes. I found his son and later helped his son sell the house. King Fongs grocery store at about 900 West Buckeye Road became a drinking and eating place at night and was frequented by off duty cops and city prosecutors. One of my favorite prosecutors that liked to party at King Fongs went on to the US attorney’s Office where she and I prosecuted some of the bigger drug cases at that time.
Across the street was Tops bar (It closed down after I retired and eventually someone blew it up.) a place where I could venture in alone any time and the giant Black female bouncer with a big opal in her nose made sure no one messed with me. At about 1200 W Buckeye Road was Dixon’s where Blacks drank and gambled. Frequently there were shootings among the participants. The police response was what was referred to as a “slow roll.” By the time the cops were onsite the scene was under control by Dixon and his boys. All the cops had to do was book the winners and call the morgue for the losers.

My philosophy was on not issuing citations but warnings (which did not always please my supervisors). But I found not issuing chicken shit citations later brought you good felony information, particularly on violent crimes, militants and drug dealers. When we found local persons with warrants we generally gave them a chance to go take care of it, with our warning “if you don’t , we will.” As we knew unless they left town we would see them again. Booking folks takes away from being on the street and who needs the paper work, ( but then Capitalists didn't own the jails back then.)

I hope this answers your question. Today when I cruise down The Road, it’s but a memory.

As the police states envelope the world and private prisons become human resources for the Feudal Lord's and the Hunger Games approach, I am reminded that what I thought was Freedom begin to slip away when the Office of Strategic Services became the CIA and the guys in charge were no longer movie stars that sailed the Adriatic but statisticians that desired to know and control all things The NSA and the CIA 's of the big nation's have taken any Freedom you thought you might have and put it in a can. Hasta LA Vista, Baby.

The deal with the police? The Christian, decent (choose your adjective) would be to take black folks' complaints about the amount of brutality seriously? The smart, self-interested thing is to take it seriously because if this trend don't stop, it's going to happen increasingly to folks like me and you, honkies. The official silence on the matter is scary. There's a lot of awareness in police circles of it. There's limit testing going on. Our institutions need to keep one another in check from time to time. In the absence of anything like it, riots happen. How about that Lerner commission report?

That's Kerner.

Thanks Dawgzy for that timely reminder.

Straw-man arguments.

Armed peacekeepers were in Baltimore from the start: they're called local police. The assignment of 32 state troopers to crowd control duty while protests were peaceful was nothing more than political posturing by the governor; the addition of 32 officers to a police force as large as Baltimore's is obviously symbolic and changed nothing on the ground.

It isn't necessary to argue about what police did or didn't provoke. If rioters upset with the police, prosecutors, and the city government supposedly supervising them had occupied, vandalized, or burned down City Hall, the city prosecutor's offices, or attacked police stations, we'd be having a different discussion. Mind you, I could offer arguments against some of that too, but at least it would have a certain crude if flawed logic to it.

Instead, they burned down the neighborhood drugstore, countless other local businesses providing not only basic goods and services but also jobs to community residents, and local residential housing, not to mention a lot of personal and family transportation needed to get to and from work, shop for groceries, shuttle children to school or daycare, and take grandma to the doctor. They also took all the free liquor and consumer electronics they could get their hands on.

Opportunists. Hoodlums. Sociopaths on a crime spree. I watched them throw looted liquor bottles at the windshields of fire trucks responding to the blazes they and others like them started. I'm with Talton on this one.

CNN's early coverage is beside the point. They covered the disturbances 24/7 as did FOX and MSNBC (I flipped channels). I know what I saw on live video feeds. I can draw my own conclusions.

Yes, Suzanne, all too often police do terrible things. Shoot unarmed individuals representing no threat to the community, 7 or 8 times in the back as they run away. Shoot some kid with a BB gun to death without even bothering to assess the facts. Sodomize detainees with a broom handle. Torture them to obtain confessions. Frame innocent individuals. Steal property, sometimes systematically using (or abusing) racketeering laws that turn American jurisprudence on its head by requiring individuals to prove their innocence.

How does that justify the behavior of looters and arsonists in Baltimore?

Concern Troll, William L. Shirer does a good job documenting that real wages (both before and after taxes and shakedowns) declined under the Nazis, who also destroyed independent unions and sent their leaders to concentration camps. Nothing socialist about that. On mobile tonight and tired of typing so not going into details. Read his Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

Re Cal:

The Phoenix Police Department Special Assignments Unit (SAU) has two components and has had for many years: the SWAT type group (e.g. armed hostage response); and criminal intelligence collection & surveillance. I can't say if there is/was a political intelligence component but it wouldn't surprise me: most big city police forces had a "red squad" back in the day (your day).

