Baltimore: the Epilogue

It has been less than two months since the Baltimore riots. Predictably, Charm City has slipped from mainstream news, since there is nothing currently "newsworthy" that advances the Left's agenda. The aftermath of the insurrection is notable, nonetheless, as sad tribute to the hopelessness of destructive liberal solutions.

Maryland has some of the strictest firearms laws in the nation. Yet, Baltimore's gun-related crimes have soared to highs not seen in over 40 years. As of June 1, 2015, shootings are up 82.5% over the same five-month period last year. While homicides are "only" up 43%, the number of non-fatal shootings have risen to almost double that number. The epicenter of this horrific epidemic is, of course, the inner city venue for the rioting. Over Memorial Day weekend alone, there were 9 homicides and approximately 30 non-fatal shootings, including that of a 9-year-old boy who was shot in the leg  

The skyrocketing crime statistics tell only a fraction of the story. An initial joint state and federal assessment revealed that some 284 businesses and homes were damaged or destroyed by rioters and fire and the cost for that destruction is around $9 million. These estimates are preliminary, as more recent estimates peg the number of businesses damaged or destroyed at 350. While some large retailers have announced plans to rebuild in the area, it remains to be seen whether that happens. The fate of many small, family-owned shops is unknown. Few individuals may have the fortitude or finances to reopen.  And with the mayor's recent push to deny riot recovery loans for rebuilding to liquor stores, even some folks who have the stomach to try again will be forced to open elsewhere 

How much did the riots cost the local taxpayers? According to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, $20 million. She requested this additional amount from the city's shrinking rainy day fund to cover riot-related over-time, equipment, and public works costs. This budget augmentation is just for the budget ending June 30, 2015, so there will surely be more supplementation to come.

The responses to the post-riot reality create quite a dystopian mosaic.

Government at every level has approached the task of "community healing" with a seemingly uniform message: "The riots against police racism were righteous. There will be no consequences for your anarchy." On May 6, 2015 Governor Hogan promptly announced creation of a fund to pay for the rebuilding of all that the rioters destroyed.  Not to be outdone, on May 7, 2015 Mayor Rawlings-Blake hastily called a press conference to announce the creation of her own fund, One Baltimore; a public-private partnership with vague goals that mimic precisely what government has been claiming to do for years. Staged in front of the burned-out CVS store, the mayor uttered not a word of rebuke or indignation over the mindless, lawless destruction of private businesses that served the locals. Her message, instead, conveyed the notion that someone else would pay to rebuild the community just taken down, so, "no worries."

The State's Attorney office is also giving free passes to riot-related lawbreakers. Unwilling to fight the battle with the public defender's office over whether the curfew imposed by the mayor was legal, State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby has simply dropped charges against those arrested for curfew violation during the riots. People who were arrested on additional charges of assault or disorderly conduct may still face prosecution. Over 100 arrested during the rioting on other, unspecified charges were also released from jail due to the inability of police to process charging paperwork within 24 hours while at the same time manning the streets during curfew and rioting. Again, the public defender demanded the release and the State's Attorney office rolled over without a fight. More recently, with time on her hands after that concert with Prince and stint as ringmaster at the circus, Ms. Mosby has imported a new criminal diversion program that is the current rage in inner cities. Dubbed by Mosby "Aim To B'More," it will allow first time felony drug offenders record expungement for completion of certain activities. Mosby touted this program as a solution to recidivism and joblessness. Perhaps those felons who complete a GED as a condition of exoneration will help Ms. Mosby with her spelling too. Never shy about grabbing the public spotlight to promote herself, Ms. Mosby has been silent about arrests and planned vigorous prosecutions of the arsonists, looters, and rioters who ripped apart this city.

Not to be overshadowed by his wife, Councilman Nick Mosby, who represents the riot-ravaged area, has his own nostrum for moving the community forward in the wake of the riots. On May 15th, he brought Baltimore-born rappers to several public high schools to "inspire" the students; students attending schools with the worst state averages for college readiness and English and math proficiency. Featured in the "#EYEAMBaltimore Tour" were such positive role models as Young Moose, Lor Scoota, and Chino. Lor Scoota is famous for a "crack rap" called "Bird Flu" the lyrics of which include "I think I got the bird flu/I'm tired of selling packs I think I need a bird or two/We selling scramble, coke and smack/Keep them junkies coming back." Having "bird flu" means wanting to increase the quantity of drugs you sell. A "brick" is a brick of cocaine. A "pack" is a small, baggy-size amount of cocaine. Young Moose, aka Kevron Evans, has quite a rap sheet (no pun intended) for drug related charges. While on probation for drug convictions in 2012 and 2013, Young Moose was arrested again in 2014 for selling drugs and indicted.  His inspirational message to the hundreds of students he addressed was "Sometimes you got to go through stuff before you get where you're going.  Keep grinding."

Chino, in addition to rapping about "bitches" and "niggers," is apparently part of an illegal street biking subculture in Baltimore that enjoys taunting the police. The favored dirt bikes are extremely noisy and "stunters" who ride these machines on just the back wheel pose serious danger to themselves and others. Police policy prohibits cops from chasing the bikers to arrest them, so they ride in packs of up to 100 throughout the city with impunity.School administrators clearly agreed with Mr. Mosby that struggling students would be better served by a session with glorified lowlifes than by classroom instruction in the 3 R's or a lesson in lawful protest and personal responsibility.

