The mayor says violence in Baltimore is “out of control.” Hard to disagree — unless you consider a dark rebuttal:
The head-shooting street assassins — these guys are in control.
And their grip is tightening. We sped past 300 and last year’s death toll with more than a month left in 2017.
A popular, usually smiling detective died of a Nov. 15 gunshot wound. Sean Suiter might have been anyone’s father or son. Mystery comes along with his killing.
Who killed him? A sniper? Did he shoot himself? Did his impending trial testimony have anything to do with his death? No suspects.
Murder on the Baltimore Express.
“Do not resist” may become Baltimore’s watch words. A shopper in Curtis Bay who told friends he would never hand over his money paid the price for his promise.
More people have been shot as if to keep pace with the city’s more than one killing a day record for 2017.
Baltimore County officials decide young people cannot come to the city to march in Mayor Catherine Pugh’s parade. The mayor’s frustrated “out-of-control” pronouncement has been heard.
Not to worry! You’re safe in the city — with some exceptions. Not so true anymore, if ever. And when was it ever all right to say all’s well so long as violence stays in certain neighborhoods?
It’s not staying there. There’s no way to quarantine out-of-control violence.
If you are walking anywhere in Baltimore now you have to be thinking: Someone could come up to me or my daughter or my partner with a gun. I have to be thinking of that possibility now or I’m irresponsible, not living in the real world.
What kind of city has carefree walking? A friend in Charles Village looks for one of the Johns Hopkins University’s lime green-hatted guards to walk her home after she parks her car.
And of course we are on our own. U.S. cities are dying as the Congress decides to give corporations every spare nickel. The current tax reform bill would leave nothing to combat a national epidemic of killing — if there were any interest in facing the problem.
Do the criminals know this? Are they licensed by this? Does any mayor asks President Trump to intervene? No governor seems to be contemplating use of the National Guard.
Why not? Because it is seen as an admission of failure and defeat. Why not send guardsmen and guardswomen into neighborhoods where the killing is most intense and most frequent? Why don’t we revive the ceasefire idea of offering help in exchange for truce? Or is that another admission of failure?
Actually, we’re beyond that concern. How much more failure is there after you say the situation is out of control?
What if they gave a crisis and nobody came? Who you gonna call? Are the Ghostbusters available?
We are becoming a can’t-do society.
At Suiter’s funeral Wednesday, the mayor repeated her call for more police. Gov. Larry Hogan stood in solidarity with her, promising to find the killer. A multitude of police officers mourned the loss of their brother. Motorists stood along the funeral route, some of them saluting.
At this moment there were no questions about police-community relations. Here, no doubt, is one way out of no way. The slain cop offers a moment of reconciliation — the potential for that coming together at least.
Surely the city will take control of its streets again.
We will do it for him. And for his family. And for ourselves.
C. Fraser Smith is a writer in Baltimore. His column appears Fridays in The Daily Record. He can be reached at [email protected].