Democrat-Run Baltimore is a Gangsters' Paradise
Democrats in riot-torn Baltimore really like gangsters.
As radicals and other criminals reduce their once-great city to ashes, left-wing politicians are defining deviancy down. They just can't stop saying nice things about gangsters and when they occasionally slip up and say accurate things about them, they promptly apologize for speaking the truth. That's the way Democrats in Baltimore roll.
As the rule of law is dynamited, they genuflect before them, salute them, and pose for photographs with them.
Gangsters have become the de facto government in the city of Baltimore. Rioting has empowered them.
The current civil unrest was sparked by the mysterious death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man. Gray, a habitual criminal offender, was arrested by Baltimore police for possession of a switchblade, according to a late-breaking news report. While in police custody he apparently suffered severe injuries that led to his death. Unlike the endlessly hyped demise of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., police malfeasance or negligence may have played a role in Gray's death. Time will tell.
At a surreal press conference Tuesday, career criminals that Baltimore Democrats consider to be upstanding members of the community stood side by side with elected officials to plead for an end to the violence.
In a 2015 update of Rodney King's famous 1992 quotation, "Can we all get along?" a self-identified gang member named "Trey" said they were "against the violence."
"If we can stick together doing something negative, then we can stick together doing something positive," the Baltimore Sun quoted Trey saying. "I need a job. Most of the youths need a job. We need help. It ain't right what people was [sic] doing, but you've got to understand. Some people are struggling."
Because Trey was dressed in red, presumably he is a member of the Bloods, which started as a street gang in Los Angeles in the 1970s. Flush with profits from crack cocaine-trafficking, it expanded across the nation in the 1980s.
For reasons that are unclear, the Bloods are not members of the Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce. Following the example of their fellow criminals at the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, perhaps it's time for the Bloods to become a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity. They could hire former IRS official Lois Lerner, who shares their worldview, as an advisor.
Gang-bangers are legitimate stakeholders entitled to respect, according to Baltimore Democrats.
At the press conference Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young (Democrat) praised these fine young men from the city's underappreciated organized crime sector.
Politicians, church leaders, and gangs must unite to shut down the violence plaguing the city, he said. "These men have been out on the street quelling the senseless violence that has consumed our society."
Why gangs, whose reason for being is the facilitation of criminal activity, would take an interest in ending civil disorder is unclear. A law-abiding gang is a contradiction in terms. Perhaps the wrong businesses were being looted.
Young showed the gangs unconditional love on Tuesday even after Baltimore Police warned of a "credible threat" that the Bloods, Crips, and Black Guerrilla Family had entered into an temporary alliance to "take out" law enforcement officers.
The cops must be wrong, Young reasoned, because after he met with gangbangers Tuesday "it is clear that the notion they were planning on harming our police officers is false and simply deterred [sic] the resources we need to focus on the individuals who instigated these riots."
Young felt really bad about calling out the property-destroying criminals running wild in the city. He apologized to the rioting thugs that he called "thugs" the day before.
"What we're seeing today is not about Freddie Gray," he said.
It is about the pain, the hurt and the suffering of these young people. There's no excuse for them to loot, riot, and destroy our city. I made a comment out of frustration and anger when I called our children thugs. They're not thugs. They're just misdirected. We need to direct them on a different path by creating opportunities for them.
To left-wingers like Young, spending more taxpayer money is always the solution.
And Young is not the only cognitively dissonant left-winger out there saying first, that there is no excuse for rioting and then, second, saying actually, there really is an excuse for rioting.
President Barack Obama (Democrat) said "there's no excuse for the kind of violence that we saw" in Baltimore. "It is counterproductive."
Obama blamed the police, not the rioters. "This is a slow-rolling crisis," he said. "This has been going on for a long time. This is not new and we shouldn't pretend it's new."
Obama also blamed stereotypical Republicans who refuse to spend as much taxpayer money as he would prefer. The government needs to flush more money down the toilet, lavishing poor minority communities with free early childhood education and job training, he said.
"I'm under no illusion that out of this Congress we're going to get massive investments in urban communities," the president said. "It's too easy to ignore those problems or to treat them just as a law-and-order issue as opposed to a broader social issue."
Of course the Obama White House sent a delegation worthy of a head of state to Baltimore for Freddie Gray's funeral, even though it's far from clear what happened to the career criminal. They were: Baltimore native Broderick Johnson, who chairs the racist My Brother's Keeper Task Force; White House spin doctor Heather Foster; and Elias Alcantara, associate director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.
And Obama is using government resources to keep the social justice-fueled fires burning in the streets of Baltimore. Left-wing community organizers from the Department of Justice's infamous Community Relations Service (CRS) are on the ground in Baltimore, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said hours after being sworn in. CRS agitators swarmed Sanford, Fla., in 2012 and organized political theater that was ultimately successful in getting the innocent George Zimmerman charged with the murder of his attacker, Trayvon Martin.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (Democrat), the lawmaker from Nevada who claims his home workout regime assaulted him making him blind in one eye, condemned the violence and then excused the rioters.
But let's not ignore the underlying problem. Let's not pretend the system is fair. Let's not pretend everything is okay. Let's not pretend the path from poverty like the one I traveled is still available to everyone out there as long as they work hard.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (Democrat), who represents part of Baltimore City in Congress, told NBC News that watching the riots unfold is "very, very painful... I have not seen anything like this since 1968."
