Edward Ericson Jr.
(The journalist, not the Solzhenitsyn scholar).

I am a newspaper reporter with 25 years experience. I began my career at the Providence Journal-Bulletin and moved to alternative news weeklies, including the Fairfield County Advocate (now the Fairfield County Weekly), Hartford Advocate (lately all compiled here), Columbus Guardian (defunct, alas), Orlando Weekly and Baltimore City Paper, a 70,000-circulation cultural institution that in 2012 celebrated its 35th anniversary.

I write a lot.

I also like to play with old cars, boats, mountains, canyons, music and food.

I tweet here and I blog here and, well, here.

If you would like to collaborate please email me at edwardericsonjr \/AT/ \ gmail.com




1 thought on “About

  1. Various Shays of Gray
    In about October of 2014, I was driving down Monroe Street in West Baltimore. I stopped at the store on Monroe and Pressbury Streets to get a pack of cigarettes, unfortunately I still foolishly crave inhaling that gray death. It wasn’t until the lady behind the glass patrician was waiting on me that I realized that the last time I was associated with this store was back in 1968, almost fifty years before. At that time, I was standing across the street, a teenager, watching rioters destroy and loot this store. At that time it was a liquor store and what the rioters couldn’t carry they just destroyed. Even as a teenager I could comprehend and remember the hot summer air smelling like alcohol, anger, and ignorance. These acts of ignorance accomplished nothing but obtaining something without a monetary payment, the obtained items certainly weren’t free. Look at the aftermath prices our communities had to pay.
    As a direct result of those riot(s) the face of inner-city black neighborhoods, at the beginning of the 1970s, was economic collapse. The previous racial riots, in 1966 – 1968, provided evidence of the price of racial and social exclusion in U.S. cities. For years after the riots boarded-up commercial establishments and housing units remained as eyesores of once progressing communities. We destroyed the foundations of our communities with our misplaced anger and ignorance. We destroyed the businesses in our communities. We burned down our homes and left the resulting ghetto presence.
    This 2015 story need not be reiterated, in detail, but Gray was confronted by the police, he ran, he was subsequently arrested, transported away from the scene, hospitalized, and on April 19th he died as a result of injuries sustained during this incident. The cause of death was due to break(s) in his spine. I saw a news program that showed Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton arriving at Gray’s funeral. Jessie arrived in a gray pin-striped suit and Al was wearing his signature mixed gray and black jerry-curl. Their names are synonymous with civil rights movements. Their appearance provides these opportunist rioters with some misguided belief that they are now involved in a civil rights movement. Pastor Jamal Bryant performed the services at Gray’s funeral. All three (i.e., Jackson, Sharpton, and Bryant) have publicly uttered the phrase “This injustice must be addressed.” When did they confirm that an injustice had occurred? Their appearance creates more problems than they could ever correct.
    The civil rights movement or issues that were fought in the past were clear cut. Blacks had to give their seat to whites when riding public buses, segregation in schools, jobs, and public places, we could not vote, all of the civil rights issues were clear cut, undeniable violations of the United State Constitution. “We the People, citizens of this United States have equal rights just as any other man or woman of any color.” This Gray incident is not clear cut. There is a possibility that he injured himself. There is a possibility that the police did nothing improper during his arrest that contributed to his injuries. There is a possibility that the rioter’s reasoning for their actions is faulty. The only fact that we presently have is that the rioters destroying their own city has no just cause and is in fact an injustice.
    The week preceding the Gray incident, community members were on the news pleading with the powers to be to come into our communities and stop us from killing ourselves. Several blocks from where Gray was arrested, in the preceding week, several victims were shot and killed and the police had increased their patrol there to assist in the life-altering problem. The community so easily forgot that the police were there to help with their problems. Apparently, the community want this problem addressed mentally. “Stop the killing with your mind.”
    The resulting riots took its standard senseless course, the destruction of property and looting. One statistical count reflected that there were 144 vehicle fires and 15 structural fires set during the first couple days of this riot. Where did Jessie and Al go? They didn’t get their immediately desired results so they left, no more camera appearances.
    The rioters went to North and Pennsylvania Avenues, which would ultimately become known as the ‘ground zero of the riots’, and broke into the CVS store there. They took hair products, filled their own prescriptions at the pharmacy and then set the building on fire. They subsequently did everything in their power to hinder the fire fighters once they arrived. One guy even cut the firemen’s water hose. They went across the street from the CVS, on the northwest corner, to the check cashing store, broke in and apparently was searching for some form of income. Fortunately there is a gray area between what the rioters wanted and their educational needs, because the library on the southeast corner wasn’t damaged or looted, not one of the thousands of books were touched. Scenes like these were seen throughout the city, mostly at tennis shoe stores, telephone supply stores, and alcohol establishments. This observer is not trying to equate the rioters with monkeys, just using a monkey in the following analogy. Watching these riots reminds this observer of the story of the monkey who stuck his hand in the hole in the tree to retrieve the shiny object that he saw inside. The moral to that story was that the monkey was so ignorant that he could not get his hand, which was now a fist because he was gripping the shiny object, back out of the tree hole without releasing the shiny object. He ultimately died of starvation, but he didn’t release that object. Ignorance at its highest level.
