When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is "correct" or "wise," any more than a forest fire can be "correct" or "wise." Wisdom isn't the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community.
Those are the concluding words to Non-Violence as Compliance, a powerful piece at The Atlantic by Ta=Nehisi Coates, who tells us
I grew up across the street from Mondawmin Mall, where today's riots began. My mother was raised in the same housing project, Gilmor Homes, where Freddie Gray was killed. Everyone I knew who lived in that world regarded the police not with admiration and respect but with fear and caution.
One note - Coates wrote before the announcement by the States Attorney of the arrest. Thus he has Freddie Gray in possession of an illegal switchblade. The knife found by the police was not a switchblade, but rather a legal flip-knife that was closed and clipped inside his pocket. Once that determination was made there was no grounds for Gray's arrest under Maryland law.
Read the Coates piece. It is pointed. It provides context for why someone like Freddie Gray might well run from a policeman, an action that is NOT grounds for arrest unless the police are attempting to place him under arrest for other charges, a point made forcefully to me yesterday by a member of a police department in a jurisdiction in the Baltimore metro area.