Thursday night turned out to be a seriously tragic episode in Baltimore, where the city is already in the grips of major unrest over the case of Freddy Gray. Ten people were shot, with three of them winding up dead and the remainder being treated for wounds of varying severity. Hearing something like that, you’re to be forgiven if you are once again expressing dismay over the relations between the police and the community. How, you might be wondering, could this happen? Are the looters out of control? Have the cops just started mowing people down at random?
Well, as it turns out you would be wrong. This had nothing to do with the protests or the police or the Mayor or the City Attorney. This was just another night in Baltimore. (From the Baltimore Sun)
Ten shootings were reported Thursday across Baltimore, continuing a spate of gun violence that began after riots overtook West Baltimore on April 27. At least three of the victims died.
About 40 people have been shot since April 28, the day after Baltimore’s most intense day of rioting.
Just after midnight Thursday morning, a 24-year-old man walked into an area hospital with a gunshot wound to his foot. The victim told police he was approached by an unknown man who shot him in the 1200 block of E. North Ave.
It wasn’t police shootings and it wasn’t protesters gone wild. This was the gang activity and random violence which grips parts of Baltimore and other major urban centers. The newspaper wasn’t even able to identify all of the victims by name, including one of the deceased. But another young woman was known to residents and her story had the worst ending of all.
A 34-year-old woman was shot several times at Patapsco Avenue and Potee Street about 6 p.m., police said. Police identified her as Melissa Anne Bingham, 24, of the 100 block of W. Patapsco Ave. Bingham was taken to a hospital and died of her wounds.
The streets are still filled with people carrying signs which call for Justice for Freddy Gray. I wonder if anyone will come forward to demand justice for Melissa Bingham. Sadly, her story is far from unique. The records show that we’re barely the month of May and Baltimore has already seen 82 people killed this year. That’s an increase of 20 over the same time last year. In addition to those killed, they are up to 134 non-fatal shootings for 2015, also a significant increase over last year.
As an aside, one might wonder how so many people are getting shot in Baltimore when Maryland already has some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, drawing protests from Second Amendment proponents across the nation. It’s almost as if these gang members don’t care about following the law.
The latest round of violence may not have been cop on citizen attacks or skirmishes which broke out as part of of the Freddy Gray protests, but that’s not to say that there is no causal relationship at all. A different report indicates that at least some of the police have been hesitant to go after the bad guys with their normal vigor now that they feel the city has turned against them. A couple of responses in particular from these officers should have citizens worried.
“I’m hearing it from guys who were go-getters, who would go out here and get the guns and the bad guys and drugs. They’re hands-off now,” Butler said. “I’ve never seen so many dejected faces.
“Policing, as we once knew it, has changed.”
Lt. Victor Gearhart, a 33-year veteran who works in the Southern District, said residents with complaints about police “are going to get the police force they want, and God help them.”
Something went wrong in the case of Freddy Gray and the public is entitled to know that there is a full – and fair – investigation taking place into the events of that day. But by the same token, complaints about the rough hands of the cops in Baltimore may be missing the much larger story. Ten people shot in one night? More than 80 killed this year? 40 shootings just in the last eleven days? Those cops are working in a war zone for all intents and purposes. In fact, I’d be willing to bet there were probably fewer people shot in parts of Damascus on Thursday night.
The whole point here is that there is more to the story in Baltimore than just the case of Freddy Gray. The system there – in place for decades and run exclusively under liberal Democrat policies – has failed to deliver justice in a variety of ways. Will there be any justice for Melissa Bingham? The media needs to be asking many more questions than we’re currently hearing.