There is no justification for the chaos and violence we have witnessed in Baltimore this week, regardless of what wrongs the Baltimore Police may have or may not have committed.
Worse than the violence is the high jacking of the time honored constitutionally guaranteed right of descent. Thugs, gangs and criminals have taken advantage of the situation for their own personal gain and emotional release. To refer to these thugs as protesters is a slap in the face of our founding colonist, abolitionist, civil rights and anti-war activist. True protesters engage in mass demonstrations and protest free of looting, violence and destruction of property.
Protest playbook not followed
This is the second time since the looting in Ferguson, Missouri that non-violent protest has been replaced by violence and chaos. This trend has to raise questions in the minds of both sides, the true protester and law enforcement officials who protect the right of protesters to exercise their right of expression.
True protesters have ask themselves why they are losing control to lawlessness. The answer is that true protesters are skipping the Six Steps of Non-Violent Change developed by Martin Luther King Jr., who successfully used them along with countless others to bring non-violent civil rights change to America. The new Civil Rights Movement appears to be starting at step 5 Direct Action. Step 1 Information Gathering Step 2 Education Step 3 Personal Commitment Step 4 Negotiation and the final step Step 6 Reconciliation have all been ignored.
The break down started in 2007 with the protest march against the convictions in Jena, Louisiana of six black teenagers known as the Jena Six. This protest march held on September 20, 2007 with a turnout of 15,000 plus protesters was the beginning of a practice I call a speak-bye.
National personalities fly into town and makes a speech that has no plan of action to correct the injustice of the hour, but it does arouse emotions in people to act out. At this point the speaker concludes and leaves town leaving emotions raw and vulnerable to manipulation.
This practice continued through the Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Micheal Brown and Freddie Gray wrongful deaths. where we see the emergence of a new element. We now have at least 3 generations of youth who did not live through the Civil Rights Movement and their only knowledge of it is through news reel footage of the time.
Hip Hop rap culture
Brief history lessons focus primarily on the marches themselves not the non-violent philosophy that under girded them or the planning that went in to them. These same 3 generations of youth are now brainwashed daily with the hip-hop rap culture of the way to make it in America is to pick up a gun and take whatever it is you want regardless of laws, rules or morals.
This is how we get to the spark of Baltimore middle and high school students starting the violence this week. Law enforcement officials now have to explore the possibility of not allowing non permitted protest to take place. Getting a permit to protest should be as easy as it is to apply and get a business license, denying a permit should be the exception not the rule. But by moving to a permit only posture two things can be accomplished 1) this automatically opens up a dialogue between protester and law enforcement establishing rules of conduct for both parties. This makes someone or some organization take responsibility for what happens in relation to the protest, as opposed to what we have seen taking place in New York and Ferguson. Impromptu chaotic marches taken over by violent elements. 2) law enforcement can move immediately to stop any non-permitted demonstrations of any kind before they degenerate into chaos.
This would mean that all government entities should have designated areas where citizens can show up unannounced and un-permitted at any time to peacefully protest. All others that take place in non-designated areas would to have be issued a permit. What all of us must do is not fall into the trap of letting the thugs, gangs and criminals who high jacked the non-violent protest in Baltimore divert our attention to how we got here.
It’s a rare thing when citizens attack the police, in most instances criminals run from the police. Violence against police cannot be tolerated under any circumstance, but as Dr. King told us violence is the language of the unheard. Baltimore citizen’s cries of police brutality have been unheard for a long time, now maybe its time to start listening.