"I don't want him to be a Freddie Gray," explained Baltimore mom Toya Graham (52,000+ impressive shares) after she turned into an unexpected viral sensation for smacking her son upside the head and swearing up a storm for participating in riotous behavior (which earned another 52,000+ on its own). "Just look at the age of these #BaltimoreRioters -they are children," points out Poynter's Al Tompkins. Reactions to Graham's act seemed split along political lines, although not evenly. "Thoughts on #ToyaGraham -mom who hit son during #BailtimoreRiots ... #motheroftheyear or not?" asks Syma Chowdhry with CBS 3 Philadelphia. When the cameras finally caught up with her, her explanation still seemed to cause a divide. "RWr's cheering Balt. mom Toya Graham miss one thing-she went upside his head out of fear cops would kill him," argues journalist Charles Jaco. The streets have gone mostly quiet, but the theories (many of them questionable) are still coming. Luckily, Adam Johnson is keeping a tally: "Bullshit inventory 4/28, Teen purge story: bullshit. Gangs uniting to kill cops story: bullshit." And Obama has called on Americans to do some soul-searching, which isn't the first time he's used that phrase--but here's why this time's different.
For day 1, 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) before later speaking on Baltimore’s anguish. 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.