But the American Revolution didn’t culminate in the colonists burning down Lexington and Concord. If anything, Baltimore resembles the ugliest phases of the French revolution. “The revolution is here!” Reuters quotes a demonstrator shouting at police officers. “I’m going to kill you! All of you — guilty!”
Parts of Baltimore have never recovered from the 1968 riots. Some of the businesses serving black residents of Baltimore that were ransacked and ruined in the latest upheaval will never reopen. Some of these buildings will likely remain boarded up for years.
Freddie Gray’s killing may well have been unjust and part of a broader pattern of law enforcement lawlessness in communities of color, just as Martin Luther King’s murder was surely unjust and part of Jim Crow’s last gasps. But the riots that followed the latter did nothing to improve those communities or lift their residents out of poverty. There is no reason to think the fire this time will be any different.