Freddie Gray was made an eternal, holy Martyr. How’s that working out for Baltimore?
One might think that after the disaster of the Freddie Gray case, Baltimore’s elected officials would learn some very obvious lessons, and take the steps necessary to restore the rule of law and civic order. One would be wrong, as the compendium of news reports in this article indicate. Let us begin, gentle readers, with The Washington Examiner’s coverage of a contemporary social justice narrative:
To succeed in life, stay in school … unless you’re cutting class for the sake of progressive politics.
That’s the message Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh delivered to hundreds of high school students playing hooky outside City Hall in protest of gun violence. Shouting through the SWAT team’s microphone, Pugh cheered their little act of delinquency before offering taxpayer cash for the adolescent activists to march on the national capital. Flanked by Police Commissioner Darryl De Sousa, the mayor shouted, ‘Let’s show Washington D.C. that Baltimore matters.’ [skip]
Pugh promised free T-shirts and free lunches if the students will board 60 city buses later this month to protest gun violence. The grade school protestors, in exchange, will provide advocacy and a convenient photo-op for an ambitious politician.
And people wonder from where the “protestors” besieging Washington DC for that anti-Second Amendment protest came. By the way, just how are Baltimore’s schools doing these days? The Baltimore Sun explains:
The city’s public school system is a disaster. Last year, some of the schools had zero students who were proficient in math. A couple of months ago, a few city public schools had to temporarily close because of heating problems. If anyone thinks a family would move to the city or stay in the city because of its public school system, then they have another thing coming. The city’s public school enrollment is on the decline. Families are moving to the surrounding counties so they can send their children to decent schools.
Baltimore in general isn’t doing any better:
With the U.S. Census Bureau reporting yet another year of population loss for the city, it doesn’t take an investigator to determine the causes.
The city’s scary record of 343 homicides in 2017 affirms the city’s well-known reputation as a dangerous place to live. Even if 2018 has fewer homicides, it doesn’t take a fortuneteller to predict that this year’s homicide rate will be high. Until the city substantially reduces its homicide and other crimes rates, people will continue to view the city as dangerous and be reluctant to stay or move here. [skip]
Baltimore’s elections do not change the direction of the city. In the 2016 city general election, the mayor and the council members all promised change, yet the city is in the same or worse shape since the election. Because city government is controlled by one political party and elected officials have no term limits, voters have little option other than to vote with their feet. The City Council should enact term limits and hold nonpartisan elections.
But not to worry: Maryland’s Democrat politicians are on the case, as The Washington Post reports:
Maryland lawmakers arrived in Annapolis this year determined to pass a bill that would reduce the soaring rate of crime and violence in Baltimore.
But deciding the best way to do that has proved painful and divisive, as lawmakers from across the political spectrum debate how best to try to save lives while weighing the potential harm of harsher criminal penalties.
‘We know we have to do something,’ said Del. Cheryl D. Glenn (D-Baltimore City), the chair of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland. ‘Our constituents want us to do something. We can’t bury our heads in the sand, and we can’t keep slapping people on the wrists.
Of course their constituents want them to do something, but they are, by and large, Democrats, and Democrat’s more important constituents are criminals:
But supporters of the wide-ranging bill — including Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh (D)— balk at that characterization. Their focus is on repeat violent offenders and drug traffickers, not on people charged with nonviolent drug crimes. Supporters say they want a balanced approach to stop the bleeding in a place that USA Today last month dubbed the ‘deadliest big city’in the United States.
‘We faced 347 murders last year in the city, and that doesn’t include the robberies at record levels,’ state Sen. Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) said on the Senate floor after voting in favor of the bill. ‘What this bill does is offer significant investment in community development in the type of diversionary programs that,’ he said, would ‘divert crime in the long-term.
And what, pray tell, does “diverting crime” mean? Does that mean sending the criminals to someone else’s neighborhood? Such people are entirely unable to accept or understand the primary benefit of prisons: when felons are locked up, they aren’t victimizing the innocent. The usual suspects fight for social justice:
A policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland said she agrees that something needs to be done to address the high level of crime. But Toni Holness, the ACLU official, said she and others warn that tougher sentences included in the bill run counter to the criminal justice reforms made in Maryland in recent years and could lead to further mass incarceration that disproportionately affects young black men.
‘Relying on failed policies of the past is not going to make us safer,’ Holness said. ‘The increase in maximums tilt the scales of justice in favor of the prosecution and allows them to better negotiate plea deals, just like mandatory minimums.
No, such policies tilt the scales of justice in favor of innocent victims of hardcore felons. Of course, when one’s idea of “criminal justice reforms” is doing whatever is necessary to avoid punishing or incarcerating professional black criminals–that’s most of Baltimore criminal class, apart from its politicians, of course–there will be no addressing “the high level of crime.” Another example of such non-thinking:
Baltimore City Council member Brandon M. Scott (D), who chairs the Public Safety Committee and has spoken to members of the city’s delegation in Annapolis about the bill, also voiced some concern about tougher sentencing.
‘We have to look at the historical data and the black and brown communities thathave been affected by violence,’ said Scott, who is running for lieutenant governor on attorney James Shea’s gubernatorial ticket.‘Violence is a disease, and we need to treat it as a disease and take a public health approach. The policing portion is very important, but it’s not the only portion.
Of course! It’s a public health issue. I’m sure there’s a vaccine, but who gets the shots: the criminals or their victims? So much fail:
Glenn said she finds ‘a lot of good in the crime bill, particularly when you look at the increased funding for Baltimore City.’ But she said she would like to see changes, including an expansion of expungement, which allows a criminal conviction to be sealed or removed from a person’s record.
‘We know that’s a barrier right now to many people we represent who are trying to live their lives in the right way,’ Glenn said. ‘They want to go back to school, they want to get a job, they want to buy a home.
I’m sure Freddie Gray’s most fervent desire was to return to school, get a job, and buy a home. So many people are leaving Baltimore there must be a few available. Powerline reports on another aspect of Baltimore’s woes:
Johns Hopkins University wants to form its own police department with armed, sworn police officers to patrol its university and hospital campuses. The University already has its own security personnel, approximately 1,000 strong. Even so, last Fall there were 16 gunpoint robberies around its main campus in Baltimore.
Thus, the Baltimore delegation to the state general assembly will propose legislation to enable Hopkins to have its own police department. The plan has the support of Baltimore’s police chief and its mayor.
Baltimore’s police force is about 1,000 officers short of what it needs to effectively police the city, according to the mayor. As we noted two years ago, this problem stems to a considerable degree from the demonizing of the police after Gray’s death, which demoralized officers and caused them to seek work elsewhere.
What a shame. It’s a tragedy no one could have possibly seen this coming. Who could have imagined that exalting, over the police and Baltimore’s citizens, a petty criminal drug dealer who, while under the influence of pot and other drugs, accidently killed himself while in police custody, might have had a negative effect? Who could have imagined that after the criminal element torched their own neighborhoods and the police were prevented from stopping them, they might have thought themselves untouchable? Who might have thought that convincing the police their superiors and politicians were more likely to prosecute them than criminals would have caused officers to avoid coming into contact with black criminals, and would have caused them to flee the city in droves?
All this, and more, was so tragic and unforeseeable. But at least Marilyn Mosby tried to get “justice for Freddie Gray.” That’s worth any amount of crime and destruction of the quality of life, isn’t it?