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Baltimore's burning on Monday evening should never have happened. But it did given the lack of leadership displayed by both Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. Events actually got hot Saturday evening and extended into Sunday afternoon where 40,000 baseball fans were locked down and prevented from leaving Orioles Park at Camden Yards for a period of time after the Baltimore Orioles game ("Heavy National Guard presence in Central Baltimore," April 28).

The National Guard should have been activated on April 25 to enforce an already-in-place dusk-to-dawn curfew. Instead, Baltimore officials will implement this curfew on April 29. This stupidity is astounding.

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To cap things off, the mayor made such a ridiculous statement to the effect that room could be made to allow for some property damage which these protesters or rioters might cause as a means of exercising their freedom of speech rights. This statement lends itself to an incitement to riot.

These riotous acts of Monday are not First Amendment rights being exercised over a redress of grievances against the government but the actions of pillaging looters (not protesters as the media continues to characterize them) breaking a myriad of property and personal injury related laws, giving rise to abject anarchy as well as breaking the social contract between the people and government.

There will be future Freddie Gray and Michael Brown incidents providing the catalyst and excuse for future acts of violent civil disobedience. Social media and exhaustive cable news coverage will exacerbate the consequences of these future riotous events. So get ready, America, because it is going to be a long hot summer and to resurrect a 1960\s riot-related phrase — "Burn, Baby, burn!"

Earl Beal, Terre Haute, Ind.

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