Friday, April 8, 2011
Baltimore Homicides: Early 2011 Report
Those who live in the neighborhoods where the violence exists must feel like disposable citizens. At times, being shut in their houses to avoid the violence outside, they see the body bags and hear the frantic crying of another mother whose son is gone. In the land of opportunity the culture of murder and culture of despair live side-by-side. Some are blameless. some are perpetrators. Clearly, society's institutions are failing horribly starting with schools that don't educate, discipline or prepare.
As long as these murders happen in someone else's neighborhood and God forbid, avoid the downtown hot-spots: Mt. Vernon Square, the Inner Harbor, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Canton, Guilford, Homewood, Mt. Washington, and Little Italy, they might as well be in Los Angeles. No new social programs, no increased spending, no "crackdowns" will accomplish ANYTHING until values change. Those outside of the killing zone must accept that every life matters. In the killing zone, residents must stop seeing the police as their enemies. They must demand their streets belong to them not the hoodlums. From a child's earliest entry into society's systems, starting with pre-school and ratcheting up during school, productive values must be taught and practiced. Kids need positive roll models, hope, and clear expectations. That it's okay to skip school, steal, take drugs, bully others, and hang out in gangs must be countered with REAL options. Justice must be fair, immediate, and deserving.
Warm weather is coming. The homicides per week will be going up soon. While the murder rate is down significantly from over 300 a year and will remain so at this year's pace, how many other subdivisions in Maryland will come close to the number of killings in Baltimore by year's end. Right now, the year is just a little over finished its first quarter.
How often do we hear guns kill? The truth is the decades of excuses and inaction are far more lethal.