Fragile Baltimore Struggles to Heal After Deadly Police Encounter

Six months since the death of Freddie Gray after a police encounter, the city is on edge as it seeks new leadership and the trials of six police officers approach.

Comments: 234

  1. Healing? Baltimore has been sick for decades. Drug dealers and gangs of thugs are happy to kill each other over anything ranging from Tennis Shoes to disputes over dice games. Black lives matter? Given any chance the city will descent into chaos with a " shopping spree" of looters - kids of welfare queens. So lets pretend everything is OK - but visit the morgue or walk through the welfare projects at night to get a feel for Baltimore and its inherent pathology.

  2. No one can blame a person if he starts out in life poor, because how one starts out is not his fault. If he stays poor, he is to blame because it is his fault. Avoiding long-term poverty is not rocket science. First, graduate from high school. Second, get married before you have children, and stay married. Third, work at any kind of job, even one that starts out paying the minimum wage. And finally, avoid engaging in criminal behavior!

  3. After 10 years in this god forsaken city, I will be leaving Baltimore next year never to return again. I have never lived in a more callous and indifferent city. Our murder rate is higher than even some war zones. I cannot walk alone at night in certain neighborhoods and have stopped cycling to work altogether for fear of getting shot. Meanwhile, the cops are more interested in carrying out prostitution stings and arresting homeless for sleeping in the park. This is a dead city. It will never recover.

  4. Amen to getting out of Baltimore. I was born and educated in Baltimore City and have tried repeatedly, for years, to find peace and happiness (forget success) here only to trudge through.

    The whole urban revival....up from the ashes yap.........nonsense, it's some developer/real estate financiers cruel sales pitch.

    I have lived in many cities and could go on and on with comparisons.

    Avoid this town.

  5. I rarely travel up North any more due to the lack of close family. I've lived in the South since I was 13 and have been in Florida and North Carolina fr almost 51 years. I did have the occasion to do so last year. The wife and forced off the interstate because of an accident and were detoured through Baltimore.
    We saw two girls rolling around in the middle of the street in a fight with a large crowd cheering them on. We saw lots of folks just hanging around at the small stores drinking beer despite it being between 9AM and 5PM. (Do all these people work the night shift?) So many people with nothing to do but hang out. And so many vacant boarded up houses and vacant storefronts. It's not as if we don't have this in Charlotte, we do but not in the numbers that we saw in Baltimore.
    My wife and I mused that this must be what a city in collapse or close to it looks like. It's not the first time we've seen this. We lived in her home state of New Jersey for a while and traveled regularly through Camden to get to Philadelphia both of which looked like Baltimore. We've seen Newark too.
    Is this what the future holds for Northern cities? Is this the product of 5 or 6 decades of Democrat Party rule? It seems to be.

  6. Scenes like those two girls brawling with people cheering could be a daily event. I recall former Mayor Giuliani responding to a vide of people beating a man in the street. One was using a shovel. It was horrible to watch. When the cops arrived they all dashed off.

    Guiliani said this was not uncommon. There's an entire culture of people who brutalize each other. Americans would be shocked if they really knew how bad it gets.

  7. Why isn't the "We Can't Stand Another Homicide" rally not being followed up with a police and community-based effort to get rid of the guns which make these homicides so easy? What about gun buy backs, forging truces between gangs? The glaring problem of gun violence isn't going to be changed by corporate actions or philanthropic gestures. It's going to be changed in the community.

  8. Good luck with your 'feel good" program. It hasn't worked anywhere else, why would it work in Baltimore?

  9. Baltimore is an urban guerrilla war zone in which the protagonists become increasingly brutalized by their daily encounters and the bystanders pay the price.

    This war zone will not change in any way, shape or form until the violent young men who prey upon their neighbors are taken off the streets. The police, like the infantry in a war zone, are charged with this responsibility and they must use extraordinary measures to control this violence. Some will make mistakes and a small minority are merely bullies in a uniform; those who abuse their charge must be held accountable. But make no mistake, the police by and large are the good guys and the thugs are the bad guys. Arm chair critics need to understand the reality of the streets.

    It would be a waste of time, resources and lives to believe that these young violent thugs will ever live peaceful, productive lives given their starting point. The only possible hope for places like Baltimore is the next generation.

    The only possible hope for the next generation is a stable family life, characterized by working parents willing to defer their own gratification for the education & future of their children.

    Don't expect a grand plan that will address all the historical evils of bias to fix the problem. It will only be fixed when people realize that in extraordinary times, extraordinary actions must be taken. That is a risk to every civilized people, but it would be hard to characterize Baltimore as a civilized world.

  10. I have read Coates's latest piece. In one of its major sections, he describes a man getting into a cab and then shooter its driver. Coates then spends paragraph after paragraph turning the shooter into a victim of oppression.

    But the driver shot? A blank, nameless space. This vignette encapsulates the tone of the entire piece....

  11. You are talking about remaking Baltimore as a "civilized world" (I shudder to think what your idea of "civilized" is,) but how civilized can a place be when you sanction militarized police tactics? In those kinds of environment, you don't have real police. You just have another type of thugs - ones that wear badges.

    It is a fantasy that by substituting jackboot tactics for real policing, that you will produce a nicer environment. As a former police officer once told me, the problem with police departments these days is it's all about kicking down doors, when the best tool a police officer has is to just to talk to people. An officer gets all kinds of useful information with which to solve and prevent crime. But that won't happen when you have police operating like stormtroopers.

  12. Baltimore is going to be the next Detroit. Notice any similarities?
    We visited Baltimore 5 years ago by the wharf. When parking in the parking lot the lady who writes tickets said don't leave valuables in your car. I have been in a lot of parking lots across America and nobody ever said that with such conviction. We are not going back and spending our tourist dollars there.

  13. What is missing from this story is an acknowledgement of who is causing the problems. Blaming the police is just a dodge. Why is it so hard to name the problem?

    What we resist persists.

  14. Things. Have. Gotten. Worse. On. Obama's. Watch.

    How do you miss the forest for the trees here?

  15. Not to worry, Mr. DC Sir. President Obama will leave office soon, and all of America's problems will vanish with the blink of an eye. I promise you that. Everyone will wake up on the day after inauguration, suddenly rich, fed, clothed, happy and healthy. Cities will soar. Taxes will be massively reduced for everyone and all corporations. Many government jobs will be cut (starting with yours and mine), making way for a meaner, leaner, more effective government.

    Homelessness, hopelessness and despair will be disappear for good. Along with you, I am counting down the days.


  16. O please do name the problem, and try not to make it sound racist if you can.

  17. “We are hoping for a better Baltimore, but it starts with leadership."

    No, it starts with the citizens.

  18. I was born in 1964, raised in Newark, NJ and arrived in Bmore 15 years ago with a husband, and two boys in tow (ages 8 and son is now a student at UB) I immediately set out to work in the 3rd sector, first, Baltimore Reads, then Big Brothers Big Sisters, next supporting mission work of the Baltimore Presbytery, followed by 5 1/2 years at Hopkins (and all along the way joining boards and volunteering throughout the city, more than 10 over the years) I left shortly to take a position in DC, and now I'm back in the city I love working at MICA . It was from a MICA window (during the one night of unrest) that I watched Dr. Hickman's senior center burn. I once playfully boasted to friends that one of my 109 followers on Twitter was then Mayor Corey Booker, who, after my musing of missing Nwk style Italian hotdogs replied, "come back to Newark." My response then, "I'm needed in Baltimore, the vineyard is full, but the workers are few." That was before Mr. Gray, and now? I've learned something, the vineyard remains full, and the workers plentiful...thank you all who are supporting Baltimore.

  19. I participated in the Baltimore Running Festival this weekend, and the 1/2 marathon route took me through many neighborhoods. There is a lot to love about Baltimore--I hope more people like you are committed to doing what is needed.

  20. This whole sequence of events was entirely predictable. Civil rights leaders do not make good administrators. When elected politicians see the police as the enemy, there is going to be breakdown in policing. People have to make choices between rights of career criminals and safe streets. Police work is not the same as teaching Sunday school. Certain amount of brutality should be expected and tolerated in policing, this is the bottom line.

  21. As someone who grew up in the Detroit suburbs, I watched from the sidelines as the city became increasingly cut off and trapped in a downward spiral of crime, violence, corruption and decay. It would be a shame if Baltimore suffered the same fate.

    If real community intervention had happened after the Detroit riots, who knows how things might have been different. I am hoping that Baltimore can see the value of working to keep an economic base in the city at the same time as they work to heal the root causes of all of the escalating violence.

    I am hoping that history does not repeat itself and Baltimore finds its way before it is too late.

  22. Riots are the intervention, suffer the consequences of being lead by incompetent America haters. If you like your forest, you can keep your forest. Otherwise, if you burn it down be then be prepared to be twice as patient while the black charred places recover. At first it's all chaparral, rattlesnakes and drought resistant rats.

  23. Baltimore was a steel town. Ship yards closed, Ford closed, Bethlehem steel closed. GM closed. All the industries that were associated with them closed.
    No jobs for men with strong backs and limited education, if you call what Baltimore City schools deliver an education at all.
    It usually leads the nation in murders. lead poisoning and cancer clusters.
    You have Potemkin village areas like the Inner Harbor and Fells Point.
    In west Baltimore there are entire blocks you could tear down, the houses having been robbed of any salable scrap.
    We did service work for management companies in Baltimore. If it was a big job you had to have someone watching the trucks all day. It wasn't that profitable, and you felt you were prey.

  24. How many of the thugs who burned it down were prosecuted? Why should the American tax payer contribute funds to rebuild it? Baltimore has become dysfunctional.

  25. Just remember that cities like Baltimore (and Chicago for that matter) have been under liberal democrat control for decades. This is from the mayor's office on down, including the police chief and city council. The chaos, poverty, high murder rate, and complete disenchantment with the system is what we have after decades of progressive policies.

  26. @Andrew, as a working class person and member of a family of FDR Democrats, I am so disappointed with these supposed "Progressive" Democrats.

    What I see lacking is any kind of populist element to this Progressive Democrat identity - and therefore, it lacks any meaningful connection to people's socio economic status for the most part.

    These Progressives embrace amnesty for illegal immigrants, for example, while refusing to even consider how this position places stress on our most vulnerable citizens and communities - many of them minorities themselves.

    I am certainly not absolving Republicans of anything - both parties are increasingly corporatist in nature - but the Progressive Democrats seem to view the entire global village as their constituency, instead of the U.S. citizens who elected them. Where are the specific, local policies - like well paying jobs, that provide meaningful employment to our poor and working class populations?

  27. Andrew. the problem of black poverty and violence occurs all over the country, including municipalities governed by Republicans. Your argument is false.

  28. A hundred years ago? Jeez, I guess you're right Micheal, I should get with the times. Things that happen a long time ago hardly ever impact future generations. So the question is why are certain neighborhoods, in certain cities almost 100% black and very poor according to the census and other demographic data. I guess it must just be a coincidence unrelated to this countries past housing policies on the federal, state, and city level. Or blockbusting for that matter....totally unrelated.

  29. Three words:

    The. Obama. Legacy.

    Baltimore as the crow flies is about 38 miles from the White House.
    Number of times Barack Obama has appeared in the Black communities in Baltimore (or here in Washington DC) that are suffering the most during his presidency?


