In 1968 Baltimore, six people died, 700 were injured, and 5,800 were arrested. 1000 small businesses were damaged or robbed. Something else happened in Baltimore this week. A pharmacy was burned, a couple of cars. Some cops went to the hospital and some other folks went to jail.
And then: Bloods and Crips joined hands to help keep the peace. Citizens held hands in a line to protect the police. And a murder indictment was handed down on six officers who may have had a hand in the killing of one young black man.
In 1968, I took a bus out to the West Side of Chicago the day after the riots. I took pictures of smoking ruins. I took them with a camera held down by my side, surreptitiously because I was too cowardly to put it up to my eye and shoot. A skinny young white chick out there capturing the ruination of a black neighborhood for reasons. Not a reporter. Just curiosity. And some driving need to understand something. I don't know where those pictures are today.
I remember all the people, black and white, who kept mouthing the words, "Violence doesn't solve anything." And yet I noticed that, in the months and years to come, the West Side got some much-needed attention, some small part of it good. And I thought, violence doesn't solve anything, but sometimes it gets something done.