After having written about so many failed attempts at this feat in Charm City, it would be editorial malfeasance not to recognize an astounding success. The residents of Baltimore, led largely by mothers of children lost to gang violence and local church leaders, have been trying to organize a ceasefire in the gang wars and deliver a three day weekend where no homicides took place. And this weekend they pulled it off. From Friday until Sunday night, the city went 72 hours with no killings. (CBS Baltimore)
The latest ceasefire weekend in Baltimore has ended with no homicides reported in the city in the last 72 hours.
Organizers are now using this momentum to try and curb the violent running rampant in the city.
In the middle of a frigid Baltimore winter, Michael Haynie is part of a force armed with signs of hope in the city’s fight against violence.
“The community has to go out into the community. We can’t rely only on the police and departmental agencies,” Haynie said.
I want to assure you that despite my normal penchant for snark and tongue in cheek humor, there is none of that in play here today. The members of Baltimore Ceasefire deserve all the credit in the world. The idea of 72 murder-free hours is something much of the country, particularly in more suburban and rural areas, simply take for granted. Not so in Baltimore. They had 341 killings last year and were already up to 26 in the first five weeks of 2018, so this is actually a remarkable moment.
And the important thing to remember is that this wasn’t some decree coming from City Hall or the Police Commissioner’s office. They’ve been trying to help, but to little avail. This was a dedicated effort by pastors and priests, mothers and fathers and the families of victims who inspired lawful citizens to get out there on the streets and get involved. They reached out directly to the gangs, asking them to help make it through just three days where the killing would stop.
There was even one woman by the name of Ericka Bridgeford who has been going out from corner to corner, chanting and burning sage to “cleanse” the streets of negative influences. I have no idea how or if any of that works, and I apologize if I made light of her efforts in the past. You go, Ms. Bridgeford and cleanse the whole city.
Yes, there will be those who will say that the cold temperatures kept some of the gang members inside and a lot of people were probably watching the Super Bowl, so criminal traffic was down anyway. Perhaps, but they’ve had plenty of cold weekends already for months on end with big television events and they weren’t able to manage this until now.
It may seem rather sad to have to “celebrate” something like managing to not have any bodies drop for 72 hours, at least from an outsider’s perspective. But it’s not sad. For Baltimore, this is a major accomplishment. I congratulate all of you and pray that you can extend your streak and get the city to turn the corner. Well done.