    And its not about a handout, or more entitlement money (which is part of the problem). It is about leadership. It is about someone who masqueraded around as MLK's dream to become President and has neglected the Black communities suffering the most on his watch.

    Yesterday Barack Obama invited a 14 yr old Muslim-American kid (who got himself detained by police in Texas for deciding on his own to bring a device that looked like a bomb to school) to the White House, while the Black community in Baltimore, less than 40 miles away continues to churn with unrest.

    That's Barack Obama. Period.

  30. Clearly not responsible for the evils 300 years in the making trudds. DC-B didn't say or even infer that. But with the President's popularity and prestige in the black community you'd think he do a whole lot more to help the problem. He's done very little and when he's acted he's just fanned the flames. His behavior is mind boggling.

  31. Yeah, right. It's all Obama's fault. Hundreds of years of societal dysfunction, and you blame one person? Even if he is the President, there is no magic wand to wave here. Sounds like all you know how to do is complain.

  32. How many times did George W Bush visit Baltimore City in eight years? Bush I? Reagan? Any guesses anyone? Baltimore City's problems are WAY older than the current President. I lived in Baltimore City during the Reagan years. I don't remember him stopping by. Very convenient to blame the President for Baltimore City's issues, but I am gathering here from DC Barrister that if the sun didn't come up one day, it would somehow be Obama's fault. And by the way, DCBarrister, DC has its own problems. ALL of the Presidents since John Adams have lived there. How many of them have helped solve DC's many issues? Not very many. So in DCBarrister's calculus, they get the blame, right?

  33. Where is President Obama and the federal govt in this failed city and failed state, the latter which seems unmentioned in this collapsed city

  34. This isn't O'Bama's problem. The changes need to happen here in Baltimore. We don't need to look to Washington to solve our problems.

  35. Maybe Maryland and Baltimore should clean up their own acts. There is too much federal involvement as it is and all of it to ill effect.

  36. Oh and a Black president cannot address the corruption, incompetence and institutional problems plaguing a Black community less than 40 miles from the White House?


    Just stop.

  37. I live a block away from Barclay Street and heard the shots that killed him. I noticed that the article didn't mention Mr. Carter's job while it did note his mother's career.

  38. Interesting similarities -----both Baltimore and DC are suffering from the same problems, despite being lead by African American Females ---- non the less the systemic problems of crime, poverty and unemployment persist. Both mayors inherited systemic problems and keep trying to talk their way out of the situations. Changing the makeup does not solve the problems, people need decent paying jobs, education and affordable housing.

  39. I am curious: ' decent paying jobs"- that requires an educated and motivated work force. That is absent in Baltimore city in general. It is not the lack of jobs, it is the lack of a commitment to good education.

  40. What percentage of blacks are unemployable in the 21st century labor marketplace?

  41. Excellent statement:

    It is so strange that the citizens of Baltimore blame everyone and everything on their conditions but refuse to educate their children or to form families that support the ethics and morals for their children that are so needed to make changes. Moreover, to lift up citizens who can make changes by voting for them. People have to vote and they have to support candidates using common sense. Where are the people that have the qualifications to run for public office?


  42. I am subscriber to the notion that the American left began destroying America by routinely condemning it as a defensive bulwark after JFK was assassinated by an avowed communist (one of them). This is just another part of that veil, an alternative approach to other unsuccessful stratagems of reparation, easy enough to get on board with but the consequences of which will never serve Black Americans. America will prevail in 2016.

  43. The Fergusen Effect has led to the murders of many blacks, especially in Baltimore.

    The governance of Baltimore has been and continues to be a deadly disgrace.

    Only strong police action can stop and imprison the thugs that rule and often have the support of the current mayor.

  44. Sadly, The Wire nailed it.

  45. Superb article that summarizes very well what we face here in Baltimore. There are no simple solutions, but we need to change the conversation and concentrate on families and kids who are continually negatively affected by the neglect of politicians and others because they seem invisible. Start by altering what you offer to school kids beginning in pre-K, and have it include opening earlier and closing later, nourishment both intellectual and physical, and activity, all with an eye to keeping them gainfully occupied. Mentor these young with older grads who understand the value of family and hard work and serious study. Change the culture one person at a time and surface leaders who really care not ones who are retreads looking for redemption for earlier losses. This can be a great city if we take a deep breath, stop value judging everyone, and commit to the families who live here and their children. Change the conversation and fund alternatives!

  46. "We need to change the conversation and concentrate on families and kids who are continually negatively affected by the neglect of politicians and others because they seem invisible."

    And therein lies the problem, you expect politicians to take care of kids instead of the people who bring them into this world. No responsibility for parents, it's all the job of city politicians to change the culture.

  47. If you spend the money to create pre k, and to keep schools open longer, the children still return to a dysfunctional home and environment. One in which education is not emphasized, in fact it is ridiculed. Compare the african american community to the Vietnamese or other immigrants. Their success starts with strong families, motivated to help their children have more opportunity. they recognize the value of educations and discipline.

  48. I lived in the Baltimore area for 10 years.Baltimore has been under Democratic control for over 50 years.Hundreds of billions of our tax dollars have been spent in Baltimore on the usual social reengineering efforts.The results were the recent riots and the incompetency of the black female mayor and black police commissioner.Baltimore is finished until the black community stops the black on black crime,eliminates unwed teen black pregnancies,etc.No more tax monies need to be wasted in Baltimore.

  49. I just spent a week in the Inner Harbor section of Baltimore; I found it warm, friendly, and lovely. The shopping, sightseeing and dining were first rate with a few unique places I have seen nowhere else. I was pleasantly surprise to see such a vibrant downtown section filled with people and tourists of all colors and completely safe well into the evening. The hotel I stayed at made it perfectly clear the areas which were safe to walk in and places it would be best to avoid, apparently and justifiably this is a question they are well versed in answering.
    I met many people working in this area that I could not imagine living in the depressed Baltimore of drugs and squalor. It is my hope that this city helps to push the success of the Inner Harbor to all areas where the poor and lost congregate, and provide more opportunities for people willing to work their way out of poverty.

  50. The title "A Fragile Baltimore" sounds so beleaguered and victimized. All of this because a black man was wrongly killed by a police officer? Do the people who feel victimized by the police in Baltimore know the litany of names of officers who have been killed by criminal-minded black men?

    Of course, the main stream media lends a constant voice to the narrative that blacks are victims, any instance of crime against a black man must be racist and endemic of systematic and institutionalized racism, right? It couldn't possibly be pent up anger and difficulty handling the overt stresses that arise from dealing with the constant threat of violence and shootings at the hands of black male criminals. This narrative holds that the police are always to blame and black men are always victims. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  51. It's just amusing to me read stories like this one that skirt around the real issue but due to political correctness never explicitly state it. No outside force can fix Baltimore. The police can't do it. The politicians can't do it. Johns Hopkins can't do it.

    Baltimore will only change when its black residents change or frankly leave. It's that simple. What this report doesn't mention is that many of these killings aren't motivated by drugs or gangs but petty disagreements. The issues are cultural and family break down. Instead of attacking the mayor these pastors would be better served helping their flock find better ways to live.

  52. It's interesting If you look at the city data it paints a different picture than the one the author shows
    For example in 2001 there were 256 murders; in 2011 there were 196
    Rapes 2001 296 2011 341 an increase
    Robberies 5,747 in 2001 3,457 in 201
    Assaults 8,500 in 2001 4,891 in 2011
    Burglaries 10,899 in 2001 8,615 in 2011
    Auto thefts 8,175 in 2001 4,199 in 2011

    Crime has gone down in every category so why are things the way they are? Could it be demographics? Baltimore is 29.6% white, black 63.7% Asian 2.3%
    My point? Baltimore students SAT scores were 100 points lower than state and national averages. Fewer than half of the high school seniors passed the High School Assessment test. The districts AP exam pass rate was 27.3% less than half the nearly 61% state rate.
    Here are some other telling facts
    Median household income 2013 $41,385 Maryland $73,538
    Poverty rate 23.8% Maryland 9.8%

    My point? Progressive, liberal policies are destroying this city. It is no different than St Louis, Milwaukee, Chicago, New York City. All cities with liberal mayors. I would venture to guess a majority of the crimes are committed by and against blacks?
    The mayor, who gave a stand own order lives in a exclusive gated community, far away from the carnage.
    If they want to heal they have to first stop pointing fingers and realize that the only thing they can change is themselves and how they respond in a crisis situation. Change comes from within

  53. [[My point? Progressive, liberal policies are destroying this city. It is no different than St Louis, Milwaukee, Chicago, New York City. All cities with liberal mayors.]]

    New York had Bloomberg for 12 years and Giuliani for eight years before that. Rents in New York have done nothing but rise, which indicates some combination of low supply and high demand.

    In Chicago Rahm Emanuel was attacked from the left in the last election, which leads me to believe he didn't occupy that position.

    Milwaukee is te 31st largest city in America and estimates indicate a slight population increase in the past four years.

    Low voter turnout in Baltimore in 2014 is the real story…28% of eligible voters.

  54. The TV images of Baltimore being burned and looted are what remain in the minds of the vast majority of people. The protesters/criminals who initiated that conflagration have virtually guarantied that ZERO money will ever be made available to help the city. Nice work.

    Meanwhile, I once thought it would be desirable to relocate downtown, near my wife's work at JHU, now that we are empty nesters. Then she called me frantically on the day of the riots, to ask me for a safe route to get home.

    So much for relocating to the city.

    Not anymore.

  55. Extra-judicial executions by police, like mass murder at churches, movie theaters, schools and shopping malls, are now an ACCEPTED part of U.S. life. So I don't even bother to read about or follow such events. Fortunately God made me a white male so my risk for being murdered by the police is low.

  56. Calling this death an extra judicial killing is typical of the hyperbole that surrounded the story. Failing to buckle up a prisoner is hardly even a crime, as the upcoming trial no doubt will reveal. But keeping living in fantasy world of Hands Up, Don't Shoot.

  57. Here in New York City eight people were shot and killed by the police last year. In a city of eight million people that swells by millions more in the course of a workday that would not appear to be an abnormally high number. I would call those numbers commendable.

  58. You sir, are an accomplice to this problem.

  59. Time magazine decades ago used the term, "Underclass."

    The Black underclass seems to be a larger percentage of the Black population than the white underclass is of the white population. Every race has a percentage of their population that doesn't function very well in our society. All the Black folk I know are community minded, productive people. We have to be willing to discuss the fact that there is a portion of the Black population which is horribly unsuccessful in our society. Baltimore has been run by Black Democrats for decades. Clearly that has not solved the problem.

    There is a lack of decent jobs for unskilled workers. If you need someone to help you clean out your garden shed, who are you going to hire? An undocumented alien in front of Home Depot, who is actually looking for work, or a young Black guy, hanging out on the corner, looking for trouble? If illegals weren't here and willing to work hard for $15 an hour, maybe more young Blacks would be offered that work at $20, or $25 an hour. That would certainly help. Honest work has value far beyond a paycheck.

    Racism is not the problem.

  60. @Michael H - decent jobs for unskilled workers are key and Democrats have mainly focused on the plight of illegal immigrants, to the exclusion of that of poor and working class U.S. citizens.

