Demonstrators jump on a damaged Baltimore police department vehicle during clashes in BaltimoreWhen the kids were little I remember Mrs Longenecker telling me that she was in the family van with a friend and their infant was in the back seat screaming his head off.

The mom countered by opening a lollipop and giving it to junior.

Mrs Longenecker observed in her usual down to earth way, “Why did you do that? That was not smart. You just rewarded him for screaming. If you give him candy when he screams he’ll scream the next time in order to get candy.”

I thought of this incident with the recent outbreak of urban violence.

To be honest, working where I do in the poorest part of our town and with a very large, underclass who are mostly African American, I have a lot of sympathy for the young black males.

Working in prison in South Carolina gives me eve more sympathy.

I’m a well educated, well off white man and I realize I know very little of their life. However, what I do know of it is that they are often oppressed. I don’t blame them for being angry. I think I understand at least a little bit about their rage and frustration and why they have gone off into a rampage..

However, to let them go and to continue looting is like giving the screaming kid the lollipop.

Although it seems like a nice thing to do, it doesn’t actually do them any good.

Screaming kids should not be rewarded. Urban thugs should not be rewarded and never appease Nazis.

We should, by all means, do everything we can to address the underlying problems of racial hatred and endemic poverty.

We should do everything possible to provide opportunity, education, assistance and long term recovery plans for blighted urban populations.

But when the screaming starts we should not give them lollipops.

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