It was a sad way to end a weekend that began filled with hope.
The “Nobody Kill Anybody” weekend that many Baltimore faithful hoped might signal the turning point in a war on violent crime, ended just as so many other weekends in Baltimore have… with death.
Organizers of the anti-violence effort begged, pleaded, and hoped that the city’s criminal element could go just 3 days with being forced to kill. They lasted 40 hours, a small victory to be sure, but after just 45-hours… 2 more of Baltimore’s citizens were dead from the violence. The city couldn’t even go 2-days, let alone 3.
Community activist Erricka Bridgeford and many of her fellow citizens had spent days trying to drum up support for their effort. They used the internet, word of mouth, and even went door-to-door throughout the city trying to persuade Baltimore’s “toughts” to take a break for the weekend. They also tried to activate the law abiding citizens of Baltimore to fight back and retake their city from the criminal element that has sown such fear and pain into their streets.
Before the hoped-for cessation of violence, Bridgeford and other community leaders hit the streets of West Baltimore, urging drug dealers and gang members to put their guns down.
“This is about a culture shift,” she said. “It’s about helping people realize they have a choice in their decision-making. Not just about committing violence but about feeling hopeless that there’s nothing we can do about the level of violence in our communities.”
With Saturday’s deaths making it 210 homicides so far this year — compared with 318 for all of 2016, according to a tally by The Baltimore Sun — and police-community relations stretched thin, some residents had doubted the ceasefire would succeed. Others had seen it as a way to start taking back control of crime-plagued neighborhoods.
The city has been reeling since the death of Freddie Gray and the besieged police department is struggling to maintain any semblance of order.
Saturday’s killings weren’t the only gun violence-incidents. Baltimore police said a victim of a different shooting was wounded and walked into a hospital.
In addition to the soaring homicide rate in the city of about 615,000 people, the beleaguered police department has struggled to restore public confidence. In recent weeks, videos emerged that appeared to show Baltimore police officers planting drugs during arrests.
In March, seven Baltimore officers were charged in federal court with robbing citizens, filing false reports and claiming overtime fraudulently. Two former officers recently pleaded guilty.
In April, a federal judge approved a consent decree after a Justice Department report uncovered wide racial disparity in how the Baltimore police treat citizens. The federal oversight stemmed from a civil rights investigation launched after the death of Gray, who suffered a fatal injury while in police custody.
Six officers were indicted on a range of charges in connection with Gray’s death. Three of them were acquitted, and in July 2016, prosecutors dropped charges against the remaining three.
The pain and fear in Baltimore is palpable, and many on the right point to the city as proof that Democrat policies (on economics, crime, justice, and more) simply do not work. That being said, no one wants to see the kind of suffering that is playing out in America’s cities today. Sadly, until the liberal leaders that run these urban areas refuse to allow corruption into their cities, and stop playing politics with conservative ideas that could really help their cities… I fear we’ll not see an end to these 3rd world communities in our 1st world nation.
Conservative policies, ideas, and philosophies can help the people living in America’s cities… if only voters would give them a chance.