Spikes in current events is pretty much blogger gold to someone like myself. We who critique and analyze ongoing events in the news are often treated to a noteworthy occurrence that just begs attention. During the riots that raged through a predominantly black section of Baltimore yesterday, one of those things that just begs for closer attention took place in them in the middle of the destruction and violence.
Now bear with me as I lead up to my overall point.
Like many Americans, I watched news coverage of the riots, sparked by the as-now unexplained death Freddy Gray, a young black male while in police custody (Gray was arrested for running from police and possession of a knife). As per the usual dynamic of many such cases that have come to light in recent years, the public chooses sides—usually along the lines of their preconceived beliefs, sans the logic or reason of critical thinking—by blindly justifying the police’s actions, or by condemning them as inexcusable under any circumstance. One side will assert racism (or at least biased applications of the law) are at the heart of these events, while the other will assert the lack of personal responsibility, bad parenting, warped social values, and adhering to a particular political ideology are the reasons for such tragedies. I took note of this as I (regrettably) watched the partisan commentators on Fox News attempt to outline an—albeit marginally truthful—narrative of the issues behind the events in Baltimore. To see what I mean by the sides that such events tend to form, please watch the video segment below, which sets up my point for the rest of this post.
I have always subscribed to the rational approach that an amalgam of all of these factors lays at the heart of these fatal encounters. What’s more, toss in the lack of professionalism among many police departments, ethnocentrism, lack of self-respect, and a little bit of history, and you get the ingredients for what’s happening in Baltimore. But if you watched the video clip I posted above, you might have noted that some will attempt to oversimplify “solutions” to the rioting by asking, “Where are the parents (of the rioters/looters)?”
Though every parent of every young rioter/looter weren’t to be seen, there was one angry parent who was present at the rioting—but she wasn’t taking part. She made her way to the scene of the mayhem to make known her disgust with her son’s involvement in the rioting, and took action to that point. Enter 42-year old Toya Graham. The reaction single mother of a 16-year old son found participating in the melee has gone viral (below).
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a parent who is looking after the best interests of their children using direct parenting, in conjunction with a firm hand when it comes to helping their children stay on the straight and narrow. A little national exposure and embarrassment for Ms. Graham's son is a small price to pay for the alternative for criminal behavior.
And for those critics who might disagree, consider the event that brought the mother and son to the point of confrontation…the death of Freddy Gray. As yourself which is worse; a slapping an unruly and disruptive child upside the head a few times, or them dying in policy custody because they couldn’t appreciate the difference between right and wrong? Now, if only the mothers of police officers who abuse their authority would do the same thing to their sons…
(Read more about Ms. Graham's actions during the rioting in Baltimore, here...)