Cummings, who conspired with the IRS to persecute Tea Party groups, blamed the riots on police whom he said have been killing unarmed black men all over the country.
"We've got a series of events that has caused people to just say, well we're not taking it anymore. People are literally very, very upset." (Note to the congressman: Freddie Gray was not unarmed. He had a switchblade on his person when he was arrested.)
Carl Stokes (Democrat), a member of Baltimore City Council, said calling rioting thugs "thugs" is the same as calling them the N-word. "These are children who have been set aside, marginalized, who have not been engaged by us. No, we don't have to call them thugs."
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (Democrat) apologized Tuesday to the rioting thugs for calling them "thugs" the day before as they destroyed property with her blessing.
"I wanted to say something that was on my heart ... We don't have thugs in Baltimore. Sometimes my little anger interpreter gets the best of me," she said. "We have a lot of kids that are acting out, a lot of people in our community that are acting out."
Throughout the current crisis, Rawlings-Blake has represented her constituency, rioters, with great zeal.
On the weekend, instead of waiting for the justice system to work, the Baltimore mayor became the enabler of an unfocused, scatter-gun approach to social justice vigilantism. She gave the angry mob permission to run wild. (I thought left-wingers believed it was better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission. But I digress.)
After the first wave of rioting started on Saturday, the strenuously non-judgmental mayor consoled the rabble, implying that their activities constituted legitimate contributions to public discourse.
"I made it very clear that I work with the police and instructed them to do everything that they could to make sure that the protesters were able to exercise their right to free speech," she said.
The property rights of victims were much further down on the mayor's hierarchy of values because in the leftist worldview the right to agitate trumps all other rights. She continued:
It’s a very delicate balancing act. Because while we tried to make sure that they were protected from the cars and other things that were going on, we also gave those who wished to destroy, space to do that as well. And we worked very hard to keep that balance and to put ourselves in the best position to de-escalate. [emphasis added]
Rawlings-Blake has been backpedaling furiously, claiming that her words were twisted and taken out of context. But it's obvious she meant what she said. In politics when someone inadvertently speaks the truth it's called a gaffe. The mayor, who is also secretary of the Democratic National Committee, committed a major-league gaffe.
Left-wingers believe that rioting and looting for the right reasons are legitimate forms of political protest that are protected by the First Amendment. Ditto for physical force and intimidation so long as they are in pursuit of leftist goals.
This depravity is part and parcel of the Left. Radicals like the late Saul Alinsky (admired by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton) and the Trotskyist dowager Frances Fox Piven (admired by Bill Clinton) favored using violence for progressive ends.
Alinsky was a gangster groupie. He became friends with Frank Nitti of the Al Capone crime gang and tried to help the gang by advising on best business practices.
Alinsky biographer Nicholas von Hoffman wrote that his subject favored "conking" picket line crossers on the head. Alinsky shied away from praising violence in public but in private "he would say that violence has its uses."
In his first organizing opus, Reveille for Radicals, Alinsky wrote that the radical “hits, he hurts, he is dangerous.” Radicals “are most adept at breaking the necks of conservatives.”
Violence is seen as inevitable in the revolutionary struggle. “The radical may resort to the sword but when he does he is not filled with hatred against those individuals whom he attacks,” the community organizing guru writes.
Objectifying and depersonalizing his opponents, Alinsky writes that the radical "hates these individuals not as persons but as symbols representing ideas or interests which he believes to be inimical to the welfare of the people.”
A pragmatic warrior for radicalism must accept, Alinsky adds in his other opus, Rules for Radicals, that “in action, one does not always enjoy the luxury of a decision that is consistent both with one’s individual conscience and the good of mankind.”
Like Rawlings-Blake, academic-activist Frances Fox Piven goofed by offering an amoral endorsement of the use of violence by community organizers. During a book talk Piven said:
It's partly a problem of, almost, strategy and propaganda. It's a violent country. It's a violent government. It's killing people. And they're going to call us violent if we break a window, but they will do that, so probably unless you have good reason for breaking the window, probably you shouldn't do that. Unless it's, you know, a big part of your strategy.
Because of Rawlings-Blake and her ilk, Baltimore has become like the dystopian horror movie The Purge in which for one night every year all laws -- including those forbidding murder-- are suspended.
Many Twitter users following the riots likened the real-life scenes unfolding in Baltimore to the film. There were also reports that Baltimore schoolchildren were urged to begin a "purge" on Monday.
"The 2013 movie," USA Today explained, "is set in 2022 and chronicles one night a year called 'the purge,' when for 12 hours, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., police and medical emergency services are unavailable and people, loot, steal, and kill undeterred."
In an attempt to reassure frightened children, Ethan Hawke's character explains, "Tonight allows people a release for all the hatred and violence that they keep up inside them."
That justification seems eerily similar to the one offered by Rawlings-Blake when she explained why she gave space to rioters to destroy.
As members of the Democratic Party that birthed Jim Crow and the Ku Klux Klan embrace the Thug Life, gangsters are now officially cool.
Matthew Vadum (website) is an investigative journalist in Washington, D.C., and author of the ACORN/Obama expose, Subversion Inc.: How Obama's ACORN Red Shirts are Still Ripping Off and Terrorizing American Taxpayers. Follow him on Twitter. Email him at matthewvadum [at] gmail.com.