    On April 27, 2015, at about 12:30 am., I wondered the streets of this dark, violence engulfed city and passed vehicles that were set on fire and would go unattended. There was not enough fire department manpower available to extinguish every blaze. Against the dark night backdrop gray smoke filled the air. At North and Fulton Avenues, in the middle of the intersection, which is normally one of the most busy intersections in this city, there were two unattended vehicles that had been set afire and been completely burned to a charred gray color. Numerous shadowy figures were standing on the four corners, appearing only as slow moving black silhouettes. I noticed the smell of ignorance, danger and destruction in the air as I expeditiously drove through the red light of the intersection that no other vehicles were moving through. This city was in a state of civil unrest, using the Gray incident as their reasoning.
    What if Gray somehow injured himself? The possibility exist. What if we disarm the police in this high crime, murder rising rate state? What if we do away with police? What if the governmental system of this state left citizens to police themselves? We’d probably be living under a system called ‘riots’.
    Sports figures, politicians, religious leaders, and a host of others are marching in various other peaceful protest. You can have any individuals or groups that you desire march in a protest and it will not change the facts. If they protest the fact that up is now down, that doesn’t change the fact that up is still up. Beside, most people march with their feet not their minds.
    Here is a ‘what if’, what if the protesters are wrong? The possibility exist. If they are, in whose hands are the injustices committed during this civil unrest that is clearly not a civil rights movement?
    And then came politics. . . On April 30, 2015, a day before promised, the police department released its investigative findings to the states attorney’s office. The next day the states attorney’s office released its findings and advised that the six officers associated with the arrest of Gray would be charged with false arrest, negligence, and murder or manslaughter charges. Her announcement came on the winds of “they have been criminally charges so let’s return to a peaceful city and discontinue the rioting.” A precedent has just been set that will destroy her office. She let the public know that if they yell loud enough or destroy enough they will get what they want and that if a police officer arrest someone and the charges are dismissed he or she is eligible to be criminally charges. This sends a message to police officers throughout the country and the message is let the public police themselves and watch the gray day’s a-coming.
    Side Note: News Flash: The news reports that almost half of the rioters arrested on Monday, the 27th of April 2015 have been released, from jail, without being charged. Question: The state’s attorney deemed Gray’s charges, with the knife to be no good, so the six officers were charged with false arrest and arrested. Does this same precedent apply to those who had just been released? Should those arresting officers be arrested because they arrested and did not charge? What would the difference be in ‘arrested and did not charge’ and ‘arrested and charges no good’? Should the police commissioner be arrested for conspiracy, since he directed them to make the arrest? The states attorney’s first major act, since her being voting into this office and she came out the gate wrong or politically motivated.
    Another Side Note: The news has been running clips of those in the community celebrating their victory because they caused the officers to be arrested. They are calling it “their victory by unity.” Am I the only one in this city with eyes? Because yawl burned down your community yo Mama now has to find another community to obtain her needed medication, you now have to solicit transportation to get to another community to purchase food. The commercial and educational aspects of your community are shut down. Men in military uniforms are standing on your community corners directing so-called men’s every moment and there has been at least two shootings yesterday. These shootings occurred a couple block from where Gray was arrested. Where in da f–k is yo victory!
    Last Side Note: I was watching the BBC News, which discusses world news. The commentator with her British accent, with pictures of Baltimore burning in the background, said, “Some are calling the rioters in Baltimore knuckleheads, others are calling them agitators, others say they are . . .” I was sitting in front of the television thinking since the word is obviously right on the tip of your tongue woman, say it, “acting like a bunch of mutha f–kin Niggers.” You can’t outlaw that word because there are too many of them out there, in every color. It’s just that in this particular case the ignorant acts are being committed under the colors of Gray.

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