    Because just saying "Let them stay" or denigrating critics of amnesty for illegal immigrants as racist - is actually the easy way out. Meanwhile, the corporatists are busy trying to pass the TPP trade agreement and further decimate working class jobs. Opposing agreements like these (TPP, NAFT) are difficult - which is why so few politicians of either Democratic or Republican parties do. But, those the the things that impact the bottom lines of most folks who work for a wage (or who would like to)

    THEN articles like this pop up as if the problems in Baltimore happened in a vacuum or can be solved by ending "racism."

  61. I live and work in NYC, where at least 25% of the people I work with are black and are all 'community minded, productive people'.

    Every one of us is middle class, striving to move upwards, and every one of us has middle class values....stay in school, do not have children you cannot support, do not get in trouble with the law, dress appropriately for work and do your job, so forth.

    Middle class African Americans have nothing in common with the gang bangers and troublemakers in inner city ghettos, any more than Caucasians have anything in common with violent white supremacist bikers out West, except the color of their skin.

    Anyone who declares solidarity based only on skin color best reconsider that position, as racism works both ways.

  62. A decade ago, I tried to help out a 42-year-old veteran, a black man laid off and starting his own landscape business - a virtual slam dunk in my city where middle class homeowners do not want to hire illegal immigrants. An uncle of his had passed away and left him that business and equipment for free. Upfront, I told him I was retired, unable to do that kind of physical labor anymore, on a tight budget but always eager to give vets a break. Both days, he showed up high as a kite on cocaine and then tried to rip me off on some materials in such such an obvious scam I looked him in the eye, told him I didn't appreciate his lack of respect for himself, for my family, home and efforts to help him - that I didn't have to and would not enable his addiction. He could have cared less.

  63. First, stop scapegoating the police. Secondly, pay attention and get involved in your community and stop playing dumb when crime occurs. Third, vote in politicians who unlike the current disaster, will actually do something about crime and have the police's back.

    Like Mayor Giuliani.

  64. I agree with you on everything except Giuliani. He didn't have the police's back, fired the commissioner when he started to get more credit for the drop in crime in NYC. The drop in crime also started in Dinkins' term, not Giuliani's. Giuliani was a self-serving fool whose actions made 9/11 far worse (ignoring radio communications problems, moving the office of emergency management into the WTC when it was the only place to suffer a recent terrorist attack, etc.).

    Giuliani was worthless and did nothing to improve NYC, and this has been well proven by his abysmal failure at everything he's done ever since. Please don't buy his hype.

  65. The Baltimore police are now told to enforce the law, but not too much. Stand up police! Stand down police! It is like a scene from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Just recently the Times reported on a Baltimore protest organized by self-proclaimed community activists seeking to have the police prohibited from arresting anyone for criminal offenses the activists deemed "minor." At least it is heartening to see a well-written Times article on the troubles besetting this city. By contrast, the Times' prior coverage of the riots was ridiculous. As buildings were being burned to the ground, the Times still insisted there was no rioting, only peaceful protests.

  66. Just recently the Times reported on a Baltimore protest organized by self-proclaimed community activists seeking to have the police prohibited from arresting anyone for criminal offenses the activists deemed "minor."

    this is the core of the problem. Yet the NY times refuses to report it.

  67. What we in Baltimore certainly do NOT need is a not-rehabilitated, unremorseful and unrepentant ex-con as a mayor.

    So many of us here in Baltimore, black and white, old and young, Republican and Democrat, are praying that Sheila Dixon, the former mayor caught with her hand in the cookie jar stealing from the poor, stays away from city hall.

    PLEASE, SHEILA, let new and honest leadership take over!

  68. Annapolis is 30 miles south east of Baltimore. I lived in Baltimore back in the '60s. Up until two years ago, I still traveled there on occasion. No more. The only place I go to once a year is Johns Hopkins Hospital: it has become the Baghdad equivalent of the "Green Zone."

  69. That is an absurd statement. I grew up near Annapolis, and JHU is if anything an ever expanding behemoth gentrifying east baltimore, but it is by no means the "green zone." All of southwest baltimore is relatively nice, as is the entire center of the city. I remind you that Johns' Hopkins University is within the city, as is Loyola, and the serene neighborhoods of Roland Park, and Guildford.

    I'm happy you like Annapolis, but Baltimore doesn't have just one place to go.

  70. All of our urban areas, have for decades, favored policies that have encouraged and in some cases mandated racial segregation. Whether in Furgeson, or the west side of Chicago, governmental bodies have created the social, economic, and political conditions that result in kinds of mayhem that we read about each morning. Instead of addressing the real problem of racial isolation, our political class dodges the real problem, with fake solutions: more police, more stop and frisk, more jail time, more charter schools. None of these "solutions" will solve the problem of institutional racism---because it is institutional.

  71. This is about the generalized urban black community. They run Baltimore. I cannot tell you how much of a disgrace it is. The media will never tell you the truth. The black community will never tell you the truth. The Democrats will never tell you the truth. Any positive influence is swiftly stamped out. You want to talk about the massive problem of no fathers... you are a racist. You want to cut the MASSIVE amount of welfare and handouts and encourage work ... you are a racist. You want to talk about crime and violence in the black comminuty ... you are a racist. I mean they want to blame the police for locking up the murderers and drug dealers. Its insane lawlessness. News flash, it aint the NRA doing the killing in Baltimore. Also as a Baltimore area attorney I can tell you there is nothing more biased than a Baltimore City jury. They see everything in terms of race and it is very difficult to convict the OJs there. This rant hardly scratches the surface. Anyone with any sense has moved out.

  72. This is the best thing I have read on this topic in a year. Well put, DecliningSociety.

  73. I lived in Baltimore for a few years. It is a beautiful city that empties of people at 5pm, as middle class workers of all races leave for the suburbs.

    The city is dangerous, as the best people of all races have moved up and out and what is left is the elderly, the sick, and the dregs of society, who have a litany of excuses for their poor choices in life

  74. The root of this problem lies in having too many children and poor parenting skills. Being poor has very little to do with it, as the success of the Asian community has demonstrated. Until we confront this fact, nothing will change.

  75. While there are certainly problems in Baltimore, by mischaracterizing the neighborhood of Kirk Butler the article perpetuates the overly simplistic "two Baltimores" divide of the waterfront and everything else. First, 2400 Barclay is not in East Baltimore, but Central Baltimore. According to Zillow, rowhouses on the 2400 block of Calvert are worth under $100,000, but the prices on the 2300 block are $250-350,000 and even more one block to the west. So, it is on the edge of some of the most rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods in Baltimore, and the tensions and efforts to build community between artists, recent college grads, long-time residents, empty nesters recreating historically accurate mansions, and families with young kids makes it an interesting, vibrant, dynamic place. And in these neighborhoods, class is often the more important divide than race. Greenmount Avenue, one block to the east, is everything one imagines when they think of the Baltimore of The Wire. So, the multiple Baltimores are clashing up against each other and mixing in new ways. To understand Baltimore politics, the geography of the riots and crime, and feelings towards the police, one has to understand the rapid and very different changes happening in Baltimore's neighborhoods.

  76. Baltimore is experiencing the tragic denouement after almost half a century of Democratic control of the city and state. As the ancient Chinese said - "the road to hell is paved with good intentions."

  77. why do you believe Republicans would have done better. What is it that Republicans could have done to reduce black illegitimacy, the fact that only 30% of blacks graduate high school and the fact that about a quarter to third of all blacks between the ages of 16 and 25 are felons? Please, be specific. This sounds like a problem the black community and its "leaders" need to solve, not politicians (of any persuasion). Political action can only go so far.

  78. It could be worse...could be IL where they are now one rate above junk. Another fine case of liberal governance.

  79. I no longer believe the Police, Prosecutors or Judges.

  80. Good luck with that, JH. By your emotional and immoderate response, you have paved the way for a more dangerous world.

    I'm interested, JH. Have you EVER bothered to serve others in this world - you know, people not called yourself? Have you ever been a teacher, a soldier, a Peace Corps volunteer?

    I thought not.

  81. Drugs need to be legalized. The city is squandering resources attempting to control drug dealing. Meanwhile, everyday people are losing their lives as crime runs rampant & the police are forever chasing down a never-ending parade of dealers & users, always from behind. Enough. It is a complete farce to continue to believe that drugs are bringing down society. Drugs are a by-product of the problem-no jobs, no future, no hope. It's a deadly spiral that can only be pulled out of by getting medical help for the addicted.

    Let the state legalize drugs & make a profit from their sales & funnel that money back into the city, into athletic leagues & playgrounds & parks & swimming pools. Quit pretending that we can control drug use with only laws & a strapped police force.

  82. Narcotics will never and ought never be legalized. Are you daft? The black males in prison for drugs are there for DEALING, mostly narcotics and more often than not with a handgun involved and a laundry list of other felonies.

  83. Black bureaucrats have proven to be every bit as corrupt and often more so than white government officials. Baltimore is a case in point. Until these same black leaders call their own people to account, crime and murders will continue to escalate as they have in this city. Black on black crime is out of control. Reason? Start with the fact that 75% of all black children are born out of wedlock, and most have no father in the home. Accountability and responsibility are sorely lacking in Baltimore and many predominately black cities. Meanwhile their own leaders are often corrupt as evidenced in the case of the mayor of New Orleans who blamed Bush for his own lack of preparation for Hurricane Katrina. Clean up your own act first, before blaming white America for your on going social and economic problems.

  84. Are you serious? As long as issues that plague African Americans are seen as black issues and not as American issues, then we have a long way to got before making any progress.

  85. From Bob: I served 31 yrs in the NYPD from cop to captain and the most profound lesson I learned is that any meaningful social reform starts with public safety. Safe streets reduces fear, including fear of each other. People shop, socialize and get involved with more common activities as crime resulting fear decreases.
    Lately some municipal leaders have even admitted what many have known all along; demoralized cops are reluctant to go out EVERY DAY and face circumstances that could be catastrophic, especially when they perceive a non supportive public.
    Lastly, much of our media is loath to admit that their 'all the news that's fit to sell' principle, has added to the 'hands up', 'don't shoot' hysteria that shamelessly stero types cops (citing incidents from Portland Maine to Portland Oregon, suggesting some type of commonality) and thereby effecting confidence in police/public relations that is costing some most vulnerable people their lives. It's taking some time, but as in NYC in the early 90's, the country and our great cities will do what they have to do to survive, and that starts with public safety.

  86. I guess Moynihan was correct. This is the result of years of liberal social engineering.

  87. Or perhaps the lack of jobs.

  88. I am not sure that liberal social engineering deserves all the blame. Black culture has avoided self examination by reflexively blaming white racism for all its problems, while promoting a popular culture that glorifies crime, violence, and irresponsibility toward women and their children. Its all someone else's fault.

  89. When there is a riot in a city it takes at least two generations for the effects to begin to go away. Businesses go away because they cannot get insurance any more. The area sinks into disuse then into abandonment. Nothing good will happen for 40 to 50 years. I speak from experience having witnessed the effects of the riots in Newark and Camden New Jersey. The same thing happened in Detroit. It will be the same for Baltimore.. Sad to see and so stupid but so predictable.

  90. The challenge here is whether the core problems are being addressed? Liberal leadership has been isolated by some and those concerns seem well-founded when one looks at Chicago rate away from junk.

