By now, I haven't a doubt that y'all have seen the picture all over the media (social and otherwise) of the good citizens of Baltimore in a line "defending" a line of police officers. I quote that word because it's used in every single presentation of that image. That snapshot is supposed to make us all feel 'good' about the fine people of Baltimore, or the nobility and resilience of the human spirit or some such crap. Blame it on my curmudgeonly bad attitude, but all that picture does is confuse me. Every time I see it, it reminds of the picture from Ferguson of a young black man, arms raised in capitulation, facing off against what could pass for a military special forces strike unit, complete with machine guns and armored tactical vehicle.
I have too many questions. It's broad daylight, so who exactly are these unseen forces that the citizens are defending armored and heavily armed police from? Al qaeda? Since the point of the protests, which EVERYBODY sympathizes with, is that institutional racism and authoritarian thuggery has led to the explosive situation between communities and the cops paid to 'protect' people, how is it "good" in this country of free people that we have to stand in defense of those police? Yes, I know, most cops are good, blah blah blah. I also know, as everyone else should, that those *good* cops stand silently and let the bad ones that the good certainly know about violate public trust at every turn, leading to death and destruction. I'm not saying that it should be open season on police. But for Dogs sake, they should at least be fired for not doing the job. Instead, I'm being told that it's 'heartwarming' when a betrayed citizenry stands in defense of the betrayers? You see my confusion, yes?
Indulge me here. To me, this photo is a desperate plea from a desperate people to not be judged harshly. 'See, the rioters aren't US, they are them. WE are on the good side. See how non-violent we are protecting the violent who have made no effort at reconciliation or even effort to fulfill the oaths they took to us?' It strikes me that the very goddamned problem is that any of them are being judged at all in the media, or on Facilebook, or on blogs talking 'bout 'Murika the Great. The officers who murdered Freddie Grey haven't been exposed, much less subjected to a public hearing. The National Guard now protects significant authority structures in Baltimore and is 'assisting' in enforcing a curfew. Not one effort appears to have been made to address the grievances of the citizens of Baltimore, but Facebook is being told that we should have renewed faith in the human spirit because a bunch of people stood in a line and said backhandedly, 'we don't want to be dead at the hands of public opinion which supports the thugs behind us'.
Nope. Pundits and posters can keep on telling me how proud, supportive, and warm I'm supposed to feel because these 'persons guilty of living in Baltimore' are doing the right thing, and passifying the judgment of all us right-thinking (white) folk. Sorry, I'm not feeling it.