Emil, looting, arson and violence do not justify anything. It was not my intent to imply that it does.

I am suggesting that the line between right and wrong is very blurry and it is impossible, for me, to condemn one and not the other.

Black Shirts!
a long story maybe later

I should have said that "Looting, arson and violence is not justification for anything."

The Washington Post didn't get distracted by the looting. Here's Freddie Gray's life (and many other Baltimore residents) in context.


As usual, the brainy, articulate commenters took the column in many valuable directions.

But I come back to the fundamental problem: Whatever we think in our progressive bubble, what does this mean to the majority of white voters, particularly working class "What's the Matter With Kansas" voters who keep expanding Republican control over the country.

Emil, if the 32 state police sent to augment a force of 3200 are merely "symbolic," then what about the 12 protestors arrested out of the "thousands" in the streets on April 25? Were those looters "symbolic" as well?


Why make the looters central to your understanding of the protests but argue that the augmentation of BPD by state forces was "symbolic?" What is your justification for treating them different? Because I can't think of a legitimate one.

Furthermore, in the article above, and as you have previously noted, the looters were not representative of the entire community; in fact, members of their community tried to limit their brazen destruction:

"Saturday, Shabazz also helped keep the peace at the protests, according to The Baltimore Sun. The paper reported several protesters began running toward Oriole Park at Camden Yards kicking parked cars and that Shabazz immediately started trying to stop them...The flare-up was however an outlier during an otherwise peaceful march, and Gray's family members quickly helped calm the crowd."

What changed so that the community could no longer police itself? Because if you notice, Sunday, between the April 25th incidents and the April 27th incidents, was quiet. The O's even held a game despite the fact that there had been a riot outside of Camden Yard the day before. So this takes us to the blockade of Mondawmin Mall by the police that Monday. Because that's what set everything off.

Why did the looters (the terrifying criminal element) wait until AFTER the police arrived in riot gear to start looting in earnest? Why didn't they take advantage of the destabilized situation April 25th? Or even push for April 26th? What sense does that even make?

*side note* just as there were Baltimore PD present there were local peace officers in Boston, correct? Under the control of local elites, correct? Who have demonstrated (or at least feigned) sympathy for the grievances of the angry mob and have chosen not to unleash the full brunt of local force onto the unruly protesters? The State police were more than symbolic. All it took was seven British troops to kill five Colonists and nearly have Boston throw the military out by force *note over*

I think I have a sensible explanation-the armed, foreign peacekeepers came into the community and undermined the authority of the tense, but peaceful, protestors who had heretofore kept a lid on the looters. You could argue that either a) foreign peacekeepers should have been removed or b) that they should have immediately overwhelmed them with force. You argue that the colonists forced the former by threatening violence. Yet, you chide the rioters for committing violence when the latter occurs. I'd like to hear how you can justify that.

One other thing: there was evidence that the looters targeted "Asian" stores:


The interesting thing about this is how similar it is to arguments made years ago about Jewish or Korean storekeepers in inner-city black communities. I also think that the "repression" of this info is supposed to demonstrate leftist bias.

More evidence which shows that, even in the chaos, the violence skewed toward symbols of the oppressor:


"Y'all feel threatened?" Benzo shouted, the bottle landing near a police squad car and shattering against the pavement. "That's how we feel every damned day."

Benzo, 22, was among a group of roving gang members who'd attacked police, damaged businesses, and set vehicles ablaze during Baltimore's riots Monday and scattered unrest Tuesday—acts he said were retribution for years of unprovoked police violence, harassment, and the deaths of young African-American men like Freddie Gray, 25, who died of spinal cord injuries while in police custody April 19...

A Baltimore native and self-professed marijuana dealer, Benzo had a more personal motive for targeting cops, too. About two years ago, he said, a narcotics officer repeatedly punched and elbowed him in the face during a drug sweep, all while Benzo was handcuffed. As a result, he's now blind in one eye."

Damn, well when you describe him as a gangmember and marijuana dealer, it really seems to negate the physical abuses he suffered at the hands of police which have LEFT HIM DISABLED!

These are American citizens, man. Leave the horrific socioeconomic deprivation and rampant unemployment of this neighborhood out of it (which, no doubt, play into the fact he's selling drugs in the first place)--this guy got permanently disabled by an officer of the law, with no legal recourse forthcoming, but the focus is on that he's setting cop cars on fire? Or that he doesn't respect a legal system that will set his bail at an unreasonably high level (in blatant disregard of the constitution) for lighting a car on fire while letting the man who PHYSICALLY DISABLED HIM keep his job as an officer of the law? What kind of patriot would ever respect that law?