  91. You might want to wait to start to rebuild Baltimore because there will be lots of looting, rioting and burning directly after the first of several acquittals of those cops. Ferguson ain't seen nothing yet. I'm sure the leaders of Baltimore are right now in round the clock meetings figuring out how to spin these future riots as being the cops (and in particular, white cops) fault.

  92. there is not a single leader in the African American community who is willing to address the root causes of hopelessness and violence in their communities. There is talk of institutional racism, lack of jobs, poor education, as if there is some conspiracy to continue the negative cycle.
    The solution begins with addressing the 75% incidence of teen pregnancy in the city, the majority of those births are to African American women under the age of 16. What child has a chance when born to a teenager. What teenager is really ready to be a mother and a force for good in their infants life. This does not even address the lack of male role models. The term " baby moma' is damning and reflects the core problem in the community. Without mature parents ( mother and father), what chance is their to emphasize good education, law biding behavior and goals.
    There are groups of young black makes riding around on scooters, blocking traffic and assaulting citizens... where are there parents.
    If Black lives matter, where is the outrage at the killing of over 300 young blacks this year alone.
    All the money in the world, all the new industries in the country will not provide educated, motivated young men and women. It is important, but without a fundamental change, the new schools will be filled with the same unmotivated children, and the cycle will continue.

    Please find me a African American leader who will tell the truth.

  93. shp,

    it is far easier for black "leadership" to blame whites than tackle these problems head-on. Racial scapegoating is so easy.

  94. Ben Carson. But, the progressives will just call him an uncle tom and dismiss him.

  95. There are plenty. Unfortunately, not many in the political class and almost none given air time by mainstream media. Any black that doesn't tow the liberal progressive banner gets branded an Uncle Tom. Instead of reading more Charles Blow drivel, it would be nice to see more from black conservative intellectuals who do point out these issues instead of trying to make excuses for them.

  96. Reality check social programs to help poor is failing .Its only enabled the entitlement mentality to grow an most cases has fostered resentment by poor of rich or this case authority police officers . We need to go back an correct the problem at early age so kids don't grow up to be super preditors an resent system. Means teaching kids how criminal system works to protect weak an poor. Should be mantory classes to start in elemtary classes all threw out country . A lot could be done to improve whats wrong .Also mantory voting ,mantory service to our great country before these kids get out school an after . Up to those who hold high office if Obama really wants to make difference must come from him . Guns don't kill people kill people we all know it so lets get it together an save our kids not just rich kids every one where all citzens

  97. "In the West, especially after World War II, the government came to be seen as so successful that it could fulfill all the obligations that in less modern societies are fulfilled by the family. This approach encouraged alternative families, single mothers for instance, believing that government could provide the support to make up for the absent father. This is a bold, Huxleyan view of life, but one from which I as an East Asian shy away. I would be afraid to experiment with it. I’m not sure what the consequences are, and I don’t like the consequences that I see in the West. " -- Lee Kwan Yew

  98. It happened in the mid-60s, when women realized that if they had a baby, they would not have to work until the baby was five, at which point they would have another one and on and on.

    Anyone who has ever lived in a poor neighborhood (and many of these neighborhoods are in lower class white suburbs) knows that these young women do not have babies accidentally or because they lack access to birth control, but intentionally, as the future child is their meal ticket. That this choice will doom the child to a lifetime of poverty does not even enter into the equation, as the needs of the child are irrelevant.

    It goes without saying that these types of mothers are amongst the worst of parents, so it should hardly be a surprise that their children grow up troubled and will probably always be a burden to society.

    Repeat for generations upon generations and the children continue to suffer, while anyone who points out the pathology of these irresponsible women is seen as 'victim blaming', as if they did not freely choose their path in life.

  99. I still quite shocked that people are blaming the city's ill on single-parent household. For every racial group, including whites, the rate of single-parent household has increased. There must be something larger going on.

  100. Evidence?

  101. In a place where hoodlums like Freddie Gray and Michael Brown become cultural icons, one has to wonder: what is wrong with the place/culture?

  102. Presidential Candidate and former Governor and Mayor of Baltimore Martin O'Malley was instrumental in bringing large scale T.V. production to Baltimore. Of that he is justly proud..
    There is a reason they filmed 'Homicide" and "The Wire" there, and he is not so proud about that.

  103. I've lived in Baltimore for the last ten and for the most part I have loved this city, but the constant feelings of insecurity and hopelessness in the face of total political and societal dysfunction can take its toll on even the biggest of Baltimorephiles.

    My partner and I live in one of the nicest neighborhoods in the city and this is just a sampling of our neighborhood social media groups from the LAST 24 hours.

    "4 teens in dark hoodies broke into house on Duncan & Lombard, beat occupant with some sort of pole ~20 mins"

    "27 year old woman choked, assaulted, and robbed in the alley way closest to Fayette on North Chester after getting out of her car across the school around 6:10. Three 13-15 year old black males chased by neighbors."

    I'm not sure what kind of hell we've devolved into when children are choking young women in the streets, but I hope we can return from it.

  104. Baltimore should just fire the existing police force and start over from scratch. Carefully handpick the police force you want and make sure the police you hire don't have any of the bad characteristics that are so often criticized. Don't hire any racist cops. Drugs will effectively be legal while you pick the new police force, and you can see how that works out for you.

    Maybe Baltimore residents will come to the conclusion that there are no racist cops. Since the cops represent "the man", all cops are, by definition, racist. Maybe that means that Baltimore really doesn't want any cops to arrest their residents, no cops to write tickets in their neighborhoods, no cops to stop Baltimore residents, no cops to do anything except maybe to stop crime that they see. Maybe.

  105. The problem with Baltimore ISNT the Police, its by and large the corrupt politicians and the electorate that keeps sending them there.

  106. Baltimore, like all major cities is so much more complicated than this article would lead one to believe. It doesn't come down to black vs. white, rich vs. poor, conservative policy vs. liberal policy, downtown vs. neighborhoods. It's nearly impossible to disentangle. I have heard co-workers rail about our mayor for being "too black and too liberal." I have heard other co-workers complain that she's "too white" and "thinks she's better than" the city's African-American community. When a white state's attorney was elected five years ago, some African-American leaders complained that he had stolen "our office." Others celebrated the political demise of an ineffectual, three-term officeholder. That white state's attorney was trounced in a primary. Many of my friends want a return to zero tolerance policing, while others blindly blame the police for everything that is wrong. Most people land somewhere in between all these extremes. It's complicated, it's messy, and it can be awful at times. But it's been my home for 19 years and I love it just the same.

  107. Wow, what an incredible and captivating article--one that encompasses the many angles of the situation in Baltimore.

    Most interesting about the article is the discord between residents on what ought to be done to revive Baltimore. Those with greater economic stability and perhaps subsequent political voice advocate a Giuliani-esque local-level government that involves tough-on-crime policies and increased policing in only particular neighborhoods, among other measures. For years, however, these are some of the very policies that paved the way for Baltimore's current reality--a notion suggested by almost all residents from lower-income neighborhoods. This discord sheds light on one of the greatest challenges faced by Baltimore: reconciling a divided city by perpetually implementing the policies advocated by those with more economic and political power but influential directly and primarily on the lives of those with less economic and political sway.

    It's worth invoking here New York City and the Giuliani era, which only temporarily concealed the issues plaguing the city and left the mold-scrubbing to later politicians.

  108. Actually, I think he's right on the money. I live in one of the neighborhoods ELI is talking about, and toughening the policing is ALL I here from my neighbors. Read the letters to the Baltimore Sun and you can see that dichotomy in real time.

  109. Eli, you're wrong. Whatever faults Guiliani had, he did make the streets safe at night with Police presence. A lot of things followed from that in New York, which is why it what it is today, a city which it seems everybody wants to live in.

  110. I live in Baltimore, in Fells Point, and I want more police there! My car was stolen two weeks ago, people are getting jumped leaving work at night (when bars close), a friend was robbed at gunpoint during broad daylight, countless break-ins/burglaries, and it goes on and on. The people in poorer neighborhoods in Baltimore can be policed how they want. Some protesters have claimed they do not want a police presence there in their neighborhoods at all. That's fine to me. Have police that spend 90% of their time their in my neighborhood and they'll be welcomed with open arms.

    You are right, there are fundamental disagreements in our city on the role of police.

  111. So when are we going to have a national conversation about the fact that young black males kill other young black males - generally with illegal, unregistered firearms, than police do - *by orders of magnitude*.

    Also police shot and killed *more whites* than blacks, and blacks shoot more whites than the reverse.

    This is basic stuff that people should be aware of when intelligently discussing the problem of violence.

    Yet the Left wing prefer to simply not cover incidents of blacks shooting whites, or cops shooting white people in 'flyover' states.

    Why is that?

    Stupidity or malice?

  112. Everyone is aware of these realities but few are willing to be labeled racist for saying it out loud. The civil rights movement of the 1960's defeated legal and institutional racism in a very short time, but left us with the bedrock assumption that white racism is responsible for all ills that affect black America. However, whites are not forcing young black men to shoot each other, impregnate their girlfriends, drop out of school, or sell drugs. No one can force positive change upon a person or a community - change can only come from within. Blaming the rest of society conveniently avoids confronting the root issues that create inner city disfunction.

  113. There are a whole lot of "left wing" people who are trying to get illegal guns off the street in Baltimore City and other cities in the Northeast. Prosecutors in New York City just broke up a gun running ring this past week, bringing guns from the South. But there are lot of "right wing" people who don't agree that there should even be any such thing as an "illegal gun." These are the some of the people who are appealing to the Supreme Court to overturn New York's gun laws. So yes, the ease that people can obtain guns is a large part of the problem. And the "right wing" certainly isn't helping matters here.

    People in Maryland are aware that the majority of Maryland homicide victims are black, about 75 percent in recent statistics, and about 70 percent by gun. So yes, that basic stuff needs to be part of the conversation on how to repair Baltimore City. What gets into the media reports and what happens on the ground are not the same thing.

    Also, as the article explains, there are actually two Baltimore Cities, each not really recognizing the other, and they need to have an ongoing conversation. That would be the start of a long road to repair. It would also help if the Mayor (Dem) and the Governor (Rep) start having an ongoing conversation.

  114. Having spent time in Baltimore, both growing up (~20 yrs ago) and now as an adult, I disagree with the bent of the story. Baltimore is struggling with a long legacy of extreme amounts of violence relative to other parts of the developed world untouched by war. For 2015 murders alone, see here:

    Recent events with the police have made things worse. Unfortunately an event as terrible as the heinous murder of Freddie Gray by police is a drop in the bucket that has already been eclipsed many times over by one violent murder after another, all of which tear the community into even smaller pieces. You're seriously kidding yourself (and have probably not spent time there) if you think Baltimore is a policing problem first.

  115. Gripping article, and I guess Baltimore is as doomed as Detroit, nobody's really going to do anything about the major problems.

    As I see it, the major problem is these insular, low-income to no-income, black communities. That's where the murders and shootings are going on, and the drug dealing and major addictions. There aren't any jobs, riots are always a possibility, nobody feels safe, nobody will work with the police. The police fear such neighborhoods too, knowing that they're a target for casual shooting, and they've got good reason to be treating it like a war. You don't worry about taking precautions that your enemy won't die in a war, and the police and criminals are enemies.

