A Broken City...Hopeless?

After every “racial” debacle there comes a time for government officials to reform the system. So...Baltimore. Usually, in a racial mess, real or imagined, the onus is on the white folks to remedy the ill they've caused. This was true vis-a-vis Ferguson (Brown) and Sanford (Trayvon), especially because both Attorney General Holder and President Obama, without knowing any facts, simply pronounced whites, police or otherwise, as instigators of racism and racial acts of violence. They attempted to ruin an innocent policeman (and did) and bring down a city but failed, though not for lack of trying.

Baltimore is different. Whereas Ferguson was administered by whites though two-thirds of the population was black, Baltimore, also two-thirds black, is governed by blacks. Whereas the Ferguson police force was practically all white, the Baltimore force is more than 50% black. In Baltimore, the mayor, police commissioner, patrol chief and fire-chief are black, as is the prosecutor of the six police-persons (3 white, 3 black) she has charged with serious crimes in the death of Freddie Gray, also black. The U.S. attorney general is also black as is, of course, the president and the appropriate Congressman, Elijah Cummings (lives five blocks from the action).

This makes the situation sort of like the Middle East, where the powerful Sunni military forces of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan are faced with the need to exterminate the Sunni military force of ISIS. All three are waiting for the U.S. to “do something” rather than sully their religion by Sunni wasting Sunni. Thankfully, Obama has intelligently told them to take a hike or “do something” on their own. They could solve their problem in weeks, not months.

So it's been hard to blame whites for the Baltimore riots, unless the three black policemen can somehow be exonerated, leaving the three white officers as the scapegoats. A police sergeant in the case is a black woman, so the plot thickens, especially since the whole shooting match lies at the feet of the mayor, also a black woman, whose law enforcement agency (eighth-largest in the U.S.)—for which she is directly responsible—stood by on that Monday night while 100 small businesses were crashed into, looted, and burned while thugs ruptured the fire hoses in use by the black fire chief.

There's at least one plainly common sense argument that can be made regarding racial tensions, profiling and all the rest. More than half the police personnel are black, so put all the black police-officers in predominantly black areas of the city. Then, when a black policeman shoots another black, whether armed or not, the golden opportunity for burning-out and bankrupting small businesses will be lessened, Al Sharpton will not be brought in to provide the mayor's security and organize/inflame the looters. In fact, if the black officers shoot an unarmed or armed white person, there will be no white protesters to contend with, except perhaps for a handful of white Harvard/Yale/Princeton students protesting the white guy's right to endanger the policemen by just existing.

The usual cliches have been spouted – no jobs, gang violence, dope dealing (Freddie's profession), poor education system, racism. Ironically, Baltimore received $1.8 billion of stimulus money for “shovel-ready jobs” a short while back, but apparently the city profited little in the bargain, though maybe a few shovel-ready jobs popped up. More likely, the money was stolen or wasted or both.

The usual cry is in order—more money, especially for education. In Baltimore, the amount spent per pupil annually in public schools is $15,483, second highest in the nation. The graduation rate in 2013 was 68.5% compared to 81% and 84%, respectively, for the U.S. and Maryland in 2012. In Lexington, Ky., $12,578 per pupil was spent in 2013-14. The answer to the education problem is not money.

Every official involved, from the president on down and including the NAACP and other African-American groups, insists on tiptoeing around the problem, which is that African-American adults, especially the men, have reneged on their most important responsibility, that of nurturing the family and keeping it intact. Collectively, they have refused to accept the responsibility Nature, if not God, demands. Until this circumstance is reversed, the permanent and often criminal underclass will prevail. Translated: hopeless.

And so it goes.
Jim Clark