All this stuff about rioters, and thugs, and looters, and gangmembers, is hogwash. And to focus on that is hogwash. The police could arrest half of Baltimore if they so chose: it's not as though they don't try to. To blame the residents of Baltimore for the minuscule amount of looting that has occurred and disregarding the other forces which have contributed to this unrest is horrifying to me.

It's not that the rioters are justified, it is that war is politics by other means. Shouldn't we cheer liberty? And if it means the dregs of society are given opportunity to run rampant (because my take is this: those were police riots. Disagree all you want, but at the very least, the police destabilized a tense but controlled situation, at worst they herded those kids together like cattle and goaded them to fight. Also, Emil: black, inner-city, public-school trained, economically and racially isolated teenagers generally don't know urban warfare tactics. Because if they have urban warfare down, why do we keep sending them to prison and not Syria?) The Colonists knew that then. Why is it so hard to recognize now?

In previous post, it should read:

The interesting thing about this is how similar it is to arguments made years ago about Jewish or Korean storekeepers in inner-city black communities. I also think that it's a little strange that the "repression" of this info is supposed to demonstrate leftist bias.

In response to Rogue,

I think we gotta change the gaze of the media conversation to the interstitial spaces between the left and the right. For example,


The fact that low-taxes have made cities overly dependent on fee revenue. So instead of fighting over taxation, why not fight over fees? To ban them or to make them clearer or to limit them or something... but something which is not politically charged (like taxation... or policing) and win the proxy battle to gain leverage in the overall war.

This is similar to how Republicans used the "budget deficit" to corral spending increases on social programs through sequestration even as it became clear that the deficit would shrink as the economy grew:


The polarization, to me, means that we need to expand the battlefield--ideally beyond the traditional hot button topics of the previous generation. Perhaps fights over new areas will lead to increased engagement with left-wing political discourse.

Thanks for the focus, Rogue.
What it tends to mean, from what I can hear, is that the fear and resentment buttons get pushed (rather than the empathic.) This serves to confirm biases about: 1) urban poor and maybe not so poor blacks. 2) The need for more, not less police presence and internal surveillance; 3) The need to elect a strong Daddy who will kick ass and take names ala Sloppy Joe. 4) The need to move away from urban areas. 5) The importance of not addressing the root causes of poverty and unrest among the poor ; to NOT give in to them by "giving them what they want." It will only empower "terrorism."
6) the need to tighten up voting regulations in case this motivates the wrong kind of citizens to (gasp) vote.
Some of this is hearsay, much comes from my fevered and downbeat imagination, of course. But I will bet on it.

BTW- the acceptable usage is now "th-g."

To Rogue's question about what it means, or at least how the right might be playing it:

You'll find a LOT of right wing commentary talking about how the Democratic agenda for solving problems in urban areas just plain has not worked. You'll generally find Democratic control of inner city politics (Detroit, Baltimore, St. Louis, Chicago, etc.) and every time one of these situations unfolds, and the difficulties of inner city areas are unmasked, rest assured that the right will pounce on the opportunity to point out that the inner city problems are just as bad as they were 50 years ago and that it is the Democratic leadership in these cities that shares responsibility.

And that will resonate with many (some??) voters.

"Whatever we think in our progressive bubble, what does this mean to the majority of white voters, particularly working class "What's the Matter With Kansas" voters who keep expanding Republican control over the country?"

More police, more prisons, more harsh sentences, more voter suppression, more hate, more division, less education, less public services, less compassion.

I do not view any of this as a police problem, it is an American problem. As a society we love our guns, we love killing, we love authority over whatever the flavor-of-the-week race or class is (but we always have the old standby), and we love the hollow ring of our exceptionalism.

Emil, you are missing the point, the average German wanted the repression of the nearly communist trade unions- so they bought into what was done all the way through the 1930s.

We are making a society that will welcome oppression to stop the disorder, and will gladly join with anyone to smash the current oppressors- which are even more seen to be an oligarchy on top.

Germans also hated their oligarchy which was responsible for the first world war, but also feared the communists.

We here have no more real communist threat, but the needed redistribution will have to happen, or society will fall.

