To Baltimore

To Baltimore,

There was a riot in my home the other night. My 8 year old daughter felt slighted. She was upset and felt that I didn’t listen to her.  Her protest began peacefully, as she pleaded “But Daddy….”  I stopped her. Her actions were not justified. Again she cried “But Daddy…”  but I sent her to her room.

It was then, that she got so mad, she had not been listened to. She had been silenced, but she wasn’t going quietly. Her frustration boiled over and she began to scream “It’s not fair!” She stomped and yelled. I ignored her.  Then she began to throw her stuffed animals off her bed. Soon she ripped her sheets off her bed. She was in a fit of rage. She was rioting in her bedroom.

I am not saying any of this mockingly.  I am saying, all of us have been put in a position when we felt our voices weren’t being heard.  We have all felt slighted and put down and ignored.  But we must choose our actions.

When my daughter calmed down, I opened her bedroom door.  There she stood in her room that was now trashed. She was still upset about the situation but her rage had subsided. She stood in the shambles of a messy bedroom. An unmade bed, clothes pulled out of her dresser and toys thrown about.   I watched her as she looked around at the mess she had created. Her eyes got wide.

Her tantrum, her riot, accomplished nothing. She now stood silent in a messy room. She now had no one to blame. Her prior anger may have been justified, but her reaction was not.  Her room was now her responsibility. A mess she had to clean up, and room she had to repair.

We are 75 miles from Baltimore. Our home is safe from the rioting and looting. But it still hits “close to home”.  As I watch the news and social media get flooded with the images of the chaos from the city, I can only shake my head and wonder. What happens next?

For those who came to protest peacefully, I respect your position. You wanted to stand together and have your voice be heard.  But for those who chose to go beyond, the responsibility is now in your hands. A city in disarray will be yours to repair.

I read articles of people saying “You don’t know what it’s like” or “You have never felt pushed so hard.”  Maybe I haven’t in this situation. But that does not justify or even give reason for destroying a community.

My daughter took her time cleaning her room that night. Longer than needed actually. I allowed her to move at her own pace, and reflecting on her actions.  With each toy she picked up she had to think if her reaction was reasonable or justifiable, or even worth it to her cause. She learned a lesson the other night, that she took it too far. Regardless of how she felt prior, she took things too far and had to face the consequence herself.

Baltimore residents who did not take part in the riots are now on the streets cleaning up after others. They are trying to mend a community torn apart by those who chose the wrong course of action. Is this justice?

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