THE IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION IN BALTIMORE

Well, May is over.  And, via the Washington Post\’s editorial this morning, here is how Baltimore made out:

May was the most lethal month in the city in more than 40 years; in per capita terms, it may have been the bloodiest month since recordkeeping began.

There were 43 victims of homicide in the city last month, the most since August 1972, when Baltimore\’s population, now 600,000, was about 900,000. In addition, there were 108 nonfatal shootings in May, nearly triple the number recorded the same month last year. Over the three-day Memorial Day weekend alone, the city recorded 32 shootings and nine homicides.

Those statistics are breathtakingly ugly.  But there\’s more ugliness where they came from.  Also in the Post editorial, we have this:

As Baltimore\’s streets succumb to the wave of carnage, the police have simply withdrawn, by many accounts. Harassed, hooted at and openly hated in the wake of the arrest of Freddie Gray, whose death in custody triggered the rioting in April, uniformed officers seem to have decided not to do their jobs.

Arrests, already down from 2014 levels before the rioting, have plummeted by more than 50 percent since then. Community leaders in Sandtown – the area where Mr. Gray was arrested – say there is a deliberate effort on the police department\’s part to vacate the streets and see how the community likes it.

Are Baltimore police backing off aggressive police work out of fear that if they make one mistake, however small, it will be their lives on the line instead of the criminals they are trying to police?  I have no doubt the answer is yes.

Are Baltimore police going a step further and backing off aggressive police work to give people who made their dislike of cops crystal clear a taste of what happens without them – i.e.  to “vacate the streets and see how the community likes it”?  I have no doubt the answer is yes to that as well.

And, if so, who is supposed to do something about it?

Shamefully, the only political official the Washington Post cites in its editorial is Governor Larry Hogan – whom the Post makes sure to identify as a Republican – for talking a good game but not doing enough to smooth things out in the post-riot period and and get the city back to something approaching normal.

Amazing.  Baltimore has been a one party – Democrat – town for a half century, during which it has devolved from a successful, vibrant city into the mess we see today…and somehow, in this editorial, the blame begins and ends with a Republican who took office all of five months ago.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake – Democrat – who told the police to stand down during a destructive riot and famously told us afterwards she gave street thugs “space to destroy”?  Not one word tying her in any way to what has happened since…and certainly not one word criticizing her for it.  No, that is reserved exclusively for Governor Hogan.

Ditto for the grandstanding, hopelessly compromised State\’s Attorney marilyn mosby – also a Democrat.  Nowhere in its editorial can the Washington Post find space to note her ridiculous overcharging of the Baltimore 6, her apparent lie that the knife Freddie Gray carried was legal, or her connections to the City Councilperson who represents Gray\’s area (her husband Chuck Mosely) and the lawyer representing Freddie Gray\’s family (a big contributor to her campaign and member of her transition team).  Nope, that had nothing to do with anything either.  Just plug Larry Hogan into the editorial and no one else has to be mentioned.

Baltimore faces what looks to be an impossible situation.  It is a high crime city, in chaos, with the police – partly for defensive reasons, partly for vindictive reasons – less willing to perform as they need to, with an incompetent Mayor, a compromised State Attorney….. and a Governor who, somehow, is supposed to make this all better?  How?????

I pity every decent citizen there.

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