NBC/WMAR Photo used under fair usage guidelines
This is not about a particular city -- this week we're talking Baltimore. Last week we were talking about some other city, and the week before, we were talking about yet another city.
We need to understand that this kind of behavior can be found in every medium to large-sized city or community in the United States. Yeah, including Mayberry. Old Deputy Barney Fife (played masterfully by Don Knotts) had to put up with a riot, and Ernest T. Bass was breaking windows to Fife's comment, "He's a NUT!"
(Those of you too young to remember this, go over to YouTube and put in the search engine "Andy Griffith Show, Bass, Nut" and you'll be greeted with some black and white images of how a small-town Sheriff - one "without a gun" - and his deputy dealt with vandals. No different than today, gang... The Sheriff had enough with this person...and corrected and redirected him right on the spot. Acting like a parent would his son, he told Mr. Bass that "I'm just ashamed of you...ashamed.")
What delayed the reaction from the Baltimore police and leadership was the age of the vandals. They were, for the most part, youth. Scouting-aged youth, as young as 13 or 14, and as old as their early 20s. The Baltimore police and governmental agencies assessed this truthfully: the visuals -- going outward to a worldwide audience in real-time -- would never support police or the Maryland National Guard going in and firing anything upon teenage looters, even in self-defense. They took it on the chin, the face, the knees, the groin -- a total I believe of some 20 or so officers found themselves injured by children "acting out." The city was accused of "being too slow" with the response. City leadership implying that "kids will be kids" in their public responses did not help things either.
I am quite positive that my Grandmother -- we referred to her as our "Big Mom" -- and my mother -- are in Heaven giving "high fives" and fist-bumps to each other and every other mother, grandmother, and other parents there when they saw the video (which the above image was taken from). It was a mother -- who saw her son on TV, acting a fool and taunting police people while throwing bricks and rocks at them. She went into full parent mode!
I know that if that were MY mother who saw one of my brothers out there or ME, she would have done the same things -- and then some. That hoodie, mask, and pants would NOT be able to shield the pain and blood which would be inflicted from parent to child in the interest in protecting and keeping him from being killed -- accidentally or on purpose. One of my Mom's (and probably your Mom or Dad's) sayings were, "I brought you into this world...and I'll take you OUT of it before I let someone else do it..." She would have found a switch, a belt, took off one of her shoes, found something painful -- and trust me when I say this please -- lovingly BEAT THE SNOT OUT OF ME RIGHT THERE, TELLING ME SHE DIDN'T RAISE ME TO BE THAT DISRESPECTFUL.
It was drama of the good kind. It was a parent correcting her son on world-wide television, not caring who was watching, where they were seeing her corrective behavior, or even interfering with the correction. Once people realized that it was her son and not someone else's kid, they moved away and let Mom do her thing. I am sure that the young man is still embarrassed by being punished by his mother with media and bloggers at the ready.
I had friends who viewed the video and said, "my parents wouldn't do that..." to which I answered, "so you think it's fine that you would be able to throw things at the police -- for not doing anything to you or anyone around you. Just because they were there..." I got back, "they deserved it. They're the ones who got everyone juiced up..."
No. There are better ways to protest and express dissatisfaction with the government or the police or both. It was positively shown in the media accounts for a week before this uprising occurred.
The bravery -- no the LOVE -- expressed from this mother to her sole son, as she explained to CBS News -- is why we need programs like Scouting to get and keep kids involved in other things than to "try to beat boredom." That's what this all came down to a group of kids getting bored and thought that they would simply come out, call the police names and try to "egg them onto" doing something...and aided by some "Ernest T Bass" kinds of adults out there -- NUTS -- started throwing stuff, breaking into stores and shops, and taking things they really don't need or want -- just because. Bored kids.
Baltimore's Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said during one of several press conferences Monday night: "You had one mother who grabbed her child who had a hood on his head, and she started smacking him on the head because she was so embarrassed. I wish I had more parents that took charge of their kids out there tonight."
Another reason why we really do NEED Scouting...and we really do NEED community support to keep programs like Scouting going and growing. Even in little places like, well, Mayberry.
Or in (insert name of city/community here).