In Defense of the Protestors: John Angelos Offers Sobering Perspective on Baltimore Riots


After protests in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray turned violent over the weekend, Baltimore sports-radio broadcaster Brett Hollander took to Twitter to argue that demonstrations that negatively impact the daily lives of fellow citizens are counter-productive.

Baltimore Orioles Chief Operating Officer John Angelos, son of owner Peter Angelos, seized the opportunity to respond with an eloquent defense of those protesting and a sobering reminder of the American reality in major urban centers.

You can read the whole thing in Angelos’ Twitter replies, but it’s transcribed here for clarity. It’s all here because it’s all so good. Read the whole thing:

Brett, speaking only for myself, I agree with your point that the principle of peaceful, non-violent protest and the observance of the rule of law is of utmost importance in any society. MLK, Gandhi, Mandela and all great opposition leaders throughout history have always preached this precept. Further, it is critical that in any democracy, investigation must be completed and due process must be honored before any government or police members are judged responsible.

That said, my greater source of personal concern, outrage and sympathy beyond this particular case is focused neither upon one night’s property damage nor upon the acts, but is focused rather upon the past four-decade period during which an American political elite have shipped middle class and working class jobs away from Baltimore and cities and towns around the U.S. to third-world dictatorships like China and others, plunged tens of millions of good, hard-working Americans into economic devastation, and then followed that action around the nation by diminishing every American’s civil rights protections in order to control an unfairly impoverished population living under an ever-declining standard of living and suffering at the butt end of an ever-more militarized and aggressive surveillance state.

The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, and ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importances of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards. We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the U.S., and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ballgame irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans.



  1. Michael Koullias on

    If anyone should know of the insidious nature of economic racism, it is us Greeks who should stand up for all the powerless and hopeless.

    It is not within me to be proud of anything, especially that for which I am not responsible of. Been born in Greece does not give me any special insight to the human condition, and neither does it make me an authority on what is right and wrong. It just colorizes my world view from the perspective of a people who have repeatedly been oppressed, AND oppressed others who were deemed…”less” than us – the original designation of “barbarians”. So, the accident of my birth only gives me the responsibility to be just intelligent enough to see and appreciate the underlying reasons, and the true nature and real perpetrators of the violence afflicted. And so far, it is not the rioters who are guilty of such.

    It is time for the rich to wake up to the fact that it is the poor who made them wealthy, and it is the wealth of an existing middle class that keeps them rich. No, been Greek did not give me that insight. What it does is, it makes me realize the futility of the expectation that human nature will change so. If I learned anything from the stories of my childhood is that, power is an illusion, the Gods are fickle, evil is banal, and true heroes are prosaic. What is going on in Baltimore is simply a distraction, diverting us from the fact that there is a class war been waged since the beginning of time when one had more than the other. Since then the Haves convinced all of us that it is of the Havenots’ skin color, or sex, or ethnicity, or religion, or sexual preference, that the rest of us cannot join them at being Haves. And they militarized themselves enough, that the only battering ram we have left against the wall of economic intolerance, is aggression against each other.

    The barbarians are at the gate…on the inside of the gate. They are the ones who hold the castle.

    • Eloquent and thought-provoking commentary Michael.
      To what end this oppression? That’s the question that unsettles me the most.

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