Every three to four days I like to put my thoughts together about what’s going on around the country and world so I can pick the most pressing topics and write about one for my blog. I had several to choose from which is not difficult as the news cycle and politics are inherently fluid. The crisis of the day will be old news and all but forgotten come next week. Sadly, this too will become of the latest attack by the President and to him, Baltimore.
Baltimore County is the third-most populous county located in the U.S. state of Maryland and is part of the Baltimore metropolitan area and Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area.
I’ve traveled through Baltimore many times and visited their inner waterfront harbor a couple of times to hang out for the day and catch an Orioles game. It’s a lovely tourist area and worth a trip if you’re visiting Washington, D.C. If you only ever visited that part of Baltimore as I have you would think that section was an appropriate representation of the entire city of Baltimore. There’s a reason why I never visited the other parts of Baltimore and only drove past it.
I’m born and raised in New York. I grew up in one of the poorest areas in Staten Island, Stapleton, which is one of the five boroughs. I was surrounded by housing projects, drug addicts, violence and a nightly barrage of police and ambulance sirens that responded to everything and anything you would expect from an area that by every sense of the word was low income. Baltimore has a similar reputation of that which I grew up in so I have no interest in visiting familiar surroundings.
I can easily do a Baltimore crime search and show you several recent events of someone being murdered, robbed and beaten and any other image that will bring home my point. It’s not hard as many news outlets that are discussing Baltimore presently are doing the same thing. I was watching Tucker Carlson last night and predictably his opening monologue and the majority of the first half of his show was about Baltimore. It’s what’s happening in the news now and since his show is about politics he is forced to discuss it to keep his viewers informed of what’s going on. An interesting statistic he brought up was the murder rate.
Last year Baltimore had more murders than the entire country of Guatemala when comparing murder per capita. Trump recently signed an agreement with Guatemala deeming it as a first-safe country for people seeking asylum to make their claim. This was strategic as Guatemala is a pass-through country for every country south of it. Anyone traveling north would either have to fly over it if they want to claim asylum in the US or be forced to claim asylum in Guatemala if traveling by land.
Rates of crime in Guatemala are very high. An average of 101 murders per week was reported in 2018, making the country’s violent crime rate one of the highest in Latin America. The population in Guatemala is 17,245,346. By comparison, Baltimore has far fewer people with 828,431. The total murders for Baltimore County in 2018 were 309. The homicide rate in Guatemala was 22.4 per 100,000 people. The country recorded 3,881 killings in 2018, down from 4,409 murders and a homicide rate of 26.1 in 2017, according to government officials.
The following is an excerpt from a BaltimoreSun.com article dated September 25, 2018. It paints the picture of what’s going on in their county. Note, that this article was written long before Trump ever tweeted about its crime and rat infestation this past weekend.
Baltimore had the worst homicide rate among the nation’s 50 largest cities last year and the second-highest violent crime rate overall, according to new data from the FBI.
The grim news was the latest reminder of the sustained cycle of violence that has gripped the city since 2015 when the annual number of homicides soared above 300 for three consecutive years after the unrest that followed Freddie Gray’s death from injuries suffered in police custody.
There were 342 homicides in Baltimore last year, 56 per 100,000 people who live in the city. That’s the highest per capita in the city’s history and, according to the FBI report Monday, the highest rate of any American city with more than 500,000 people. It’s also significantly higher than the rate in other big cities.
“Sometimes it does seem, I won’t say hopeless, but there are neighborhoods that are crying out,” said Councilman John Bullock, whose West and Southwest Baltimore district has seen some of the worst violence.
Detroit, which had the highest overall violent crime rate for 2017, ranked No. 2 in homicides, with 40 per 100,000 people. Memphis, Tenn., followed (28 homicides per 100,000), then Chicago (24 per 100,000), Philadelphia (20 per 100,000) and Milwaukee (20 per 100,000). The FBI defines violent crime as a combination of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
Here are the comments that President Trump tweeted which brought Baltimore into the national spotlight: Rep, Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great men & women of Border Patrol about conditions at the Southern Border, when actually his Baltimore district is FAR WORSE and more dangerous. His district is considered the Worst in the USA. As proven last week during a Congressional tour, the Border is clean, efficient & well run, just very crowded. Cumming District is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place.
Baltimore, like many big cities, does have a rat infestation problem. In 2018 PBS aired a documentary called Rat Film. It covered Baltimore’s urban war with rats, even highlighting how insurance companies have “redlined” various parts of the city that have been taken over by rats, and even paid actors to do “rat fishing,” where they cast a line down an alley with some bait and see if they can’t reel in a rodent.
Now that I’ve stated the facts you might naturally be thinking how can they label Trump as a racist for attacking Representative Elijah Cummings, who is a Democrat and black, over the crime and rat problems that have been occurring in his district for years? One word explains it all: politics.
It’s an election season and Trump is the target of many in the media and anyone who hates him. Perhaps because Elijah Cummings is black along with 62% of his district, they feel any attack on him is an attack on anyone that looks like him. This is most likely the case, but I will avoid playing the race card even though it’s the card of choice for many who say you cannot criticize someone if they are a minority, even if the facts are clear. Politicians, the media and their go-to arbitrator of everything racist, Mr. Hate-Profiteer for hire himself, Al Sharpton, all have labeled Trump as a racist, even though he’s stating the obvious. Those who profit and retain power from it keep the narrative of racism in this country alive. For stating the obvious, which was previously stated by 2020 Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders (I/D) in 2015 when he toured Baltimore and compared it to a third world country, Trump has been once again labeled a racist. Why? Politics. Are their racist people in the white, black and every shade in between community all around the world? Absolutely. Does that make everything they say which are based in fact and backed up by statistics racist when race is not a part of the conversation? Only when the truth hurts. The race card in life and politics is like the card game of Spades. I grew up playing Spades and had a lot of fun with my friends doing it. Of the four suits (clubs, hearts, spades, and diamonds) spades were the strongest. The most powerful card was the ace of spades. That was the card that trumped every other. While that may seem like a clever use of the Presidents last name it’s also apropos for the topic at hand. In the world of politics, there is no stronger card to play than that of labeling someone as a racist. In life, there are many ironies. Seeing as how the Democrats and media have played their strongest card on a President whose last name represents the rules of the game, I wonder if their Trump card has met their match. After all, this story was about Baltimore, right?