Police Commissioner Anthony Batts predictably assumes no blame for and offers no solutions to the skyrocketing crime plaguing West Baltimore. Gangs, a fixture of Baltimore's inner city for years, are the newest excuse for Batts' professional impotence. He claims over 175,000 units of drugs were looted from local pharmacies during the "protests against Freddie Gray's death" and are now on the streets, sparking drug and turf wars which the police are unable to halt .Batts’ prescription for restoring order includes "teaching officers to say hello," fostering more police-community interaction by dispatching police to community centers, and listening to community demands for health centers to help people deal with their diabetes, job training programs, and sports leagues 

And what is the response of the people who live in the area decimated by the rioters and looters? It is equally as disturbing as that of government officials. Some have come to realize an unsurprising truth: without law enforcement, there is no order. The open drug markets and rampant brazen gang crime prove the point. Yet, those in the community who want order restored seem unwilling to help identify the criminal actors so they can be taken off the streets and prosecuted.  Baltimore's destructive tradition of "anti-snitching" may play a part in the reluctance to finger criminals. The masterpiece of local rapper Skinny Suge, the "Stop F**king Snitching" DVD featuring Carmelo Anthony, glamorized a code of silence within the black community. Retribution for working with law enforcement to clean up a neighborhood can be swift and ugly. Ironicially, Suge's own 14-year-old son was murdered in Baltimore in 2014. The murder remains unsolved.

Others continue to agitate and foment friction between law enforcement and the crime-plagued residents. One local activist openly supports the newest tactic of swarming police when they respond to an incident. Huge groups routinely surround the officers and stick handheld cameras in their faces while the cops try to do their jobs. This kind of taunting and threat to the officers is tolerated because Batts does not want any situation to escalate into more unrest. Appeasement is more important than officer safety in the contemporary model of community policing.

Still other residents look for "healing"  through Freddie Gray memorial artwork or planting a community garden. While locals bemoan the lack of public money for these neighborhood "beautification" efforts, the city is currently paying a graffiti artist $50,000 to paint catchy words in bright colors on swaths of abandoned buildings slated for demolition as early as next month. 

What is strikingly absent from the aftermath is any notion of personal responsibility for either the destruction or the rebuilding of the community. Perhaps it is just easier to embrace the staggering dysfunction and believe that government will take care of everything.

It has been less than two months since the Baltimore riots. Predictably, Charm City has slipped from mainstream news, since there is nothing currently "newsworthy" that advances the Left's agenda. The aftermath of the insurrection is notable, nonetheless, as sad tribute to the hopelessness of destructive liberal solutions.

Maryland has some of the strictest firearms laws in the nation. Yet, Baltimore's gun-related crimes have soared to highs not seen in over 40 years. As of June 1, 2015, shootings are up 82.5% over the same five-month period last year. While homicides are "only" up 43%, the number of non-fatal shootings have risen to almost double that number. The epicenter of this horrific epidemic is, of course, the inner city venue for the rioting. Over Memorial Day weekend alone, there were 9 homicides and approximately 30 non-fatal shootings, including that of a 9-year-old boy who was shot in the leg  

The skyrocketing crime statistics tell only a fraction of the story. An initial joint state and federal assessment revealed that some 284 businesses and homes were damaged or destroyed by rioters and fire and the cost for that destruction is around $9 million. These estimates are preliminary, as more recent estimates peg the number of businesses damaged or destroyed at 350. While some large retailers have announced plans to rebuild in the area, it remains to be seen whether that happens. The fate of many small, family-owned shops is unknown. Few individuals may have the fortitude or finances to reopen.  And with the mayor's recent push to deny riot recovery loans for rebuilding to liquor stores, even some folks who have the stomach to try again will be forced to open elsewhere 

How much did the riots cost the local taxpayers? According to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, $20 million. She requested this additional amount from the city's shrinking rainy day fund to cover riot-related over-time, equipment, and public works costs. This budget augmentation is just for the budget ending June 30, 2015, so there will surely be more supplementation to come.

The responses to the post-riot reality create quite a dystopian mosaic.

Government at every level has approached the task of "community healing" with a seemingly uniform message: "The riots against police racism were righteous. There will be no consequences for your anarchy." On May 6, 2015 Governor Hogan promptly announced creation of a fund to pay for the rebuilding of all that the rioters destroyed.  Not to be outdone, on May 7, 2015 Mayor Rawlings-Blake hastily called a press conference to announce the creation of her own fund, One Baltimore; a public-private partnership with vague goals that mimic precisely what government has been claiming to do for years. Staged in front of the burned-out CVS store, the mayor uttered not a word of rebuke or indignation over the mindless, lawless destruction of private businesses that served the locals. Her message, instead, conveyed the notion that someone else would pay to rebuild the community just taken down, so, "no worries."