    The problems in these neighborhoods are all self-perpetuating. The parents don't have educations so they can't get good jobs, and then they have too many children. They don't value the educations they didn't get, so they don't push their kids to stay in school, and college is out of the question. So the kids too wind up poorly educated, can't get good jobs, and have more children than they can support.

    That grinding, hopeless poverty produces drug addiction and crime, every time, always has. I really don't see an answer to it that wouldn't involve fascist relocation and reeducation of everyone in impoverished communities.

    So yeah, great article, but it shows me there is no hope for Baltimore. Sometime after Detroit bounces back, maybe this city will too.

  116. Great comment. You're right. We're reaping what we've sown in this nation. It's a shame for a lot of reasons.

  117. When most black children live in a household with their two parents, we'll talk. No evidence of it in the article or Dan's comments (which is symptomatic of the liking of green check mark holders for their words in print, judging by the length)

  118. Dear Yoda,
    True enough, that's what I was getting at, kids are raised to be unemployable and stay impoverished, and one woman raising six kids ensures that.

    Dear Dave,
    Thanks, and yeah, this goes back to when slavery began I think. That created a distinct underclass and despite the Civil War we have never really achieved equality. For one thing, everyone born to ex-slaves had no inheritance, no family business, no land. For another, racism (at an ebb now, but extreme in past decades) ensured no upward mobility. And here we are with shameful imbalance still in play; on the other hand, every nation has this sort of thing going on.

    Dear Here,
    Now now, don't take things personally. I have no quibble with you, nor should you with me, we're just discussing stuff. I agree about the importance of two parent families, more so about limiting family size. As for my writing at length, it's just a habit when I've a lot to say, and as for that green check mark, never fear, I'll never get one.

  119. Baltimore = dysfunctional city government coupled with unaccountable elected officials who constantly blame something else instead of looking at themselves.

    Sort of like our Federal Government.

  120. yea, govt is to blame for all society's ills. The residents of the neighborhood have nothing to do with it.

  121. Even the government loving NYTs has said on numerous occasions that "Government is ALWAYS inefficient and OFTEN corrupt".

  122. 800,000 cops in the US. If this is a common occurrence, why is this one of the only reports legitimized as excessive use of force after the initial media report and investigation? Again, 800,000 cops on the streets every day. Why aren't there more verified excessive force reports?
    They aren't hidden, they are all public and investigated by multiple agencies.

    No matter what race you are, it's an irrational fear to think you will be victimized (rights actually violated) by a bad cop when you are a law abiding Citizen.

  123. Decades of public policies concerning everything from housing, employment, transportation and incarceration, both federal and local, have enhanced the lives of some; while in reality, negated the lives of Black Americans and others. It’s time to realize that politicians, business leaders, educators and average citizens, not only in the City but in neighboring counties as well, need to be held accountable for a change in attitude. When we all consider what we can do to abolish structural racism, whether it’s paying a living wage, providing job opportunities for youth, making sure all schools have adequate resources, or demanding adequate services such as grocery stores and banks, only then will the City of Baltimore heal. It really should not be so difficult.

  124. "Residents, angry and frightened, accuse the police of standing down and ignoring crime."

    gee, I wonder what the reason could be for that? Could it be that the police, no matter what happens, are accused of racism? Look at what happened to Darren WIlson, a police officer who acted responisbly. Look at his treatment in the press and in public opinion. Or the fact that he lost his job.

    Also, what about the endogenous dynamics of the black community itself in Baltimore. over 70% of births are illegitimate. only 30% of its youth even graduate from high school. about 25% of black young ment between the ages of 16 and 25 are incarcerated. there has been a wave of new "spice" drugs coming into the scene. There has been a release of many "non-violent" drug related felons from prison. Do only of these facts have anythign to do witht he spike in crime? Of course not. It is the racist police force that is to blame.

  125. You got it. It is the cycle of being a victim and never taking any responsibility for your actions. No fathers, teen age mothers, and you have the perfect recipe for hopelessness, poverty, crime and violence. Not one black leader has the courage to say this. It is just blame the white, "racist" society.

  126. Only 30% of black students graduate from public schools in Baltimore? What is the source of this figure? According to the Sun, the most recently reported five year graduation rate for the city's public schools is 73.5%. Since the schools are 83% black, there is no way that the graduation rate for black students can be anywhere near 30%.

  127. If only they had more jobs /end sarcasm

  128. Hickman's complex was not part of the "Riot", as you call it. It burned to the ground miles away from where the disturbances were, so I'm wondering why it's not being labeled arson. Just recently, when Governor Hogan didn't fund the mass transit that would have connected the West side to the other public transportation routes, it was just another slap in the face to Black folks who do have jobs, do have education and do have values. The only thing they don't have is white skin. Baltimore has many problems, but the biggest is the inability of the haves to see the truth of why so many have nothing. It has been planned that way.

  129. Guess most of these black lives don't matter. No outrage, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton seen to be on vacation, and no visit by the President.

    I really have to ask. During segregation, there were vibrant communities. Baltimore, DC, Watts. Why are black officials and citizens content to only idolize a drug culture, bottle service costing over $200 in nightclubs, athletes, musicians, who seem disproportionately to marry white women? Racist? Probably. But someone answer the question while calling me racist.

  130. I'll have a go. When the police kill a person under questionable circumstances and are not held to account, it makes perfect sense to protest and demand they be held accountable. It works too, as we've seen with greater public demands for police accountability.

    How, exactly, is a protest going to stop two drug gangs from fighting over turf? Look how many marches against violence the people you condemned have led. Hundreds. Yet you insist they haven't occurred and they surely never stopped a drug deal. The answer to the drug trade from which so much violence springs are different than the answers to reckless or biased policing.

  131. Good article that reflects a lot, but far from all, of what is going on in my adopted city. I could make a list of what was missed, such as the long history of housing segregation (see Antero Pietila's excellent 2010 book, "Not in My Neighborhood: How Bigotry Shaped a Great American City"), and the problems with lead paint (both Freddie Gray and his sister suffered from lead poisoning. But how about going here and seeing the cities that have or are getting the game changing Google Fiber. Notice what's missing? The cities filled with the invisible people that our nation has abandoned over the past half century. I could only imagine the response of Google's answer to the events here in Baltimore was announcing the this city will be the next to get Google Fiber.

  132. You are onto something - IMO "the invisible people that our nation has abandoned over the past half century" are the U.S. citizens who are continuously sold out by the self-serving, venal political class of every race and ethnic strip while said political class endlessly panders to corporations.

  133. If housing segregation causes crime, why isn't crime rampart in all-white neighborhoods?

  134. So sad. I grew up in the South Bronx in the 70's so I have a sense of Baltimore's situation.

    It's so sad to see the destruction of the inner cities like this one and in Missouri. But after paying trillions of dollars in anti-poverty taxes, I won't pay a nickel to rebuild Baltimore. Sorry, but I and 50 million other
    Americans are tapped out.

    Not one more penny!

  135. I was born in the South Bronx in late 1947. I remember how it began to decay in the mid 1950s and then finally was totally destroyed in the late 60s and throughout the 1970s. Baltimore is not the Bronx. The Bronx was literally burned out. The result was a thinning of the population and then it slowly began to rebuild. The Bronx was also cut in half by the Cross Bronx Expressway. That separated neighborhoods and helped destroy formerly linked communities. There was racial tension in New York, but not to the degree of Baltimore.
    New York also had greater opportunity for employment that does not exist in Baltimore.
    For the last 40 years we exported manufacturing, research, development of new technology and millions of jobs. If want to begin to cure the poverty and hopelessness of Baltimore and other cities we need to seriously address the issues of the exporting jobs and how to stop that insidious self destruction of our nation.
    We can't expect people who live, indeed are born into poverty and hopelessness to find their way out of desperation when there are no jobs.
    The issue, before we think about race, is about unemployment, jobs and education. Fix that and then we can address the other issues. Stop exporting America's jobs and then wondering why there are desperate people.

  136. How many of the Africian American athletes on the Baltimore professional teams are doing anything to help those less fortunuate than them in the city that has made them millionaires. the south bronx came back because the poele wanted it to and have worked to have that happen

  137. In response to K.H. from the United States:

    Freddie Gray a hoodlum? Seriously? He did not resist arrest by the police. Regardless of what his alleged prior criminal acts may have been, he did absolutely nothing that should or would warrant the pain, suffering and death he ultimately incurred and frankly, no one in police custody should ever experience that either. Shame on you for stating such an inflammatory and incorrect statement. It's nonsense like this post that generates a hostile and distrusting situation and attitude. To restate your own question K.H. - one has to wonder: what is wrong with the place/culture?

  138. Freddie Gray a hoodlum? Seriously? He did not resist arrest by the police. Regardless of what his alleged prior criminal acts may have been,
    You answered your own question, seriously. Yes, he was a hoodlum, a well-known corner-boy drug dealer. "Everyone knew Freddy, he had his own loud act when he was busted, he liked to draw a crowd," said a group of 3 or 4 cops in disguise, on a TV reality show. Acting injured was part of that. So when he acted injured, and really was injured, they did not take it seriously. He had played the role of "injured perp" too many times previously.

  139. I respectfully disagree with you Charles. Even though Freddie Grey was no choir boy, I don't think "crying wolf" one too many times is justification for assuming an individual is not in need of medical attention. Isn't it better to lean towards the side of caution?

    If Baltimore city officials allocated monies to educational programs, low-income housing and local food banks as quickly as they awarded the 6.4 million settlement to Mr. Grey's family, the folks who are most in need in Baltimore might have a fighting chance. Hope and words can only do so much. Action and cash in the right direction can make a big difference.

  140. 1. Freddie G is said to have broken his back jumping from a second story....
    eluding police pursuit on a drug collar.
    2. No Resolution to Baltimore's nor any other Black majoritied city will arrive
    until the truths about race relations are brought into the open
    3. There is little prospect for our city with the sorrowful batch of candidates
    up for the upcoming mayoral election

  141. Not to mention millions paid out in claims to people who were injured by the police. If these claims are fictional as some outside our city seem to insist, why did the city and BPD pay out?

  142. Aren't they jury cases?

  143. Baltimore's problems are not the result of a failure to have truthful discussions about race relations - which is just soft speak for talking about crime.

    Baltimore's problems are all about a lack of economic opportunities. So many people are caught up in petty criminality largely because of the loss of the sturdy, reliable working class jobs that once formed the backbone of the city's economy. Jobs on the docks, Bethlehem Steel and other manufacturing jobs are largely gone. As those jobs have gone and the educational system has failed to prepare city residents for the higher skilled jobs that are available, a huge segment of the city's population has literally been left behind. Those are the folks engaging in rampant drug dealing, shooting each other over turf and minor slights and otherwise evidencing how utterly marginalized they feel. Talking about race relations isn't going to change any of these harsh realities.

  144. Baltimore is still attractive enough to retain some of those who have the means, as I witness in my short 8-mile work commute that takes me through decrepit neighborhoods as well as adjoining enclaves of great wealth. Besides the obvious challenges, lack of jobs and good education, other pressing problems that Baltimore faces include money misspent at schools and lack of parenting skills amongst our residents. Administrators must stop misspending tax dollars, such as blindly throwing money on buying computers and other technological upgrades for schools and students; adults must take on personal responsibilities, practice self-discipline and teach their children to seize the opportunity to learn at school. Failures are not always just the fault of governments or policies; we have to look inward at ourselves as well, and most importantly, help ourselves to rise.

