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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Let My People Go

OK - this is a shameless reprint, but it's oh so timely. This is another local, Baltimore issue, which has gotten some national press due to the Trayvon Martin case. There have been parallels drawn between the two cases, but I'd like to point out two that Dan Rodricks, whose columns I believe are regularly on point, failed to miss: racism and vigilantism. Here's the link to his op-ed today on the case:,0,7089843.columnist

In the Shomrim case, the two members of the "neighborhood patrol," who were both Jewish, told a African-American teenager that he "didn't belong (in the neighborhood." Last time I checked, unless the community is a gated one, anyone has the right to freedom of movement on public sidewalks and roads, anywhere anytime. How sick and racist was that? I'm surprised they didn't tell him, "Show me your papers..."

Second, as other columnists have pointed out both in this and the Trayvon Martin case, the two neighborhood patrolmen crossed the line to vigilantism when they got out of their car to confront the young man. All they had to do and should have done was call 911 to ask for police assistance, even if as it turned out the young man was simply walking to meet his mother at a nearby bus stop.

I'm just disturbed by the continued breakdown of bonds within and between communities. Everyone seems to be in a rush to be able to use and justify the use of violence. It's like people are actually spoiling for a fight. I think we need to get these would be vigilantes off the streets. THEY are the real hoodlums, and I hope that the young man whom they assaulted finds justice.

Doomsday Budget Bunker

I've decided to go local on this 'toon. Secret Service ho' benders and GSA toga parties don't hold a candle to this...Baltimore City School System's Chief Information Technology Officer taking scarce resources from a cash-strapped school system and using it for his own office makeover. Here's the link to the article from earlier this week in the Baltimore Sun:,0,4904915.story

If I were still cartooning for the Sun I would have submitted this cartoon, which about says it all: self-serving, total disregard for the welfare of the children this dude, Jerome Oberlton, is supposed to serve. I'm surprised he didn't build a mini-bar into his new suite. Nothing like a few dry martinis to get the wheels a turning.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Stand Your Ground

I've always wondered when and how (not if) people of color in the United States, especially African-Americans and Hispanics, might one day say, "You know what. We've had it. We tried to play by the 'rules," but those rules have never been fair. To hell with it and to hell with you." There have been a few recent examples of such uprisings, in Los Angeles after the Rodney King trial, but our militarized state has been as adept at "keeping the peace" at home as it has waging pointless, unjust wars abroad.

For me, the Trayvon Martin case has brought home this issue, underscoring that we remain a nation that maintains separate and unequal systems of justice, depending on the color of one's skin. It was gratifying to see the million hoodie march but there needs to be a real transformation in these unjust systems and structures. When are all people of all races, ethnicities and classes going to put down their hot pocket, turn off the iPad-streaming video and say "Enough!"