Off topic, but Phoenix featured: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/theslice/end-of-the-road-carless-in-phoenix

A nit-to-pick in all off this: Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood = Baltimore = America. A brief economic profile of the neighborhood via NewGeography.com “As the liberal Think Progress website explains, more than half of that neighborhood’s people between the ages of 16 and 64 are out of work and the unemployment rate is double that for the rest of the city. Median income is below the poverty line for a family of four, and nearly a third of families live in poverty. About a quarter to a third of the buildings are vacant, compared to 5 percent in the city as a whole. Ref:


Many any cities have their Sandtown-Winchester neighborhoods. Here’s what can be done about such places: nothing. When such a place reaches a certain point a snowballing effect takes place.

The thread opened with some (small number) comments about segregation in large cities. There is – no doubt about it. No one seems to care about this unless the neighborhood is exclusively black. But then it’s hard to find an exclusively white, or exclusively Hispanic, or exclusively Asian neighborhood (exclusively being something >95%). The website City Notes.com, which is Chicago-centric, has done many articles on this. There is a dynamic that when a neighborhood reaches a certain degree of blackness (for lack of a better word) it goes to completely Black. Non Blacks will not consider moving in; nor working and middle-class Blacks. In fact many of the residents (Black) move away. Really the only people who stay are the truly destitute or those who find such a place hospitable (e.g. those in the drug trade). Note that 25-33% of the buildings are vacant.

That there is a well spring of anger and frustration is well understood. The neighborhood has been abandoned; by the City, by the State, by the Country.

I feel sorry for the cops. They have to deal with the situation. I feel sorry for those “good people” who still live in the neighborhood.

I didn't make the rioters central to the protests. I said that they hijacked the protests, concentrating media attention, social and political criticism on criminal violence that in most cases had nothing to do with protests about police abuse of power, or Freddie Gray.

I also said that the rioters did nothing but damage their own community; and that targeting community businesses, residences and family cars was completely inappropriate, even inexplicable, as a response to police abuse of power, prosecutorial collusion, and lack of adequate city government oversight of both.

Even now there are activists claiming that without the riots (as distinct from the protests) there would be no criminal charges against the police, because rioting "got the attention of the people with the money".

Just for the sake of argument, let's assume that this is so. What will the people with the money (both existing Baltimore business owners and potential business investors) do with their money, in a city which not only has a recent history of police abuse (of which Freddie Gray is but the latest high profile victim), but now a recent history of looting and arson of businesses, ostensibly in response to police abuses? Not just corporations, but mom & pop type entrepreneurs?

Will they plow money into risky investments requiring sky-high insurance premiums, in an area where catastrophic losses are only a matter of time, as they see it? Or will they refrain from investment and even quietly disinvest?

Exactly what will the flight of retail investors do to areas already badly damaged by the loss of manufacturing jobs? If poverty is a problem now, leading to other problems like underfunded schools through loss of the tax base (both business and household as unemployment increased), what will it be like after the additional capital flight and with it a further loss of jobs and tax revenues?

How the rioting started (from the NYT):

" But as the day went on, the mood changed. The violence appears to have begun inside the Mondawmin Mall. Erica Ellis, 23, who works in a Game Stop store there, said the mall was shut down at 2 p.m., not long after Mr. Gray’s funeral cortege left for his burial.

"She said she went outside and saw a big line of police officers and hundreds of young people who started throwing rocks and bricks. But police did not respond immediately, she said. “The police officers were trying as hard as they can not to hurt the people’s children,” she said.

At the corner of North Fulton and West North Avenues, looters could be seen breaking into stores and walking out with cases of food and water while hundreds of police officers in riot gear gathered about four blocks away."


So there we have it. The violence started in a mall. Police were initially restrained, even in response to being attacked. When looting began, police were still blocks away, assembling.

Why Mondawmin Mall? Why then?

" A photograph of the April 25 rioters standing on a Baltimore police car was superimposed with the text "All HighSchools Monday @3 We Are Going To Purge From Mondawmin To The Ave, Back To Downtown #Fdl" ("Purge" being a reference to the film series) [31] and distributed on social media [32] and as flyers. [33] In response, Mondawmin Mall was closed at 2:15 p.m. [34] and police in riot gear were deployed to the area."

(From the Wiki entry: but see the footnoted citations for documentation.)

Incidentally, local police already had riot gear. Blaming the arrival of just 32 state troopers several days earlier (a symbolic political act by the governor) when protests were still peaceful, for the breakout of organized violence days later, is clearly nonsensical.

But assume for the sake of argument that these 32 state troopers assigned to crowd control of peaceful protests somehow provoked rioting. The rioters didn't take City Hall or the city prosecutor's office or (for the most part) engage the police. They went on an orgy of looting and arson targeting community businesses, housing, personal and family transportation, and even a Black church under construction.

The police didn't force them to channel violence against these targets or in this manner. The rioters are squarely at fault.