  145. Nothing that happened to Gray justified the rioting, nor justified the mayor in saying and giving the criminals room to destroy. Baltimore will pay the price for at least the next half century, as did the cities that suffered similar destructive riots in the 1960s.

  146. It's a travesty and a conundrum. The safety measures that Baltimore residents demand (ex., prosecution of cops) are the very things that make their safety more elusive.

    It doesn't bode well for them. Even the language used to describe future steps (ex., "healing") is questionable. Cities don't heal. They get fixed by people who know what they're doing. As for "healing", individuals must address what they must do to heal themselves.

  147. This is not a popular or politically correct way to see the Baltimore issue and other similar issues. But, as I see it, regarding any serious regional or global "man-made" problem (not focused on race) the root cause is the glaring deficiencies found in our "people making factories." These "factories" otherwise known as early environments produce either "products" that build up society or conversely tear it down.

    Even the Christian Bible gets into the act making the claim "as a twig is bent so shall it grow."

    As it is, anyone can give birth. That's easy. But understanding the emotional/physical needs of a child and the critical stages of a child's growth and how to meet those needs (so as to produce a human that builds up rather than acts out) is sorely lacking.

    For example, before we drive, we have to prove we know how to. We even have to be licensed. And when it comes to car manufacturers that produce cars that harm or kill, those companies are fined and their products recalled.

    However, negligent environments that essentially do the same thing; that forms what later becomes acting-out destructive adults often suffers no consequences. Only society does. Only the malformed neglected/abused human does.

    Thus, there should be significant consciousness raising about the responsibility of parenthood and what's required to build a fully functioning human that builds up; not tears down. I contend that this one vital shift in awareness would make all the difference.

  148. This "inequality" and "poverty" stuff is politically correct claptrap. They didn't get worse in the past year. The city was protected by men and women with guns, and the political leaders and district attorneys stopped backing up the police.

  149. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is over her head, and good for her to understand that she needs to step aside. Too bad that the current crop of candidates for mayor seem to be so weak. The cost of electing a weak or incompetent leader, or one who lives within a fairly tale world of community activism and victimhood as a philosophy is truly huge, and it is paid by all the citizens of a city. Good luck and God Bless Baltimore.

  150. Oh give me a break. Baltimore has had four Republican Mayors since 1900, and none since 1967. Socialist Democrats have been stripping this city bare for the last fifty years, putting 'their own' at risk of felonies and real danger.

    When will the locals wake up and understand that idiots like Rawlings-Blake are destroying their city and putting their people at grave risk? It's not just black-on-black crime, folks, it's Democrat perps destroying that town.

    Thanks Democrats. You brought us to this point, just like you did with Detroit and Oakland and Newark and Camden and New Orleans and Bridgeport and Stockton and Philadelphia and St. Louis.

    Thanks, Democrats.

  151. but are there not open toilet urban areas in Republican states too?

  152. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

    1) City-wide, stop and frisk, building-to-building sweep for handguns.

    2) Norplant for every girl age 12 and up.

    3) Mandatory all-day preschool for children 2 and up.

    4) Mandatory job-corp program, with job required for graduation from high school, government-pay-rolled if need be.

    5) Year-round dusk to dawn curfew for anyone below 21.

  153. Hal, as someone who's worked and taught in the inner city for two decades I agree, unfortunately, 100% with your "desperate measures" plan. It is desperate but it is what's needed and it would straighten out future generations.

  154. See, here's the thing about your plan: I can almost guarantee you that if this were applied to a mostly-white suburb, nobody would tolerate it. Just like nobody tolerated it really in New York City when they tried stuff like that there (illegally, I might add).

    Also, I should point out that the pregnancy rate for teenagers has been dropping dramatically over the last 20 years, which makes your forced birth control idea invasive, illegal, and unnecessary.

  155. Dave K,

    My plan has nothing to do with race (and neither could nor should never be implemented if it did.) It is a simple, if severe, approach to well-defined problems. Show me a white suburb (or, say, a section of Appalachia) with the same problems and I'd say it should be applied there as well.

    And, though unwanted teen pregnancy has indeed declined, that decline is neither uniform not sufficient. It's still a problem. Should we just wait 20 more years and see if that helps? Again, consider the inoculation analogy. Unwanted (and I stress unwanted) teen pregnancy is not so different from a communicable disease.

  156. Rep. Elijah Cummings should obsess lees over protecting white, wealthy Hillary Clinton and more over the situation in Baltimore, and Maryland generally. Aside from Baltimore's own problems, a huge amount of DC crime is from nearby Maryland residents, brought up in a state of cheap tobacco, cheap booze, and cheap guns.

  157. Any sane police officer would be a fool to try to intervene in a crime committed by a black person, especially in a black neighborhood. It is best that they stand by and only come on the scene well AFTER the crime has already been committed. Except in a few exceptional cases it doesn't make sense to apprehend them, either. It's not worth one's career or even one's life.

  158. problems in Baltimore will never be resolved until the residents take a good, long glare inward. for every young innocent man killed by a cop there's over a 100 killed by their own neighbors. if you eliminated all racism and police violence towards citizens you wouldn't even dent the amount of crime committed in the city. when are the decent citizens of the city going to riot over the gang culture ruining their city?

  159. They should not be "rioting" over anything - but identifying those who are the murders when their neighbors are shot not be the three monkies who are deaf, dumb and blind

  160. Baltimore in the last three months alone, eight in the last week. Residents, angry and frightened, accuse the police of standing down and ignoring crime.
    OMG make up your minds! Do you want the police to arrest people or do you want them to stand down? I thought they were giving you exactly what you want and now you are crying that they have backed off? The police there are damned if the do and damned if they don't.

  161. Most already do believe, except for one faction of our society....

  162. A supportive community??? No, it takes police officers having the mettle to do their jobs. They are not drafted, it is a career choice. And generally folks being arrested are not on their best behavior, they should be trained to properly deal with that.

  163. Good luck. Should but isn't. It's hard enough dealing with the lowest of the low, the violent junkies and other criminals. If you don't support the cops they won't support you. Then you get Baltimore. And New York. But if the community doesn't care about supporting their cops, it's their community and they get what they pay for.

  164. Every resident of Baltimore knows that the big payday comes when a police officer comes to arrest them. Just a little defiance can win them a big jury award or settlement. And the Baltimore cops know that just talking to a Baltimore resident can get them in big trouble if the Baltimore resident says he/she was disrespected. Just get rid of the current Baltimore police force and start from scratch. It may be that the residents of Baltimore really don't need or want a police force of outsiders

  165. Oh shucks. You must have meant to write "every resident of Baltimore less one."

    I had no idea. I've lived in Baltimore off and on for 30 years, come and gone from the city when not living there full time; it is my legal residence; I was even born there - thought I am streetwise. And yet, I had no idea what a bonanza I'm missing.

    Silly man, I am.

    My Baltimore friends - I thought they were my friends - never told me.

    The creeps.

    So, exactly how does this work - the part about getting my big payday when the police come to arrest me? They've never come to arrest me. Do I have a discrimination case?

    I was just in Baltimore. Not knowing one and one, clueless as I am, I thought things were peachy. There was no shortage of people about, that's for sure; everyone seemed OK to me. I guess I caught them between crimes, police brutalities, and legal claims against one another - or something.

  166. Nobody is addressing the elephant in the room. Detroit, Oakland, Washington, Newark, DC, Baltimore - why can't these cities govern themselves? The answer is not racism or insufficient government spending of somebody else's tax dollars. Will we ever face the facts, or are we too afraid of the accusation of being "racist"?

  167. As a life long Baltimorean and Black American, the patronizing tone of this article annoys the you know what out of me. You talk to residents in Fells Point and one Slick Willy preacher, (do your research) but did you speak to anyone in these "terrible areas." Probably not, you just want to talk about these folks in the abstract so that you can justify your inherent belief in the pathology of black Americans.

  168. Pathology or not, the police in Baltimore are no longer going to risk their lives protecting those that would rather riot because of a thug than would rather follow the rule of law. If all cops are racist, then you will have no rule of law.

  169. "Marquel Averette, who grew up playing football and riding skateboards with Mr. Butler and now owns a barbershop nearby, said his friend’s killing reflected decades of neglect. “When we were young, we had rec centers, we had a community,” he said. Of the police: “Their answer is to arrest everybody.” Of politicians: “We need to clean house.”"

    Notice what is missing from Mr. Averette's list of people to blame? The very people causing the havoc and crime. Somebody else is always to blame, never the "community." Until that inconvenient fact is acknowledged and dealt with, nothing will change in Baltimore, or Ferguson, or any other crime-ridden area of this country.

    Let's also not forget the role the liberal media play in making criminals out to be victims and the police attempting to keep these low-lifes from inflicting their harm on innocent people are labeled as racists, victimizers and monsters. The stunning in crease in murders in Baltimore can at least partly be laid at the feet of the bleeding heart radical left wing media, such as the New York Times, which has encouraged criminality and a "get-soft-on-crime" approach, to disastrous results.

  170. [[ The stunning in crease in murders in Baltimore can at least partly be laid at the feet of the bleeding heart radical left wing media, such as the New York Times, which has encouraged criminality and a "get-soft-on-crime" approach, to disastrous results.]]

    Hilarious! Thanks for the laugh.

  171. I taught in a 97% black high school in North Philly for 4 years, 1974-78. Bill Cosby and La Belle (Mrs. Patti Armisted) were the PTA heavy hitters, trying to make the schools better. A local minister showed color photos from autopsies and crime scenes of dead gangbangers in an assembly when the school year began. It was hard-core, scarier than "The Exorcist" movie that same year. Nothing changed. I next taught (1980-81) in a minority high school in a black middle-class town in NJ; the pathologies differed in degree only, not kind
    When I taught HS again, post bust in 2001, in Salinas, Monterey Co., a 72% Hispanic system (then), except for the accents and surrounding vegetable fields, it was no different than Philly 25 years before -- gangbangers galore. Nothing changes. Baltimore is just a larger version of waterfront Camden, not far away.
    Trump for President: he offers light at the end of the tunnel, scandal-free.

  172. jay, the police need to arrest and try them first. You know what due process is, correct? hayek and Friedman do.

  173. Not too long ago, before gang bangers, drugs, drug lords and the horrendous loss of life due to everyday, commonplace shootings and other mayhem, yes, I would certainly insist upon due process. The world has changed. The only process that is due is removing the gang bangers from the streets and neighborhoods. We're always calling for a stop to gun violence and willing to tramp on the rights of innocent gun owners. No crime, but if liberals would have their way, no one would have gun rights and would be considered b guilty of a crime for simply possessing a firearm. Let's apply that same standard to gang bangers. You're a gang banger, we register you, compel you to get a permit to walk the streets or live in the neighborhood. Maybe we even make you carry an ID with you at all times and prohibit you from living near certain neighborhoods, like sexual predators. Just like gun owners there is no trial. Just a presumption of guilt.
    Why do we tolerate gang bangers? Why? We do we allow our rights to peace, safety and security to be run over? Why?
    Run the gang bangers off the streets. End the drug abuse and violence.

