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Baltimore’s Riots & Rotting Apples

Posted: April 29, 2015 | Author: Fr. Leo

It just takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch.  That's what happened in what was supposed to be a peaceful protest against the alleged excessive force used by the Baltimore City Police that led to Freddie Gray's untimely death, sparking national attention for the violent protest and riots in the streets of "Charm City."  Being a native Baltimore Boy, I look at the alarming news reports with embarrassment and sadness knowing that a few bad (ok, rotten) apples are destroying the applecart, which I call my home city!



Escalating tensions motivated by racial divide, economic injustice, and lack of decency of a confused and angry generation should wake us up to the core of the problem:  broken families!

It's about time we start putting on the table a deeper discussion about why these kids are out on the street wreaking havoc, promoting violence and fomenting hatred - all during dinner time!  If those protesters had a greater sense of family responsibility, would they be out in the streets, or safely in their homes? Parents, where are you?  Parents, where are your children?



By now, you must have seen the viral video of the mom scolding (ok, smacking) her child for going out into the streets acting like a "Class A" Hoodlum. While I don't condone the method or the language the mom used, I respect and applaud her sincere and passionate effort as a serious response to a serious problem. Her teenage son, probably a good kid, put on a hoodie and covered his face with a mask to do damage and incite violence. He himself could have become another victim.  This mom's reaction shows that she did NOT raise her son to do that.  Her discipline will hopefully help her son to become a better disciple (student) at the family's domestic desk for learning - the dining room table.

The Baltimore riots should frighten us into realizing that the core problem is a lack of family integrity, discipline, and parental leadership.  We can't solely rely on the government or the police to deter the violent reactions of a protest.  We have to rely on the character and virtue of the individual - something that only parents and mentors can teach us.



Grace Before Meals and our non-profit "The Table Foundation" want to do something to curb the madness.  I personally want to partner with other food entrepreneurs and chefs to create an opportunity for neighborhoods to come together as a family, eat together, and learn from life's most important desk: the dinner table.  What would it take for experts on domestic issues to come together and share, not in a classroom, but around the table, the wisdom on how to strengthen family life, help manage the justified angers and emotions of a broken society, and help encourage virtue and compassion as the proper and only response to societal woes!

Help us, with your donation and ideas to create an opportunity to clean up the apple cart.  Life will always have a few bad apples.  But with enough resources, including the most important resource of family and strong mentors, we can convert bad apples into applesauce, apple pie, or best yet - they will see themselves as they really are: the apple of God's eye. 


Let us pray: 

Father in heaven.  First, we pray for the repose of the souls of the departed - Freddie Gray and especially the victims of the Nepal earthquake.  We pray for consolations of those who mourn. We pray that the people of Nepal can rebuild what nature has destroyed, and the people of Baltimore can rebuild what broken human nature has caused.  Give peace to our streets, beginning in our homes.  May The Table Foundation be blessed so that we can elevate culture and family life one meal at a time.  Amen.



(1) How do you discipline your children?

(2) How would you react if you found your child rioting in the streets?

(3) How do you help a "bad apple" become a better person?