It's clear that we're just going to keep going through this awful cycle -- an appalling and clearly unjustified black man's death at the hands of cops, followed by publicity and outrage, then a local response in which the rage boils over, blood flows and property gets destroyed. Nobody wins, nothing improves, repeat ad infinitum. Baltimore now; who knows where next.
But to bring this back to the sort of thing I usually write about: Sooner or later, this is going to influence national politics -- and not for the better. Sooner or later, right-wing politicians are going to rediscover the language of "law and order" that elected Richard Nixon twice and that gave us racially divisive politicians, of both parties, such as Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani in my city and Frank Rizzo in Philadelphia. And the new round of "get-tough" pols might be worse than the ones from my younger days -- many of those guys, at least, had some lingering fondness for the New Deal or the Kennedys. The new crop will probably combine "get-tough" attitudes and Koch economics. It's not going to be pleasant.
In fact, I think it's likely that somebody in the 2016 Republican presidential field is going to rediscover the old "law and order" language. It was always politically effective -- but then crime declined dramatically in he last twenty years. It can come back with a vengeance, though, if white Americans regularly turns on the news and sees shop windows smashed and cop cars burning.
I actually think the cycle of police brutality and community rage could be much more of a threat to the Democrats' chances of holding the White House than any email server or huge check written to the Clinton Foundation. If inner cities are burning, Republicans aren't going to pass up the opportunity to stoke fear and thus build tribal solidarity.
I understand if you're so outraged at what happened to Freddie Gray (and Tamir Rice and Eric Garner and all the rest) that you think what I'm missing the point. All I can say is: Yes, I get the point. Outrageous things are happening to black people at the hands of cops. But violence in response to brutality is, among other things, going to make Republicans' jobs much easier in 2016. I was born in 1959. We oldsters spent a lot of years watching white politicians exploit black anger. It can happen again, and it probably will.