Talk show legend Brian Wilson and I did a postmortem on the Baltimore Riots on his Libertas Media Project podcast today. I was amused by Brian’s opening riff – claiming that Public Policy Hooligan will soon be a made-for-TV movie that includes Buford Porchdog Mulcoskey as Bill Clinton and Trample the Wonder Rhino as Janet Reno. Here are a few of my comments:
* The vast majority of the protestors were not looters, and most of the looters were not protestors. I support folks’ right to protest even when I vehemently disagree with their signs or slogans. I favor jailing the looters no matter what excuse they offer.
* Brian asked my response to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake labeling the rioters as “thugs.” I said I was just grateful that she did not label them “hooligans.”
*It is mystifying why a half a dozen cops were not stationed in front of the Mondawin Mall on Monday evening – they easily could have prevented some of the worst looting.
* Police in Baltimore (and throughout Maryland) have had the legal right to kill with impunity for many years. I wrote about this in Playboy in 2001 (“Killer Cops”) and the problem has only gotten worse since then.
* While Mayor Rawlings-Blake denounces police brutality, she has been complicit in covering up police abuses throughout her five years as mayor.
* Regardless of what the Mayor meant with the “space to destroy” comment, she apparently gave stand-down orders to police that permitted the violence and looting to become far worse than it otherwise would have been. It would be fascinating to see the internal emails among FBI officials to see their moment-to-moment response to how the Baltimore riot was handled.
* The Baltimore Sun and Baltimore City Paper have done great investigations in the past and I hope they can expose the precise orders that the mayor gave police and establish a timeline of Baltimore’s descent into chaos.
* Hopefully the truth comes out and, as always, there is a happy ending in Maryland.
Brian asked my response to Hillary Clinton candidacy and the Clinton Foundation. I said the bright side is that the scandal guarantees we’ll hear more speeches about the danger of people becoming cynical.
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