Jay over at MArooned turned me on to this article from CBS News in Baltimore that I had not seen, and as I read it I realized that it points out all the failures of Baltimore and Maryland's crime prevention and gun control policies.
At the 4th of July celebration in Baltimore's Inner Harbor area - one of the safest spots in town - there was a child hit by a stray bullet, a stabbing murder and numerous fights broke out. This is not unusual activity in Baltimore on a non-holiday weekend, but hundreds if not thousands of people that have fled the city and rarely come into town were there for the 4th of July celebrations. They saw anew what the downtown area is like. Most of these people never come to Downtown if they can help it, and ignore the news as they live in their suburb utopia. Now there is local outrage, because the Mayor and the Police Commissioner have been telling the citizens the downtown area is safe since a rash of attacks by packs of teens in 2009.
Maryland has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country. Among the existing hurdles, it has a regulated firearms list, a ballistics database requirement for new sales, a waiting period, and purchase time requirements. It's the 7th most restrictive state according to the Brady Gun Control Center. Maryland is also a "May issue" concealed carry state. Because of this, and the permit issue review board, that means you will not get a concealed carry permit. Citizens are told to call the police if you are attacked or need help. Baltimore has gone further than that to "protect" you while you're in town. They have installed surveillance cameras all over the city and they will be spending additional tax money to install more. The city also has instituted a curfew for teens in the city to combat the previous problems with attacks. Finally, the city also tested an acoustic gunshot detection system. It is unclear if it ever produced any results or was fully instituted.
While all these safegard laws are in place there were also about 600 police officers downtown for the 4th of july celebrations. Sounds pretty safe right?
The CBS article states "Police say they made 30 arrests and handled 20 curfew violations." "An all-out brawl broke out." "Several fights broke out," and "a 26-year-old from Alabama...died after he was stabbed in the neck with a bottle." "Chaos also erupted at Light and Pratt streets, where a 4-year-old was shot in the leg with a stray bullet."
The Police Commissioner responded with, “We had incredible deployments down there and literally feet away from where this incident occurred,” and the Mayor responded with, “This is absolutely ridiculous. People come down to the harbor to enjoy themselves,” The City Council President said, “Most people are out here for a good celebration and to have something like this, most people won’t come back next year.” Police also added "the camera located at the intersection did not capture any part of the shooting. Detectives did not recover any shell casings, either."
Wow! So what do we do now? The city leader's statements almost sound like they were saying,"But we tried so hard? Why did this happen to us?" An army of cops, high tech surveillance systems, the ballistics database, lawfully owned guns off the street, a legally unarmed and defenseless populace...all useless to prevent these crimes. Will we have martial law next? Perhaps we just can't have nice things. Should we call the TSA for grope-downs at all city events? More regulation and restrictions on law abiding citizens? Ban all bottles? More reactionary policing?
I'm dreading the new laws and restrictions that will come of this. How long will it be before we have checkpoints every few miles?
Whatever happened to "The Free State?"