It's the new fad; opportunistic antagonists nationwide are using the events in Baltimore to fuel their radical agendas by insisting the same thing could happen in (fill in name of city here). Greensboro is no different as article after article, story after story in our local media opines daily that the forces are in place to have a "Baltimore" in our city. Even the article in the newspaper this past weekend denoting the dedication of the fraudulent historical marker depicting a "massacre" that did not occur included statements by those attending that the gunfight of 1979 could somehow be related to Baltimore. With so many people saying it and the paper continuously referring to the possibility it must be true, correct? Are we one incident away from chaos?
Of course the immediate disclaimer is that no matter what the social climate in any city or urban area is, we are all one incident away from civil unrest. Let's compare the two cities. In Baltimore, the Mayor is the top of the bureaucracy with decision making authority over all city officials. She applied her political philosophy and agenda when ordering the police to stand down during the riot and the results were disastrous. She performed so miserably when attempting to explain her decisions that none other than Al Sharpton had to be dispatched to Baltimore to rescue her.
The District Attorney has sounded much more like an activist or politician running for future office than she has a prosecutor. With each passing day she makes more and more statements in the public that not only is detrimental to any case she might have but will more than likely get the case venue changed. She has been her own worst enemy and certainly is not on the side of law and order.
The Police Commissioner is a retread that was run out of Oakland, California when a federal judge ordered his department to be taken over by a court appointed mediator due to non-compliance with the judge's order to reconcile over 1,000 complaints generated in the Occupy Oakland movement. His department had paid over $58 million in lawsuit damages from allegations of police abuse since 2003. Yet, with this record of "achievement" the City of Baltimore hired him to be their Commissioner. He is currently threatening his officers with termination if a perceived work slowdown is not stopped though he cannot possibly prove any individual officer guilty as long as the officer is answering his calls. His officers have no trust or respect for this man as he was quick to throw them under the bus and align himself politically with the Mayor and District Attorney. He has mostly been silent and has demonstrated a leadership quality on par with the Mayor. The Baltimore City Council has been quick to criticize the police and not to criticize the rioters and looters. The police trust no one in that government and have no respect for them either. What a mess.
In comparison, the Guilford County District Attorney has never held a press conference to my knowledge advising looters and rioters that he has "heard" them and depicted any case as being "our time". His office prosecutes cases fairly and efficiently and though he is elected, he has never delivered a political speech in public applying his political leanings to his actual "job". My opinion is that our Police Chief while fair to the public, will back his officers when they are in the right and certainly never fail the citizens of Greensboro by ordering his officers to "stand down" and allow criminals to destroy property and businesses. He also has practical police experiences on many levels of police work and does not carry the negative baggage of a past dysfunctional job performance. I feel confident that Greensboro and Baltimore are on opposite ends of the spectrum in these regards; in fact polar opposites.
So does this mean that all is well in Greensboro; not quite. There are some troubling "signs" that if any of the aforementioned positions were to be weakened, Greensboro could have the elements in position for chaos. Our City Manager has already displayed a weakness when dealing with opportunistic antagonists when he cowherd in the face of a bully and took two days pay from a police officer who made a lawful arrest, did not use excessive force and even cut the suspect a break on a felony drug charge. He even had the gall to apologize to these two lawbreakers. He also was a "heartbeat" away from caving in to political forces and hiring an inexperienced candidate to fill the Greensboro Chief of Police position from Oakland, California! Where do you think this guy will be in the event of a major uprising; backing his officers or driving a bus over top of them? He needs to go.
We have a City Council that voted 7-2 to allow a historical marker to be erected depicting an event that did not happen when they had in their possession the truth! They instead chose to take the cowardly way out and approve the glorification of a gunfight between two groups of lawbreakers, allowing the name of the city to be described in a negative light and in a false narrative. I would wager that those 7 would be on the bus too.
Greensboro residents need to be a bit more "vigil" in the next few months so that we can prevent the possibility of sinking to Baltimore's level. We all know the News and Record's agenda and have seen their recent, constant bashing of police officers including the reprehensible smearing of a well respected police Captain IN HIS OBITUARY! They will endorse the same old candidates that they believe fall under their political philosophy and they should not be trusted to be objective.
This fall we elect new city officials. Whether it's 11 or 7 or however many the state legislature decides we should have, the citizens of Greensboro need to educate themselves on who is running. I know and like several of the 7 who decided to appease those who would attempt rewrite history to their advantage. When it comes to the business of the city and the protecting of the citizens of Greensboro there should not be any "friends". We need strong leadership that will not cave in to politics, radicals and especially opportunistic antagonists. We need fearless representatives that will not back down when threatened to be called a "name" and do what is responsible. We need elected officials that are not concerned about being "re-elected" and be willing to sacrifice his or her political career for the good of those they represent. Pay attention the next few months to council itineraries and votes; educate yourself on who votes for what and how their vote applies to their district and the city. Decide for yourself which councilmen are active, passive or just along for the ride. Decipher who is arguing for or against an issue based on facts as opposed to agenda or political leanings. Get the list of candidates early and talk with your neighbors, your fellow church members and your co-workers. Help each other identify the candidates that possess the values and credentials you want in your representatives. Eliminate the apathy in local elections that has gripped this city for years.
Stand up Greensboro and take back your city. If you don't want to be like Baltimore then do not become a self-fulfilling prophecy and eliminate the similiarities; vote them out.