Imagine, for a second, that Maryland governor Larry Hogan called for a state of emergency when Freddie Gray’s spine was broken and his voice box was smashed he arrested for no reason.
Imagine that such violence toward a black life was so out of the ordinary, so horrifying, so damning, such a sign that swift and meaningful change was necessary, that it was enough to make an elected leader say, “This has crossed the line. The police state is out of control. We need to suspend our normal operations and get some help from the National Guard. We need some outside resources to help quell these people, these actors of the state who are disturbing the peace.” Imagine that, in the absence of years of racial oppression, Baltimore ever knew peace in the first place.
Imagine that Freddie Gray was never arrested at all, that he wasn’t criminalized for looking at an officer the wrong way, for running from an institution that inflicts violence on black people every day.
Imagine that Freddie Gray never had to live in a city that is struggling to breathe under layers and layers of structural violence.
Imagine with me.