Another Baltimore "cease fire" weekend chalks up a victory

Who will eventually do more to curb the epidemic of murders in Charm City… the government and the police or the citizens themselves? This weekend we saw yet another argument in favor of the people out on the front lines being the most effective agents of change. After the murder rate in Baltimore began spiking back upward with the onset of better weather, residents organized the next in a series of “cease fire” weekends where they pleaded with the city’s gangs to take a break and put a temporary halt to the killings. And for the second time this year, they managed to pull it off. (CBS Baltimore)

It’s been three days since a life was taken in Baltimore.

Although two men were hurt in separate shootings during the weekend, the city’s declared ceasefire is pushing forward.

Many moms spent Mother’s Day grieving for their children killed on the streets of Baltimore. So far, this weekend–the motto “nobody kill anybody” has held true.

As church began Sunday morning in West Baltimore–no mother had lost a son or daughter to gun violence in nearly three days.

Yes, there were a few shootings but thankfully nobody died. Mothers Day was an apt weekend to choose, as most of the community leaders working with residents and gang members to organize these efforts are themselves mothers who lost children to the ongoing gang violence. One of them is Baltimore Ceasefire Ambassador Lynn Forman, who has been pounding the pavement and getting their message out to the media as well as the public. It’s dangerous work to do without weapons or body armor and Ms. Forman is to be commended for her tireless efforts.

As I mentioned above, this wasn’t their first success for 2018. They pulled off another murder-free weekend back in February and that one stretched on for nearly a week. At the time, the question was raised as to whether or not that was a result of community efforts or the awful weather keeping the gang-bangers indoors. Perhaps it was a bit of both, but a win is a win. Now, however, the pleasant weather has returned, and with it the rising tide of gang murders.

The city broke the 100 mark for murders last week. That technically puts them on track for a lower murder rate this year than was seen in 2016 and 2017, but it’s also potentially a bit deceiving. The majority of those killings took place in a much shorter period starting in late March when the weather cleared up. Sadly, the murder rate over the summer tends to rise with the thermometer readings.

Still, this weekend marks some good news for the city’s residents and remains a hopeful sign. Both the city and the state have continued to fail in their efforts to pass any new crime bills with sharper teeth in them. In a terrible irony, it’s generally the City Council members and the state representatives from Baltimore County who wind up defeating measures that include tougher penalties for first-time gun offenders or gang-tracking programs. And by doing so, they only increase the ranks of mothers who lose children and wind up out on the streets begging the gang leaders to slow down the killing.