The riots and looting which spread through Baltimore after the funeral of Freddie Gray have now been folded under the sanitized hashtag #BaltimoreUprising. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake backed off of her characterization of the looters as “thugs” and chose instead to refer to “misguided young people who need to be held accountable, but who also need support.”
Rawlings-Blake also found herself in need of clarifying her remark that, in maintaining balance during the riots, “we also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.” What she meant, apparently, is that “as a result of providing the peaceful demonstrators with the space to share their message, that also meant that those seeking to incite violence also had the space to operate.”
Many of those who sought to incite violence and those who sympathize with them have justified the widespread destruction by arguing that black lives are more important than property.
More was lost in the riots than windows, though. NBC News’ Luke Russert points to a feature by Julie Scharper published last night in the Baltimore Sun which describes the effect of those “couple of fires” on a struggling Baltimore family.
Laporsha Lawson and her severely disabled 7-year-old son, Khai’Lee Sampson, had to flee their house after the adjacent liquor store was likely torched by rioters around 1 a.m. Scharper reports:
Lawson awoke, raced up the stairs to grab her son and rushed him to her parents’ home about a block away moments before flames engulfed the house.
“They took everything from my child,” said Lawson, 28.
The wheelchair customized for Khai’Lee’s small body, the back brace that helps him sit upright, the machine that pumps oxygen into his lungs when he stops breathing at night — all were destroyed. So were the supplies for his feeding tube, his clothes, even his new swing.
“Everybody wants justice for Freddie Gray,” said Lawson. “But what about justice for Khai’Lee?”
Meanwhile, those concerned about lost lives over broken windows can consider the 14 people shot in 24 hours in Baltimore, including two killed overnight.
Does that mean you’ll be donating to Khai’Lee’s fund or not?