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Gray's death was the spark

What burns me to my core is when people who were not in the city for the chaos on Monday, the clean up on Tuesday, or the amazingly peaceful counter demonstrations on Wednesday, feel the need to comment on the tension in our city. This is our city and we lived this together. I would suggest people listen before they talk.

If they did they would realize that Freddie Gray's death was the spark, not the cause. The Baltimore riots were the result of glaring and sustained inequality, and in no land does overwhelming inequality lead to anything less than revolution. (Or at least attempted revolution.) Americans, en masse, need to realize that we are no longer the shining city on the hill. We have deep systemic problems. In fact, we are just on one hill in a global arena of rising hills, and we'd be well advised to take heed: we are human and therefore we are not immune. One way or another change will come.

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There is plenty of blame to go around from the protesters who trashed Camden Yards to the drunk O's fans who egged them on, the kids who clashed with cops at Mondawmin to the city who ensured they would be stranded there after school, to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for exercising restraint, to elements who took willful advantage of the situation. In some ways we are to blame, the system is to blame. However, at the end of the day, does it really matter?

I know it's hard because we love it so much, but let's move past the blame game and look to find sustainable solutions that address the underlying issues of inequality, access, education and poverty before it destroys my city and the country I love.

Patrick Sims, Baltimore

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