  174. Followed you until your conclusion--Trump??

  175. Prosecuting 6 cops for first degree murder is a symptom of Baltimores ills to be sure. Leadership has made all Black versus White or hands off versus law and order. Unless leadership radically changes, Baltimore is never coming back. The state's attorney for Baltimore must go as a first step toward a possible recovery.

  176. None of the cops are charged with first degree murder. One officer is charged with second degree murder, three are charged with manslaughter, and two are charged with assault and reckless endangerment. All are charged with misconduct in office.

  177. I lived in Baltimore in the past. As a medical student during the riots after MLK was killed, I was most impressed by the reaction of my African American patients. All of them were most worried about their families and property. They were very typical of lower middle class families. Since then Baltimore has fallen apart because it has lost employment for the poorly educated as the public schools are ineffective and the kind of industries that supported Baltimore in the distant past are no more. The new industries require skills that this population does not have especially in the background of racial bias. Baltimore is very much a southern city of a bygone era.
    Without either industries that will provide blue collar jobs or a remarkable change in the school system, Baltimore will continue to flounder.

  178. The public schools are only ineffective for children who do not have families that value education--who are not fed except at school, who are sent without supplies or homework supervision, who are ignored and neglected.

    Stop having kids if you cannot support them financially, emotionally, educationally.

  179. The last republican mayor of Baltimore was elected in 1963.
    Democrats have run this city since 1967. Baltimore is a textbook example of what happens when social justice is championed over accountability and responsibility.

  180. Yes, but of course the fact is that it isn't really "social justice" that is being championed. There's no justice there, just enslavement in the welfare system in exchange for voting for Democrats.

  181. If the police are really the problem, one could simply remove all of the police officers and then the citizens of Baltimore would live on in harmony. The families must take responsibility for their own actions.

  182. Sorry, but Baltimore is a disaster. We stuck it out for 11 years, owned property, ran small businesses, went to jury duty, witnessed hundreds of drug transactions, larcenies, littering, and even awoke one morning to a homicide victim in front of our house. It just too hard. We moved to a city that, while not without issues, basically has it together and now we wonder why we didn't bail sooner. Feeling safe and empowered to walk from place to place feels like heaven.

  183. Baltimore is a city of neighborhoods, many with charm and character, where people walk, shop and enjoy their surroundings. Although I left years ago, I have scores of relatives and friends who remain and manage to enjoy their lives. Calling Baltimore a disaster over-generalizes and does nothing to further this difficult conversation.

  184. Why are some people "poor"? Because the services they are able to provide are of little or no value to anyone else. Sometimes this is the product of poor character (laziness, apathy, etc.), or unfortunate circumstances (illness, abuse, etc.). But mostly (across large groups and without reference to any individual) this is the product low cognitive ability (IQ). That characteristic is significantly (though not exclusively) genetic. The effect is particularly dysgenic in insular, isolated populations, where the first thing someone of "normal" intellectual abilities does is leave (taking their genes with them). Until this taboo is broken, and accepted for what it is, we'll just continue with governmental interventions that are, by definition, incapable of overcoming biology. Indeed, many such policies subsidize procreation, dragging down a population that has a hard enough time supporting itself, much less its unplanned and unwanted children.

  185. I don't believe that IQ is genetic. I believe that valuing education is cultural, and that the underclass in Baltimore doesn't have the culture of education, hard work and achievement. Blacks who try are mocked as acting "white."

    I sat next to a young woman with a toddler for more than an hour in a transit station the other day. The child was not verbal. The mother sat there playing with her iPhone, attending to the child only to yell at her to return. At that age, parents should be talking and interacting with kids nonstop. Kids that age in my neighborhood are all talking, and many would be able to play engaging games on the iPhone. But no. What is this child's future??

  186. The child's future is her genetic past. "Education, hard work and achievement" are all products of, and strongly influenced by, intelligence. They demand an appreciation that near-term sacrifice will probably yield long-term benefit, known as "future time orientation." So the mother, in your example, may be unable to understand that persistent nurturing of the child probably has more value (both to her and the child) than the immediate indulgence of the iPhone. The same goes for saving money, avoiding drugs and alcohol, foregoing sex, working cooperatively with others, generally trusting institutions, being magnanimous in the face of insult or slight, etc. Hoping the mother will "get it", or that there is some magical program that will cause her to do what comes naturally to others, is just wishful thinking. (Of course, I am not picking on this particular parent, as these concepts apply to populations generally, and not individual cases.)

    There is little controversy that IQ is hereditable. The debate generally is the question of the degree, and whether (and how much) interventions can bridge such differences.

  187. The kind of progress Baltimore needs will not be easy. Service and community-oriented policing is very much contrary to the existing trend in American policing. The current trend is stats-driven. Arrest stats and convictions stats tend to make politicians look good, because they seem like concrete progress. But if you talk to people who live in high-crime neighborhoods, those stats usually do not translate to a safer life for them.

    Service-oriented and community-oriented policing is more expensive and provide politicians with political fodder. It means putting more officers on the streets, giving them enough resources so they are not always pressed to respond to the next call, and training officers focus on serving the community. They can actually talk to people in the community, follow up on reported problems, and respond to the community's needs. If you can implement this kind of policing, it will create a safer environment.

    The problem is, cities like Baltimore are often poor. High-crime neighborhoods are often the poorest neighborhood in poor cities. That means the resources they need simply aren't there. So politicians opt for stats-driven policing to generate the illusion of progress. And the vicious circle continues.

  188. People in Baltimore are "poor" and don't have resources because they do not stay in school and do well to get good jobs. Instead, they drop out, have children they can't support, and engage in criminal activity. The chicken and egg story here is backward. There's no dearth of opportunity for people who do the right things. Sadly, there are lots of Black people who do do the smart things yet are preyed upon by the underclass. They are the real victims.

  189. @Avocats

    That's an interesting view. Is it based on your long-time experience of working or living in low-income inner-city neighborhoods? What you claim certainly has not been my experience, having worked in low-income, inner-city neighborhoods and have worked with people from those neighborhoods for quite a few years.

  190. "Baltimore"
    By Randy Newman 1977

    Beat-up little seagull
    On a marble stair
    Tryin' to find the ocean
    Lookin' everywhere

    Hard times in the city
    In a hard town by the sea
    Ain't nowhere to run to
    There ain't nothin' here for free

    Hooker on the corner
    Waitin' for a train
    Drunk lyin' on the sidewalk
    Sleepin' in the rain

    And they hide their faces
    And they hide their eyes
    'Cause the city's dyin'
    And they don't know why

    Oh, Baltimore
    Man, it's hard just to live
    Oh, Baltimore
    Man, it's hard just to live, just to live

    Get my sister Sandy
    And my little brother Ray
    Buy a big old wagon
    Gonna haul us all away

    Livin' in the country
    Where the mountain's high
    Never comin' back here
    'Til the day I die

    Oh, Baltimore
    Man, it's hard just to live
    Oh, Baltimore
    Man, it's hard just to live, just to live

    Oh, Baltimore
    Man, it's hard just to live
    Oh, Baltimore
    Man, it's hard just to live, just to live

  191. Would any sane person, as a police officer in Baltimore (or in many other areas), want to involve themselves in black communities? Look at what happened to Officer Wilson when he shot Michael Brown (who was assaulting him). He was exonerated by two agencies of all wrongdoing, yet he lost his job and had to go into hiding. That message isn't lost on other police officers, most of them having families to support. As to the 6 officers in Baltimore facing felony changes. Imagine the pressure to convict them. Imagine the consequences should they be acquitted. And jury members will be told to ignore this? Does anyone really believe they will be able to do so?

  192. I still like the Baltimore Omni Inner Harbor. And that bookstore put in an old nuclear plant is really cool. I think Baltimore is a really important area in contrast to DC when you want a more ethnic experience. DC is just way to hipster all the time.

  193. "History is fractal, Brian kept saying. The names change but the deep structure remains the same."
    -- Charles Stross; Life's A Game, 2015 --

    I have lived less than ten miles from the center of Baltimore for over thirty years. The decay was already starting with the departure of manufacturing, heavy industry, and port businesses. It accelerated to frightening speeds with the appearance of crack cocaine.

    I know how facile what I am about to write is, but that doesn't make it any less true. If one wants to understand the fundamentals of Baltimore and the depth of its problems, simply watch all five seasons of "The Wire".

    By the end of that series, I no longer saw ethnicity. I just saw people in all the forms of good and bad they become. All of them, it seems, are unknowingly caught in a bight of history. Time moves forward, the names change, but the structural issues persist like a curse.

    I have no answers to offer, only this observation.

  194. If only the gangsters were all like the smart guy in the Wire, and got into legit businesses.

  195. Question: Of the 15 cities with the highest murder rates, guess how many are (have been) governed predominantly by Democrats?

    Answer: 15

    It could be a coincidence . . .

  196. Hmm, I wonder which party primarily governs the 15 states with the highest murder rates, most of them in the south. Care to venture a guess, Matt?

  197. If New York had the same murder rate as Baltimore, there would have been over 3,500 murders so far this year. Just horrific.

  198. Well let me just say that I think Baltimore is wonderful, and I wish the very best to the people who live there.

  199. In response to Karin Tracy: we moved to Baltimore 20 years ago. I started a business on the top floor of a four story building overlooking the inner Harbor, around the corner from our town house on a quiet, leafy street. We spent the first two years listen to the telephone not ring, but the business was sustained by high-tech infrastructure and numerous high-tech clients in Baltimore. When we retired with the business in seven figures we moved to a penthouse condo overlooking a park. Two of our four kids live a 20 min. drive away, in green suburbs. We are a 15 min. drive from the best hospital in the world, 5 min. from the I-95 corridor, 15 min. from the airport, 10 min. from an ACELA train to New York, 10 min. from great theater (park outside), a magnificent library (park outside) walking distance from shops and restaurants. Oh, and are within cheering distance from Ravens Stadium and the ballpark, when there's something to cheer about. And no, we are not "rich," but we are certainly well-off, if that phrase is defined by the kind of life well lived that is possible in this town. Are we careful? Yes. This is a tough city, like most cities – it's not Minnesota. But we have never, fingers crossed, been directly touched by serious crime. And of course we know that there are a lot of people in this town who do not live as well as we and our friends do.

    And we know that we have to live together, and work at it, but we will.

  200. Greg, I'm really happy that your experience has worked out so well - truly. And I can tell exactly what part of town you live in and it is beautiful. For us, waking up a few weeks before Christmas to find our house behind police tape and a poor young man shot to death 10 feet from the front door was the straw that broke the camel's back. We just could not live under fear any more - and, fwiw, we lived by Patterson Park in a beautiful home. So we certainly had a "better" Baltimore experience than many, many residents. Even still...

  201. You will remember that the DA in the Freddie Gray case indicted without a prior investigation. At the time, she won praise because everyone knew that white cops who kill unarmed blacks are criminals. But after the cameras have disappeared, the DA has a difficult prosecution because the collective wisdom at the time of death is wrong. Proving that the cops acted criminally is extremely difficult and the DA's Office would have benefited from a pre-indictment review. The DA defused anger at the time of the death, but has created a new crisis. It's hard to say whether defusing the early anger was more important than indicting a clean case. But the real harm in her action is that 6 police officers have been charged with homicide and chances are that some or all of them never should have been charged.