Incidentally, I seem to recall another Mother Jones article recently. Something about gang rape by a campus fraternity.

@Emil re: “I didn't make the rioters central to the protests. I said that they hijacked the protests,….” Exactly. There were two separate communities with two separate objectives: 1) Protestors and 2) rioters.

Re: “I also said that the rioters did nothing but damage their own community;….” I have reason to believe that the riots were a planned operation initiated by out siders – some of them instrumental to the Ferguson riots.

Re “because rioting "got the attention of the people with the money". But it did get attention. But this, as stated, has a Wall Street implication to it. I’m going to opine that the real attention that matters is the “powers-that-be” in Baltimore. They are judged by their ability to “keep a lid” on places like Sandtown-Winchester. By Wall Street? No. By working class and middle-class Baltimoreans; people who vote.

Re ” Or will they refrain from investment and even quietly disinvest?” Disinvestment has been going for a long time. 25-33% of the buildings are vacant. How many are in foreclosure? How many have quit paying property taxes? This isn’t Wall Street. This is “Joe-the-Working-Stiff” walking away.

From the Wiki description of the movie The Purge, which rioters used as a reference in their rallying cry distributed via social media and flyers:

" The "New Founding Fathers of America", which took over following an economic collapse and instituted totalitarian rule, has established one night a year -called "the Purge"- in which all crime is legal and all police, fire and medical emergency services remain unavailable for 12 hours, from 7 pm till 7 am the next day."

That doesn't sound like even a marginally progressive movement symbol. That sounds like something that would be used as a reference by some punks too stupid to understand the underlying social allegory, or too violence enamored to care.

Thanks for ignoring my points wkg.

Yes, the loss of the manufacturing sector resulted in disinvestment. Now, thanks to the rioters, the Black community can look forward to retail flight too; and businesses considering opening there may well choose someplace else or scale back plans. The loss to Black neighborhoods goes well beyond the immediate physical damage.

The right has been blaming outside agitators for domestic discontent for a long time. Looters carrying armloads of consumer items and cases of booze weren't taking them back to anarchist headquarters in Portland or Seattle. They were taking them down the block.

Arrests were "only" in the low hundreds because on the night of the worst rioting police largely stood back: I think there were less than 20 arrests on the night of the worst looting and arson.

Subsequent to that, things changed:

(1) A curfew gave police the legal ability to disperse crowds before they gathered momentum. Crowds generally mill around a while, accumulating critical mass and working up the boldness to undertake criminal acts. It takes time for rhetoric to inflame passions and for crowds to grow from small nuclei to groups big enough to give members a sense of mass empowerment and personal anonimity.

The vast bulk of subsequent arrests came not from looting or arson but from militant protestors determined to violate the curfew and openly confront the police. Some of those were from outside the community and some were local.

(2) Thousands of national guard and state troopers were deployed to assist the Baltimore police after the big night of looting and arson. The show of force helped convince onlookers that being part of a crowd was not enough to protect them from personal consequences.

(3) Most of the rioters (as opposed to the protesters) didn't have a big ideological stake . They were in it for what they could loot and for gratuitous arson and other destruction.

Concern Troll, I'd like to stay on topic. But briefly in reply:

The chairmen of the German Trade Union Association, Theodore Leipart and Peter Grassmann, had openly pledged themselves to cooperate with the Nazi regime. No matter, they were arrested, the trade-union headquarters throughout the country were occupied, union funds confiscated, and the leaders (many of whom were Social Democrats, not Communists) were arrested. Compare that to 1920, when the fascist Kapp putch was kneecapped by a general strike by the unions.

People didn't want the trade unions, collective bargaining, and the ability to strike outlawed. If they did, the Nazis could have acted overtly against them. Instead, the day before the closure of the unions, the Nazis resorted to a propaganda ploy, declaring May Day of 1933 as a national holiday. Hitler gave a speech that day to 100,000 workers. Union leaders were flown in from around the country and feted. All this to confuse and undermine before the mass seizures and arrests next day.

Germans didn't have an oligarchy, the Weimar Republic was controlled by the Social Democrats, who didn't start the war (the Kaiser they deposed did).

Nominal wages fell slightly while the cost of living rose 25 percent under the Nazis. Nazi labor trustees nominally set wages, but colluded with business to do so. After 1936, when businesses actually wanted to raise wages to attract workers during labor shortages, the Nazis actually held wages down by fiat.

Incidentally, small business got the shaft too. In 1937 the Nazis simply dissolved all corporations with a capital under $40,000 and forbade the establishment of new ones with capital less than $2,000,000. This eliminated 20 percent of small business overnight.

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