jade in the parke

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Mom's View of the Baltimore Riots

Some might call me over protective. And to that I say, "Thank you."  Listen, my kids eat orange peanut butter crackers, watch the electronic babysitter or know the latest YouTuber. We are not in a bunker, but we usually shield our children from mindless exposure to news radio & television. Yes, I am the mom who changes the radio station when a distasteful story comes on after the traffic and weather updates. We grab our news from a trusted magazine, newspapers and, like most of this generation, social media. Twitter gives us the most up to date and in real time news stories as they are developing. 
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We hope our younger kids do not become anesthetized to pain and suffering, so we are careful when we expose them to these stories we see while scrolling through our feed.  We want to couch the narrative put before them in a framework that they can handle. So, we usually just summarize the news story with the pertinent facts they might hear from peers the next day.  The brutality of the world can be navigated with our guidance with compassionate, age appropriate information.

Yesterday was one of the days we just didn't talk and pray about the news.
Yesterday, we dusted off the remote controls and switched from Fox, CNN to Baltimore channels watching the destruction of a city we love so much.
Yesterday, we watched in shock at the city of Baltimore which looked like a war zone compared to just four days prior at my son's soirée with his Senior class celebrating in downtown Baltimore. 
Yesterday, we were reminiscing about this past Saturday where we enjoyed a free, family program called "Physics Day" at Johns Hopkins University as we heard reports coming in that JHU students were texted to shelter in place as rioters were roaming on campus.
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Our history in commerce: Domino Sugars & Under Armor

The absolute shock we felt as we watched video feeds of men confronting a cameraman and pushing him down and kicking him, the rocks being lobbed at the police trying to get a hurt officer to safety and the armfuls of clothing in people's arms as they threw their loot into the trunks of their car and drove away from Mondawmin mall with glee. Seeing teens with backpacks run into a 7-11, grabbing something, anything and pushing their way out through the crowd of kids wanting something for nothing. My teens couldn't believe it. Early on, we encouraged our seven year old to play with a tablet to keep her eyes off what we couldn't stop watching. Images of people jumping on police cars and seeing fire after fire light up the screen. My teens were righteously indignant as we heard live reports of water hoses being cut as firefighters were attempting to extinguish these man-made fires. My son wrote these words on Facebook as we watched the riots: 

I've seen videos of the violence of the '60s during some of the darker moments of the Civil Rights Movement. 
I've seen the videos of violent protests in Ferguson, MO. 
I never thought I'd see the violence in the city just 20 miles from where I live. 
I never thought I'd see senseless brutality and mindless theft and destruction in a city so dear to me. 
It makes me sad. 
Where did the respect for life, liberty, and property go? 
Where did justice, wisdom, moderation, and the moral sense imbued in America go? 
Where did a reverent respect for the Church and God go? 
Whatever was left of it went up in flames in the streets of Baltimore.

As a mom, I need to help my children not be hardened and to guard against bitterness. 
A news conference, State of Emergency, National Guard.  I scroll through my feed again, it is my son's peers that are getting texts to show up for duty; Boys to men called to keep order among men acting like delinquents. Young men the same age as my son. 

We are called to pray. We are called to seek justice. 
Something awful happened in that ride to the station for Freddie Gray. 
Investigations, punishment, discipline, peaceful protests--All of these can happen without chaos and destruction bringing shame to Charm City. 

I know my children could be considered privileged and by writing the words: Soirée, dinner at a lovely restaurant, and we attended an educational event as a family unit (Father, Mother and all four kids),  that we are on a different track than those who live even a few blocks from Hopkins. 
This sobering reality keeps me humble. 
Is the level of violence and lawlessness mitigated by these factors? Do you agree or not?

What about these rabble rousers? Maybe their families are fractured? Maybe they don't know their fathers? Maybe they were the recipients of police brutality? We don't know their stories, but destroying their infrastructure and their city is not righteous anger, it is stupidity. They are hurting themselves and their neighborhood, by looting and burning their own corner stores which are relied on heavily and even ruined the CVS that took a community effort to bring into that neighborhood. Getting something for nothing or if "I don't take it someone else will" as we heard from the mouth of a looter last night, brings shame to the city of Baltimore.

A bright shining star were the clergy who stood strong and marched through the city. Praying, singing and standing for the message of peace and repentance. Right after they marched by a large construction site, a fire was set which fanned into a fiery inferno. A local reporter remarked of the irony of the pastors praying and then the fire is set after they passed by this site. 
But I know to whom they pray. 
I trust in Him that He is the God of order and not of chaos. 
So, if there is nothing to do except to be cynical or condemning, then pray. 
Pray for justice for those who perpetrated the crimes against the city and pray for justice for Freddie Gray. 
Pray for the safety of the Baltimore City Police department and the Firefighters. 
Pray for the National Guard. 
Pray for those who are traveling from around the country to help. 
Pray for Baltimore. 

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  1. Beautiful. Articulate. Humble. Kind. Compassionate. This.post.

    1. Wow, thank you so much! I am so glad you are here as a reader.

  2. Praying for Baltimore, and for our nation, and our world. Thank you for sharing. #livefree HE IS OUR PEACE!

    1. I totally agree that He is our peace and thank you for praying for this city. Even though the violence has diminished, there is deep anger and resentment simmering. Yet, there is hope. The news will focus on the extremes (which is newsworthy), but in the quiet away from the camera there are people, ministries and neighborhoods who are serving the downtrodden and marginalized. Let's keep praying for them, too! Thank you so much for reading and commenting.