THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS IN WEST BALTIMORE, MD. FERGUSON, MO. AND OTHER POOR NEIGHBORHOODS

Once again, we have seen several days of protests and, now, violence and looting in Baltimore, Maryland–after the death (killing?) of one more Black Man at the hands of police officers.  This brings back memories of the protests that went violent in Ferguson, Missouri last summer.  Similar situations have occurred over the decades in the Watts District of Los Angeles, Newark, New Jersey, and Miami, Florida, just to name a few.

It should be remembered, however, that there are two quite different elements involved in these protests.  The local citizens who are protesting the injustice done to one of their own are mostly peaceful.  The family of Freddie Gray, the man who died, had requested that any protests be peaceful; because, anything else would just ruin the purpose of the protests, and the reputation of the local community.  But, unfortunately, there always seems to be a few troublemakers who join in such gatherings and escalate them.

Gang members, petty thieves and other low-lifes often take such protest marches hostage and use them for their own evil purposes, such as:  looting; stealing; torching; etc.  Besides tarnishing the true spirit of the protests, this destruction destroys the very shops that the local community depend on, the jobs of many residents who work in them, and possibly the life savings of the small shop owners who took on the additional risks of opening business in poor neighborhoods to begin with.

Baltimore doesn’t have the best reputation in the local black community.  Just as we saw in Ferguson, many police departments currently use more militaristic tactics and weaponry. Unfortunately, such situations often end up with each side believing that they are being besieged by the other.  Thus, we end-up with a siege mentality–Us vs. them!

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