The #BaltimoreRiots – a Heartbreaking Sequence of Events

by Byron on April 28, 2015

Decker and Gibson,

You’re only two and a half and 11 months, but you will hear about these days long into the future.  Just like I hear about 1968, though it was 10 years before I was born.  There are riots in Baltimore.  There was a horrific tragedy, where a young man from Baltimore named Freddy Gray had his neck broken.  It happened at some point in an altercation with police, is the belief.  I don’t know what happened, and I will not presume to speculate.  In any event, the man lost his life, which is a horrific tragedy.

Sometimes you guys cry because your juice isn’t cold or because Mommy and Daddy don’t pick you up quick enough.  Part of me wants to remedy the situation immediately so you don’t suffer even perceived harms.  Part of me wants to let you cry and teach you the all important lesson – life is hard.  Warm juice ain’t shit compared to the struggle of living a life, making a living, taking care of others, dealing with grief, and dealing with hatred.  Because you will deal with hatred.  There are many hurt people in the world; the world has some broken people too.

Hurt and broken people come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.  Hurt and broken people sometimes look the part, sometimes wear expensive suits, sometimes wear blue uniforms, and sometimes are just regular Joe’s or Josephine’s.  I hope that you guys will do a couple of things…

  1. Take care of yourself first.  It’s difficult to be a part of the solution and not the problem if you are not healthy and whole.  I’ll do what I can for you, but at some point, healthy and whole comes from within and from sources that can fill you up in a healthy way.
  2. Remember that only a very few people are broken completely beyond repair.
  3. Remember that a few actions do not a person make.
  4. Try to be a part of the solution, or at least not a part of the problem.

Your Grandfather and I represent a lot of police officers.  We are General Counsel to the Maryland Troopers Association, an organization of more than 2500 active and retired police officers.  They are on the front lines trying to restore order in our city.  Our thoughts are with them.  Their job is not easy.  The few bad apples make their job more difficult still.  Whether Baltimore City Police have more bad apples than our Troopers, I don’t know.

We also represent incarcerated individuals.  We handle appeals and post convictions.  We are the last chance for many people to get out of jail.  My guess is that we currently represent, or have represented, the parents and grandparents of many people participating in the riots.  They are very much human beings – the rioters and those we represent.  And what I said about life being hard … their life is hard.  Many of the young men and women I saw on TV trashing Baltimore will not have the opportunities that I get up everyday to try to provide you with.  Does that give them justification to burn and batter?  No, I don’t believe that it does.  I do believe, however, that many in the mob genuinely believe that it does.

This is, to say the least, a complicated situation.  I’m a lawyer.  You guys have food, shelter, and education because I’m paid to see all angles.

But one thing should be clear … hurting human beings is never okay.  I just got word that Decker’s school, which is in Baltimore City, is closing early because of security concerns.  Frightening to say the least.

This is a sad time for the community around us.  And when it’s a sad time around us, it is, a sad time for us too.  I’m glad you guys are young enough that you don’t have to experience what I’m experiencing in a visceral way.  Hopefully you never will.

I love you guys more than I know how to express.

Dad

 

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