The State's Attorney office is also giving free passes to riot-related lawbreakers. Unwilling to fight the battle with the public defender's office over whether the curfew imposed by the mayor was legal, State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby has simply dropped charges against those arrested for curfew violation during the riots. People who were arrested on additional charges of assault or disorderly conduct may still face prosecution. Over 100 arrested during the rioting on other, unspecified charges were also released from jail due to the inability of police to process charging paperwork within 24 hours while at the same time manning the streets during curfew and rioting. Again, the public defender demanded the release and the State's Attorney office rolled over without a fight. More recently, with time on her hands after that concert with Prince and stint as ringmaster at the circus, Ms. Mosby has imported a new criminal diversion program that is the current rage in inner cities. Dubbed by Mosby "Aim To B'More," it will allow first time felony drug offenders record expungement for completion of certain activities. Mosby touted this program as a solution to recidivism and joblessness. Perhaps those felons who complete a GED as a condition of exoneration will help Ms. Mosby with her spelling too. Never shy about grabbing the public spotlight to promote herself, Ms. Mosby has been silent about arrests and planned vigorous prosecutions of the arsonists, looters, and rioters who ripped apart this city.

Not to be overshadowed by his wife, Councilman Nick Mosby, who represents the riot-ravaged area, has his own nostrum for moving the community forward in the wake of the riots. On May 15th, he brought Baltimore-born rappers to several public high schools to "inspire" the students; students attending schools with the worst state averages for college readiness and English and math proficiency. Featured in the "#EYEAMBaltimore Tour" were such positive role models as Young Moose, Lor Scoota, and Chino. Lor Scoota is famous for a "crack rap" called "Bird Flu" the lyrics of which include "I think I got the bird flu/I'm tired of selling packs I think I need a bird or two/We selling scramble, coke and smack/Keep them junkies coming back." Having "bird flu" means wanting to increase the quantity of drugs you sell. A "brick" is a brick of cocaine. A "pack" is a small, baggy-size amount of cocaine. Young Moose, aka Kevron Evans, has quite a rap sheet (no pun intended) for drug related charges. While on probation for drug convictions in 2012 and 2013, Young Moose was arrested again in 2014 for selling drugs and indicted.  His inspirational message to the hundreds of students he addressed was "Sometimes you got to go through stuff before you get where you're going.  Keep grinding."

Chino, in addition to rapping about "bitches" and "niggers," is apparently part of an illegal street biking subculture in Baltimore that enjoys taunting the police. The favored dirt bikes are extremely noisy and "stunters" who ride these machines on just the back wheel pose serious danger to themselves and others. Police policy prohibits cops from chasing the bikers to arrest them, so they ride in packs of up to 100 throughout the city with impunity.School administrators clearly agreed with Mr. Mosby that struggling students would be better served by a session with glorified lowlifes than by classroom instruction in the 3 R's or a lesson in lawful protest and personal responsibility.

Police Commissioner Anthony Batts predictably assumes no blame for and offers no solutions to the skyrocketing crime plaguing West Baltimore. Gangs, a fixture of Baltimore's inner city for years, are the newest excuse for Batts' professional impotence. He claims over 175,000 units of drugs were looted from local pharmacies during the "protests against Freddie Gray's death" and are now on the streets, sparking drug and turf wars which the police are unable to halt .Batts’ prescription for restoring order includes "teaching officers to say hello," fostering more police-community interaction by dispatching police to community centers, and listening to community demands for health centers to help people deal with their diabetes, job training programs, and sports leagues 

And what is the response of the people who live in the area decimated by the rioters and looters? It is equally as disturbing as that of government officials. Some have come to realize an unsurprising truth: without law enforcement, there is no order. The open drug markets and rampant brazen gang crime prove the point. Yet, those in the community who want order restored seem unwilling to help identify the criminal actors so they can be taken off the streets and prosecuted.  Baltimore's destructive tradition of "anti-snitching" may play a part in the reluctance to finger criminals. The masterpiece of local rapper Skinny Suge, the "Stop F**king Snitching" DVD featuring Carmelo Anthony, glamorized a code of silence within the black community. Retribution for working with law enforcement to clean up a neighborhood can be swift and ugly. Ironicially, Suge's own 14-year-old son was murdered in Baltimore in 2014. The murder remains unsolved.

Others continue to agitate and foment friction between law enforcement and the crime-plagued residents. One local activist openly supports the newest tactic of swarming police when they respond to an incident. Huge groups routinely surround the officers and stick handheld cameras in their faces while the cops try to do their jobs. This kind of taunting and threat to the officers is tolerated because Batts does not want any situation to escalate into more unrest. Appeasement is more important than officer safety in the contemporary model of community policing.

Still other residents look for "healing"  through Freddie Gray memorial artwork or planting a community garden. While locals bemoan the lack of public money for these neighborhood "beautification" efforts, the city is currently paying a graffiti artist $50,000 to paint catchy words in bright colors on swaths of abandoned buildings slated for demolition as early as next month. 

What is strikingly absent from the aftermath is any notion of personal responsibility for either the destruction or the rebuilding of the community. Perhaps it is just easier to embrace the staggering dysfunction and believe that government will take care of everything.