Baltimore burning, and beyond
"This is not my Baltimore," tweets The Morning Call's Emily Opilo, echoing the disbelief and confusion of many as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency, bricks were thrown at police, and buildings were looted. "I want y'all to get justice for my son, but don't do it like this here," Freddie Gray's mother told journalists (19,000+ shares and climbing). Gray's twin sister Fredericka seemed to agree: "I don't think that's for Freddie." Still another witness to the destruction told BuzzFeed, "This ain’t about Freddie Gray.” Meanwhile, the Baltimore Sun rolled out a map that showed Monday's violence (1,600+), pinpointing the location of rioters as well as the damage they were leaving in their wake. The Washington Post maintained a live blog of the developments (4,400+). And then, in the midst of all this, an unexpected viral sensation emerged in the form of an angry mom, smacking her son upside the head and swearing up a storm, presumably for participating in the riots (24,000+). "Just look at the age of these #BaltimoreRioters -they are children," points out Poynter's Al Tompkins.
Also at The Sun, Justin Fenton and Erica L. Green offered a theory on the riots' roots: early Monday local social media users began bandying about the term "purge," a reference to a movie in which crime temporarily is made legal (2,800+ shares). WaPo's Mark Berman further elaborates, "Rumors gave way to a confrontation between students and police in riot gear, a fire that grew and consumed a city." Freelance journalist Sarah Jaffe notes, "this is the closest I've found to any story including some reason things kicked off and it makes zero sense." Josh Greenman with the New York Daily News described it, "Baltimore vs. itself."
Journalists were at the frontlines, as always. Matt Pearce with the LA Times compiled a Twitter list of reporters on the ground in Baltimore (shared 1,500+ times by others). Tompkins chronicled journalists attacked and injured in the riots (3,000+). "I was knocked to the ground by Freddie Gray rioters, then helped to my feet," writes WashPost's Petula Dvorak (3,500+).
The takes came hot and swift. Michael Fletcher penned, "What you really need to know about Baltimore," which begins "It was only a matter of time before Baltimore exploded" (5,828+). Jeff Zeleny with ABC News bills it thusly: "Why Baltimore isn't Ferguson: Essential reading by @Fletchpost, a great reporter who has lived there for 30 years." The Wire's creator told people to go home (8,300). Then of course there's the reflection everyone was waiting for--that of Baltimore native Ta-Nehisi Coates, who delivered a suitably fiery rebuke of nonviolence as compliance (a post that's soared in shares over everything else, at nearly 200,000). "When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse," Coates writes. Speaking of Coates, he was actually scheduled to speak on race at Johns Hopkins University today, but that (along with most school days and a Ravens draft party), has been canceled until further notice (and it looks like he might have been the last to know). The Orioles game will go on, but not in front of the public.
Still, there were pockets of sunlight to be found. The Boston Globe bought lunch for the Baltimore Sun newsroom (600+). BuzzFeed spotlighted the good Samaritans volunteering this morning to clean up the city (300+). And on a completely different note, the Supreme Court appears ready to rule in favor of marriage equality (2,700 shares so far).