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Freddie Gray's Black Life Just Did Not Matter Enough

Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Perhaps, if you're inclined to do so, you could argue that it's Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby's fault that none of the officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray will face jail time. You could say that Mosby was recklessly ambitious in "over-charging" the officers; an act that virtually ensured none would stick. And even that dropping the remaining charges on the officers who've yet to face trial — which happened earlier this morning — was her acquiescing to defeat. You'd be wrong, of course, but you'd have people who consider themselves to be reasonable people entertain — and perhaps even agree with — one of these arguments. (Or both.) And you could continue feeling good about yourself, or something, for being so sober.

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The truth, however, is that the reason none of the officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray will face jail time is the same reason Freddie Gray is dead. His life just didn't matter enough. His life just didn't matter enough to bother keeping him alive. To bother not severing his spine, crushing his windbox, and rendering him comatose. And his life just didn't matter enough to bother allowing the people directly responsible for his death to face any lasting legal consequence. Marilyn Mosby did everything within her power to prevent this from happening. But she was fighting against a force far greater than her. When you stand in front of a 12-ton garbage truck with brake failure speeding downhill — as valiant and courageous as your effort might be — you will (probably) get run over. Because that's what's supposed to happen.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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DISCUSSION

One thing I do know and that is we need to help Marilyn Mosby. I'm going to contribute money to her re-election campaign. When cops murder us racist Whites give them money. Well we need to give money to those that stand up for us.