Axes & AlliesThere’s a lot of calculated outrage in the news media and blogosphere over the recent rioting in Baltimore, MD. Unsightly labels like “race riot”are being tossed around by snarling pundits, in hopes they might find a target and stick to it.

What really happened:

4,000 people staged a peaceful protest event over a racially-charged topic, in response to an outrage that deeply affected their community (and is currently a national topic of discussion and object of reform).

Approximately 100-or-so criminal opportunists from that community ALSO showed up and—as is typical of such criminal opportunists— used the event as an excuse to loot some businesses, attack some cops, and burn some cars and buildings at a few locations around the fringes of the event.

The media showed up and spent 95% of their coverage filming and reporting on the 100 criminal opportunists, and shooting/posing/devising dramatic footage of the terrible tragedy in a mad scramble for ratings.

The entire event was branded “a horrible race riot” by the facile and insipid media. The peaceful protest was forgotten. Almost no one shot film of the inhabitants of the involved neighborhoods helping the stricken business owners clean up their shops, or sweeping up glass afterward. Few videos were shot of the REST of the community being decent people. A few locals gave speeches and asked the media to please focus on the OTHER stuff going on, but ratings beckoned. News outlets don’t technically want “truth” or “fair and balanced;” they are much more concerned with “more viewers” and “more commercial ad money.”

Over the next few nights, the same 100-or-so criminal opportunists (with reinforcements from adjoining states of NEW opportunist criminals, attracted by the media coverage) showed back up and started the same crap all over again. And so on.

How do I know this?

Because IT ALWAYS HAPPENS THIS WAY. Whether it’s a downtown Superbowl celebration or the funeral parade of a civil rights leader or a demonstration over an unpopular jury verdict, whether it’s an anti-war demonstration or an Occupy Wall Street rally, or just a great big tailgate party or kegger, the same old criminal opportunists always show up and start wrecking things. Hiding in the crowd. Taking cheap shots when no one’s looking. Throwing stuff at the back of people’s heads. Setting stuff on fire and stealing stuff.

These assholes hide among us. They emerge whenever crowds gather and use the opportunity as an excuse to be selfish, thieving jackals, relying on the mob mentality to hide and protect them.

Whenever you gather a large group of angry or excited people together, there is always the distinct risk that some portion of that group will become a mob.

Mobs do stupid, senseless things that most individuals would never dream of doing.

Once a crowd transforms into a mob and gives rise to a herd consciousness, it will attract opportunists who seek to hide within the chaos and utilize the resulting lack of individual responsibility to take advantage of the situation.

This is not an issue of race or civilization— it is a simple fact of human biology. When gathered so, we risk devolving into a “crowd state” where we function as a docile herd, with miscreants and wrongdoers hiding among us intent on doing harm from within the pack.

It happens for any number of reasons, and always has in every human society in history.

So… nothing happened in Baltimore last week that doesn’t regularly happen whenever and wherever big crowds of angry or excited people gather.

Get over it. Seriously. Let the city take care of its people, protect the bystanders, and arrest as many of the bastards as they can, as usual.

It might help put things in perspective if the news crews dutifully shooting footage of looters and burning buildings would turn their lenses around and get some coverage of the other side of the street, where everything is quiet and nothing’s going on. But why would they do that? Nobody wins a Pulitzer by filming the people who DON’T set things on fire, now do they?

Plus, there’s a whole wide nation full of people at home, all eager to voraciously devour a constant “news” feed of mostly-fabricated evidence that supports their secret closet bigoted fears that the monsters are coming to get them. And there’s big money to be made fueling those fears and selling the consumer masses what they want to hear.

The instruments may be different, but trust me: it’s always the same old song.