Protestors in Baltimore claim the riots in their town are being spurred by years of injustice, bias, and oppression on the part of the police. In Ferguson the same claims were made but with the added element of race. The Ferguson rioters claimed that a predominantly white police force and city hall had it in for the black citizens of their town. But because Baltimore has a black Mayor, a majority black city council, black police commissioner, a majority non-white police force, and a population that is almost 64 percent black the oppressive-white-police argument has been more difficult to make—not that race hustlers like Al Sharpton and Barack Obama have not tried. Consequently, the rioters in Baltimore are simply protesting against the police in general; protests that are not being received well by the American public because of the violent, destructive, criminal behavior of the protestors. Watch the nightly news and the only victims you will see in Baltimore are police officers.

It is not that the American public—including law-abiding citizens of Baltimore—question the claims of bias necessarily. Even those most offended by what they see happening in Baltimore (and now Philadelphia—but that is grist for another mill) want to give the justice system an opportunity to work before making judgments. Americans do not condone bias, oppression, or brutality on the part of the police any more than they condone rioting, looting, and arson on the part of protestors. But they do want to see them dealt with in the proper and legal manner. In addition, those Americans who are either heart-broken or angry at what they see happening in Baltimore will freely admit that there can be a few bad cops in the mix on any police force and that even good cops sometimes make bad mistakes. What many Americans—including law-abiding citizens of Baltimore—question is the behavior of the protestors. It is difficult for viewers to sympathize with protestors who claim police bias and oppression when the only people they see being hurt on the nightly news are police officers and when the only people showing a modicum of restraint on the streets of Baltimore are police officers.

Even the most ardent of the mainstream media’s promulgators of the police-bias narrative have found it difficult to condone the destructive behavior of the Baltimore protestors. Those who believe they are the victims of injustice, bias, and oppression naturally feel anger, frustration, and bitterness toward the perceived perpetrators, and they have a right to make their feelings known through peaceful protests. After all, this is America. But as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. proved during the most difficult years of the Civil Rights Movement in such places as Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery, injustice, bias, and oppression—if and when they exist—are best countered by taking the moral high ground. People who believe they are oppressed victims surrender the argument when they surrender the moral high ground and respond by engaging in behavior that is worse than that which they are protesting against.

If you want to know what Dr. King would have said to the rioter, looters, and arsons in Baltimore, consider this quote from the martyred Civil Rights leader: “Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.” It was this kind of sentiment from Dr. King that led me—a son of the South whose formative years coincided with the worst years of Jim Crow—to become a vocal advocate of civil rights beginning at the age of 12 and continuing on to the present. But the riots in Baltimore have little or nothing to do with civil rights, and Dr. King did not die so that angry inner-city blacks would feel justified in looting, robbing, and burning their own communities. One does nothing to advance the cause of civil rights by burning down the homes of your fellow citizens and looting the businesses they depend on for life’s necessities. Frankly, the protestors in Baltimore are not worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as those who marched with Dr. King in Selma, who were attacked by snarling police dogs in Birmingham, or who were humiliated and beaten for staging sit-ins in segregated restaurants.

The moral low ground never leads to justice—it leads to anarchy. Al Sharpton shows up in Baltimore and does his usual opportunistic, self-serving dance in front of the television cameras and Barack Obama calls for “police restraint” while the only people in Baltimore who are restraining themselves are the police. Since the death of Dr. King, the black community has failed to produce another leader who could have the kind of positive impact he had in the most negative of situations. Instead, he has been replaced by opportunistic race hustlers such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson whose only interest is self-interest. This is one of the reasons we are seeing the violence, arson, and looting in Baltimore.

Here is what Monica Crowley had to say about the lack of leadership in the black community in general and Baltimore specifically in a column for The Washington Times (April 29, 2015): “When there is a lack of strong leadership, sinister characters fill the void. Thugs pour into the streets; few are there out of a deep rage about their collective treatment by the police but rather because looting and torching businesses are fun ways to pass the time. Particularly when they know the television cameras are trained on them. The professional race hustlers then alight on the scene to profiteer and further inflame. The race industry claims to be the black community’s savior, when all it does is keep itself fat and rich.”

If what we have seen and are still seeing in Baltimore were about justice as Al Sharpton and other opportunists who have converged on the beleaguered city maintain, they would at least have waited until the justice system had time to do its job. But for Sharpton and his ilk along with the more destructive of the protestors, the events in Baltimore are not and never were about justice. By squandering the moral high ground that Dr. King died attaining for black Americans, Sharpton and the rioting, looting protestors in Baltimore have set racial accord and the justice that would accompany it back 100 years.