I admit that I am the type of person who tends to close my eyes and cover my ears when bad things are happening in the news. I use the excuse that I simply cannot worry about another thing on top of everything I’m already juggling with life. But the truth is, I close my eyes because I can’t help but obsess over the terrible things in the world.
Now it’s happening in my backyard and I can’t ignore it.
For most of my life I have lived within about 30 minutes of Baltimore City. We often drive into the city to see a movie at the fancy movie theater, go to dinner, visit the zoo, go to an Orioles game, and wander around the Inner Harbor. I’ve seen a dozen concerts there, danced in the dance clubs, run 5k’s through the city, visited friends in the area and have been involved with a number of nonprofits that served the area through a leadership program called GIVE. For the past few years, my job has me working out of a Baltimore location on a regular basis.
There were peaceful protests to honor Freddie Gray for the past week, until riots broke out on Saturday. Then, yesterday afternoon I was glued to the news as I watched mobs of people destroying Baltimore City. Teenagers were throwing rocks, concrete and bottles at the police. Stores were being looted. Buildings and cars were set on fire. There was a credible threat that the local gangs were banding together to ‘take out’ the police. Firefighters were being attacked for doing their jobs and at one point rioters even cut the fire hoses as the firefighters were working to put out a raging fire.
According to the mayor’s office, due to the rioting yesterday: 15 officers were hurt, 6 hospitalized, there were 144 vehicle fires, 15 structure fires and nearly 200 arrests. (source)
My heart is broken.
The fact that #BaltimoreRiots is trending is heartbreaking.
We don’t know what today will bring. There are rumors that youths will start rioting at a new location this afternoon. I don’t know how much worse it will have to get before it gets better.
The National Guard has been called into the city. They, along with the Baltimore City police and police forces from many surrounding counties are trying to protect our city. I am so thankful to all those who serve and I hope that this reaches a swift resolution.
If you are the praying type, please keep Baltimore in your prayers.