  202. Your facts are wrong. Six police were not charged with homicide. There was an investigation. This information is easily available. Perhaps you should read more before forming an opinion.

  203. Check to see how long the DA took to "investigate" this. It wasn't an investigation, it was a rush to judgment, politically motivated.

  204. Pardon me. Four were charged with homicide (involuntary manslaughter). Two were charged with second degree assault. The indictments were returned two months before the autopsy report. Sure, there was a cursory pre-indictment investigation. But she indicted before knowing the cause of death. You found a couple of small inaccuracies that don't change the overall point. That is intellectually dishonest.

  205. "Fragile Baltimore Struggles to Heal After Deadly Police Encounter"

    I guess the riot, burning and looting did nothing to affect Baltimore, just the "deadly police encounter."

  206. Given how federal, state and city officials stand down while the rioting is underway, one might conclude they consider the rioting part of that "healing."

  207. I've been to Baltimore a number of times in the last 10-15 years and it gets better every year. And though I am not generally in impoverished neighborhoods, I have spent time in areas that were not too long before slums or were still partially depressed and the gentrification is impressive (though I know for some that is a dirty word). It's a lot of work, takes a lot of money and time to transform neighborhoods. Regrettably, the leadership of the city now seems to me to have bought into a world view of victimization, separationism and anti-police rhetoric, though police reform, discipline and training should be an ongoing process everywhere. I will wait until the trial before perhaps forming a judgment on the guilt or innocence of the officers charged with Gray's death, depending on the evidence, not the media's take on it.

  208. Yeah? I was a Sunday partial plan holder for the Orioles when they played at Memorial. To save cash and avoid having my car blocked in, I'd often park as far away as North Charles Street. My car never came to harm. Nor did I. So this was 1988-1991. Don't think I'd do that today. Sometimes I did it for night games, when I had to exchange tickets due to rainouts or such. Certainly not today.

    Now, David, did you ever venture further north on the streets than, say, the exit to I-83? I say the people of Baltimore have chosen to destroy their neighborhoods.

  209. Sure, I have been North of I-83 many times. Not exactly sure what you mean (or think I mean), or how we might differ, except, I would not say "the people of Baltimore," without qualifying it with the word "some." I expect most of them want the best city they can have.

  210. I live in Baltimore. There won't be real change because the city won't acknowledge the problems. And theres plenty. The entire political system is broke. Baltimore City schools spend the 2nd most per student per capita of any city yet have one of the worst school systems. City politicians say "we need to invest in or schools," well you get the 2nd most already. If they get more money do you think that it'll actually go to the schools? So where does the money go? Considering that not a single city agency has had a real audit in a decade you won't get an answer. The admin building and teachers union don't have a problem though. Also, if you can't say how the money is spent how can you justify an increase? The property taxes are the highest in the state. It's not the money, its how it's spent. Theres no accountability and the voting will never change. When you read quotes from residents in impoverished areas it gives names and ages. It's so common to see a 22yr old mother of 5, a 35yr old grandma, and none of them having the same last name. It doesn't take a degree to know that if you have multiple children with multiple men you're probably not giving yourself a great chance. How do those kids grow up to act? Walk around here and you will see. People have called for the mayor to resign, it won't matter. How do you think she go the job in the first place? The city will just put in another democrat from the city council. Its not PC to discuss the real problems in Baltimore.

  211. Michael - "...City politicians say "we need to invest in or schools,"

    The siren song of the Democratic party, more money needed, raise taxes!

  212. Baltimore city schools are tasked with addressing all the effects of poverty that other school districts are not. I graduated from Montgomery County public schools in the 90s and my son now goes to school in Baltimore public schools. Montgomery County isn't providing free breakfast and lunch for all of it's students and buying groceries for the poorest students on a weekly basis. Decades of deferred maintenance have also taken their toll on the infrastructure of Baltimore. Not fixing things has become very expensive. It is unfair to compare to dissimilar school systems.

  213. My then fiance and I went to an Orioles game in 2014, stayed in a nice hotel 5 blocks away and got engaged that same night on the Inner Harbor promenade. It was great! Contrast that Grade "A" part of Baltimore with driving back out towards I-95 and being panhandled at the gas station across the street from a liquor store and check cashing establishment.

  214. Oh god, pan handled! That could only happen in Baltimore. No one in NY, or DC or Philly or Boston, or Atlanta, or Toronto, or Milan, or Rome, or Miami or any other city in the world would ever ask for spare change. And at a gas station, man what did you do?

  215. After deadly police encounter? ONE incident is what caused Baltimore's problems? And how do you define "healing"?

    Baltimore is a large city with a sizable middle class and is doing pretty well. What needs healing is the dysfunctional underclass that drops out of school, joins gangs and has lots of kids while without any means of supporting them, financially or any other way.

    Every person in Baltimore has opportunity. They need to use it. One police incident is no excuse.

  216. How come it's ok when predominately preppy white college kids go on am alcohol fueled rampage after their " insert sports team of choice, " wins the championship or some cases loses.

  217. JoeSixPack- people bring up this canard every time to silence legitimate criticism. The only sports riot that was predominantly white was in Vancouver about 15 years ago. The "preppy white college kid" riots usual last 15 minutes. The Baltimore and Ferguson riots, like the LA riots in the 90's, went on for weeks and targeted poor minority business owners. If "preppy white college kids" did the same they would be labeled hate crimes and the police would never allow the mob violence against poor minorities of color to go on as long as they did.

  218. Hi Joe- I live in a college town and unfortunately those "predominately preppy white college kids" also contribute to decreased quality of life for residents - even working class white residents like myself who resent their entitled attitudes FWIW.

  219. Sounds like the protesters got what they asked for, less police interference in their neighborhoods.

  220. Are you sure we're not talking about 1968?

  221. Baltimore is in such a sorry state primarily because our system of local government, while not ideal, works reasonably for most American jurisdictions. It is ultimately based on the principle that people "vote with their feet". If your neighborhood strikes you as beyond redemption, you move. We are seeing it now as young college trained workers have begun to leave the suburbs of their families in favor of "gentrified" city centers. After about 1980, political will, popular enlightenment, and legal action finally enabled Black Americans to move from ghettoes to the burbs. Not surprisingly, a slight majority of American Blacks now live in suburbs.
    The first wave of brave Black migrants to the North made it to places like Boston, NY, Chicago, and the Twin Cities. This minority of Southern Blacks least devastated by ante-bellum racism had the optimism, energy and skills necessary to break through into the White middle class - in spite of fierce competition from migrants from Southern and Eastern Europe. But several American cities located squarely along the main migration routes from the Jim Crow South to the promised land of the North absorbed relatively few middle class Blacks and relatively many rural Black victims of sharecropper oppression in the Southern Black-Belt that ran from S.C. to Mississippi. So these unfortunate cities had too many people with too few resources when LBJ started the Great Society programs. Too much, too late, to do any good.

  222. Baltimore has a large, educated black middle class and has since before the great migration, as does DC. You are comparing Baltimore to cities like Memphis. Your comparison is a bad one. Baltimore has the same problems as every other large urban area has. Baltimore's problems are Philly's problems, Chicago's problems, Detroit's problems.

  223. We can legislate action and policy until blue in the face, but we can't legislate attitudes- and the prevailing thought which weaves through the lower income sections of Baltimore [and other major U.S. cities] revolve around suspicion and mistrust of their police force. Rightfully so no doubt, but how to you begin to repair damages and degradation that are generational in some of these communities?

    For example, the 50 year anniversary of the Watts Riots in L.A. was marked this year and opened discussions from the community, many of whom are still reeling in contempt and scorn for LAPD five decades later. The problem is every time a new "racial incident" occurs between police and community, a new wound appears while the old wounds resurface and fester.

  224. Still waiting for Rawlings-Blake to take ANY responsibility for what happened to Freddie Gray. She runs the Police Department there and is 100% responsible for their actions.

    Instead she whines like she's a victim herself, pausing only long enough to say that she won't run again. Reminds me of Kathleen Blanco, the governor of Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina. She would only testify in front of Congress if no one was allowed to ask her questions.

    Where are the Democrat LEADERS? You know, the Democrats willing to step up and take some responsibility?

  225. Until we all agree to address the problem head on, which is sadly right now a broken culture of lack of adequate education, family breakdown, lack of father's in the lives of the beautiful children, and lack of taking personal responsibility, all we are doing is "putting lipstick on a pig." Everyone else is not to blame, there is a time and it's now to look ourselves in the mirror and say, " what have I done (myself) to change my own life's circumstances for my family." There are 320 million people in this country, no on cares about you but yourself. With love I say this. Government is your worst enemy. God help Baltimore, until people reclaim their lives, nothing with ever change

  226. I went down to Baltimore recently for my niece's wedding and had a great time. Inner Harbor is beautiful and you could tell people appreciated your not succumbing to the fear mongering. It's a beautiful place and people were out and about walking at night. Don't stigmatize all the good people and things in Baltimore. You'll be pleasantly surprised too.

  227. It's as if I'm reading about detroit 20 years ago. Won't turn out well.

  228. When i think about Baltimore and Ferguson and then read about the cry to remove prison sentences for low level crimes I'm afraid. Afraid for those living in dysfunctional cities and afraid for areas nearby that will be at risk for the overflow of violence.

    What im not afraid of is to say this is not the result of racism. To those blacks in the blm organization - you perpetuate this pain. Shame on you.

  229. Of course it is the result of racism. The poverty and isolation of inner city areas did not happen by accident. It was policy for the better part of a century. Merely electing black officials won't wipe away the damage done by such policies.

    And ending mass incarceration for low level offenses is precisely the right step. Sending young people to jail for petty offenses does nothing but inculcate them into the prison culture and foreclose most legitimate jobs to them. It is a practice that guarantees more crime and it s high time we adopted more enlightened policies.

  230. Given the terror murder and crime rate in Baltimore, it is clear that the residents need to be protected from themselves. Paradoxically, they view the police with hatred, while complaining about the lawlessness of their streets.

    If they truly wished to stop the random murders of innocents, they would embrace a stop and frisk program and end the bizarre "no snitching" culture.

    Similarly, they don't seem to grasp how rampant crime keeps them in an economic desert. No sane business seeks to operate in a climate of continual crime.

    Their twisted value system condemns them and no outside force can change things until they recognize that they are their own worst enemy.

  231. This is the predictable result of demonizing cops and making; as one astute "white" person in the article stated of "making the lawless a protected class". Then the real issue was casually mentioned later - that the new mayor will be determined by the democratic primary. Maybe after 50 plus years of democratic; racial and victim based politics; the population of Baltimore would be better served by the second coming of Rudy Giuliani - again as mentioned by another "white" citizen.
    It won't happen of course. Baltimore gets the government it has chosen and foolishly will choose again.

  232. The irony is so strong in this article. Take for example the reverend in the article who is organizing demonstrations against the police and being charged for attempting to incite a riot. Meanwhile he says he's tired of families broken by senseless gun violence and he's planning a we can't stand another homicide rally.

    If these people had any sense at all they would have realized the cops are the ones protecting them against violent thugs and homicides but instead the cops are the enemies. How outlandish is that? How do you expect the cops to do their jobs when all of them hate the cops and antagonize them at every turn just because they're cops.