Baltimore’s mayor is all wet, and not only because a woman poured water on her at a town hall. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake blames the cops for the spike in murders in her city. Uncaring cops, her argument goes, prey on the underclass, particularly young black men like Freddie Gray in Baltimore and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
Weak firearms restrictions are blamed for the gunplay that litters the streets with casualties. It’s the usual left-wing game that puts the blame for urban dystopia everywhere but where it belongs, on people behaving badly. The results speak for themselves.
Baltimore has tallied 166 homicides in 2015 and last week Mayor Rawlings-Blake sacked Police Commissioner Anthony Batts. She blames him for the doubling of murders in a year following the April death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal injury while in police custody. “We cannot grow Baltimore without making our city a safer place to live,” says Her Honor. “We need a change. This was not an easy decision, but it is one that is in the best interest of the people of Baltimore. The people of Baltimore deserve better.”
If the mayor really thinks Baltimoreans “deserve better,” she, too, would have followed Commissioner Batts out the door of City Hall. It was her order to the police not to intervene during three days of rioting, looting and burning, that unleashed the mayhem that has claimed dozens of extra lives so far. As long as she sticks with her blame-the-cops-first attitude, she won’t persuade evildoers that the badge means business. What has been called “the Ferguson effect” could be called “the Baltimore effect,” hardly flattering to what was only yesterday called “Charm City.”
St. Louis, of which Ferguson is a suburb, has tallied 93 killings in 2015, up 60 percent over last year. The lawlessness that broke out last year over the shooting death of Michael Brown by a police officer, is surging still. New Orleans, where the number of murders climbed from 72 to 98 this year, joins St. Louis and Baltimore on the list of cities that have seen murders jump by a third or more.
In Milwaukee, a Democratic stronghold, the murder tally has surged from 41 at this point last year to 84 at last count. USA Today reports that Police Chief Edward Flynn attributes this to “absurdly weak” gun control laws and dismisses the counter-argument from neighboring Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke that it’s an aggressive police presence that keeps bad guys at bay. It’s a liberal article of faith that neighborhoods would be safer if fewer good guys had guns.
Nearby Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws in the country but shootings have claimed 203 lives this year, nearly 20 percent more than last year.
It’s hardly coincidence that murder is on the march everywhere. In Baltimore, where Ms. Rawlings-Blake gave a welcome to hooligans and handcuffed her cops, the law-abiding are paying with their lives. The disorderly water-tosser, by the way, was arrested and charged with second-degree assault. If only the mayor would show such gusto in enabling the cops to protect others from second-degree assault, and worse.