Freddie Gray is dead, protests and riots are taking place in Baltimore, and everyone on the internet has an opinion — including Mike Rowe. Rowe, of Dirty Jobs and Somebody’s Gotta Do It fame, is considered something of a folk wisdom hero to many of his fans and followers. So as memes, rants, opinions, and falsehoods circulated on Tuesday, some reached out to Rowe for his thoughts.
Rowe shared a message from one fan who contacted him about the Baltimore uprising.
“We could use your perspective right now as a hometown hero, Mike. I have shared some pictures with a more positive perspective on my page, and hoping you can comment on this situation for the millions who [are] listening to you. I know you don’t get into politics, but Baltimore could use a little wisdom, Mike Rowe style.”
He didn’t disappoint. You can read his full thoughts here, but the snippet below carries the central idea.
“As for my own thoughts and feelings about the situation on the ground, I have plenty, and the friends of this page already know them. In short, I support the protests, and abhor the violence. Whatever the precise circumstances of Freddie Gray’s death, it was certainly unnecessary. So too, is the violence that followed his funeral.”
Rowe went on to say that he’d be flying home to Baltimore next week to find local people who are passionate, hard-working and law-abiding, and “introduce them to the country” — Rowe-speak for featuring them on his current show.
Rowe stayed engaged with his followers on the topic, responding to many comments to further explain his stance on the case (including clarifying that, while he maintains Freddie Gray’s death was unnecessary, he holds back from placing the blame on police until more information surfaces) and exercise his wit.
One name-caller, for instance, was angry to hear that Mike supported protests, and called him an “a**hol[sic].” Rowe responded, mocking the misspelling lightly, and addressing the larger issue behind the entire Freddie Gray case.
“Two things – First of all, I support the right to protest peacefully, and I think somethings gonna have to change between the cops and the Black community. Secondly, I may very well be an an ‘a**hol.’ Toward that end, allow me to say I’m almost certain there’s an “e” on the end.”
Mike also responded to a detractor who disagreed with his condemnation of looting and rioting. Rather than defend his position, he simply turned the question around for them to answer, and left that thread alone.
“What circumstance could possibly justify arson, looting, and vandalism?”
He closed with a series of positive images of people working together to clean up the city the morning after the protests, calling the participants “heroic.”
[Photo Credit: Veggies]