Whose Heart is Baltimore Breaking, Really?

February 7, 2014 at 2:49 pm 189 comments

There’s a piece about crime in Baltimore over on Medium that’s gone viral.

It’s understandable why this article has emerged right now. In Federal Hill, robbers recently held up and pistol-whipped employees at a popular tavern. A Baltimore Sun editor was held up on a Canton street by a brick-wielding mugger who fractured the man’s skull and knocked out his teeth. In a home facing Patterson Park, burglars beat and stabbed a woman to death in her home. (She had chased one of the burglars out of her house in the early morning just last summer.)

The author of the Medium piece, Tracey Halvorsen, lives half a block from Patterson Park. She is scared.

“I’m tired of being surrounded by drug addicts,” she writes. “I’m tired of looking at 11 year olds as potential thieves, muggers and murderers on my walk home from the office.”

Halvorsen doesn’t want to leave. She loves her neighbors, loves walking outside and seeing “the overall sense of diversity” that city living provides. Baltimore has great restaurants, bright minds, fun bars.

But, she writes, “you just can’t ignore the crime. It’s the elephant in the room in Baltimore City.”

She pins it on the city’s elected leaders, saying she does her part by paying taxes, running a business, reporting suspicious activity, keeping her home “looking nice,” and keeping her outside lights on at night.

Then, this:

“All I know is when there are more police, there is less crime. When people get arrested for littering or loitering or being publicly intoxicated, they go do that shit somewhere else. And yes, I realize this may be a knee-jerk reaction and won’t solve all the problems. But I’m desperate for some kind of help. I want to feel safe.”

Crime, the subhed of the article says, “is why people leave.”

Some people, anyway.

I think Halvorsen is mistaking Patterson Park and similar neighborhoods for Baltimore City. In the 1980s and 1990s, Federal Hill and Canton were the first neighborhoods to attract large numbers of upper-middle class, mostly white homeowners. Patterson Park has been on the same track for years, although some would argue it’s still “in transition,” as it abuts a largely poor part of town that’s heavily black and increasingly Latino.

ImageI produced a series for Baltimore public radio station WYPR called “The Lines Between Us” about how race and class dramatically shape our experiences in Baltimore. We had a lot of data maps built for the series. Canton, Federal Hill, and the area around Patterson Park are veritable islands when it comes to drugs, shootings, and violent crime in general.

Horrific crimes like the ones that just happened in Canton, Federal Hill, and Patterson Park happen against the odds. In the rest of Baltimore, they are the odds.

The “other Baltimore,” which I assume she’s referring to when she says “they go do that shit somewhere else” (and where I assume she believes “they” are coming from) has been scared to death for decades. That other Baltimore is mostly black. There’s a lot of poverty there; but there are also a lot of working people surviving day to day, trying to get their kids a good education and keep them off the streets. There’s a lot of crime there, but there are also a lot of people who have to deal with that crime every day and have been working for decades to pull their community out of an intractable spiral.

And you know what? Despite all that, if you actually talk to them, many of them love Baltimore, too. They have the same love/hate relationship with Baltimore that Tracey Halvorsen does. They weigh the same benefits against the same dangers. But they have fewer resources to make that move out of the city–a move that is clearly at the forefront of many more wealthy city dwellers’ minds right now.

I see where Halvorsen is coming from, and I get the chorus of amens I’ve seen on Facebook and Twitter. I’m white and middle class, I’ve got a lot to lose, and I could easily find an affordable place to live far from the perils of the city.

But when I look more closely at the outrage in her piece, I see its potential to make things worse.

It’s tough to talk about white privilege in the face of crimes like the ones Halvorsen cites, with innocent victims killed and badly injured and stunned families left to grieve. I sympathize with Halvorsen and her fears that she’ll end up like them.

But so far, $32,000 has been raised for the victim of the Canton robbery and beating. The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward in the Federal Hill bar robbery. There’s also a lot that goes on, from individual decisions to local, state, and federal policy, that ensures–whether intentionally or not–that all the social ills stay where they “belong”: in the neighborhoods that people like Halverson and, frankly, I won’t live in. Halvorsen blames the mayor and city leaders, saying they ignore crime. But people in other Baltimore neighborhoods are upset with leadership, too, saying neighborhoods like Halvorsen’s get the resources while poorer neighborhoods are left to wither.

But what will pointing the finger at City Hall do about problems that have persisted through many mayors and many city councils? Perhaps pressuring city leaders can do something for some neighborhoods. Halvorsen says, “All I know is when there are more police, there is less crime. When people get arrested for littering or loitering or being publicly intoxicated, they go do that shit somewhere else.” That sounds a lot like a plea for “zero tolerance” policing.

Baltimore tried that; in 2005, over 100,000 people were arrested…and one out of four was released without charges. More arrests mean more racial disparities, which you’ll find in drug arrests and at every level of the juvenile justice system. (In fact, federal law insists the state measure those juvenile disparities and make plans to address them. The state can lose federal funding if its efforts fall short.) All the stopping and frisking in the world isn’t likely to stop crime, and it certainly won’t end the inequalities that drive crime.

Halvorsen says, “I realize this may be a knee-jerk reaction and won’t solve all the problems. But I’m desperate for some kind of help. I want to feel safe.”

Well, don’t we all.

Crime is not the “elephant in the room.” It’s all anyone talks about here. The elephant in the room is inequality.


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189 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kate  |  February 7, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    YES: “Crime is not the “elephant in the room.” It’s all anyone talks about here. The elephant in the room is inequality.”

    Thank you for this.

    • 2. Sara  |  February 7, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      How that article was written has been seriously bugging me all day. Ms. Halvorsen needs to unpack her invisible knapsack, as they say.

      • 3. Jen  |  February 7, 2014 at 9:10 pm

        If you have an invisible knapsack, are you not permitted to have an opinion or to have gripes or concerns? That’s her experience and it’s ok that part of it is dictated by her privilege. She need not explain that or dedicate a paragraph of her piece to that to appease you.

      • 4. Nicholas Stix  |  February 7, 2014 at 9:49 pm

        Who is “they,” Kimosabe?

        “They” is a lying racist named Peggy McIntosh.

        There is no such thing as “white privilege,” but there is such a thing as black privilege, and has been for generations.

        Nicholas Stix, Uncensored

    • 5. Frank1  |  February 10, 2014 at 12:05 am

      Racial demographics is the primary determinant of crime rate and the health / livability of any community. What follows below is a hundred comments trying to avoid that one fact they can’t seem to figure out.

      Enjoy this post while it’s here.

      • 6. aura  |  February 10, 2014 at 11:37 am

        Jeez, Frank1. You can’t get it through your head that the health/livability of any community and determinant of crime rate actually has more to do with class and that, in this country, race (a flimsy construct at best) and class tend to be intertwined not because of some innate biological programming but because of hundreds of years of fucked up social and political issues?

        If you were miserably poor, and your parents were miserably poor, and so were your grandparents, and their parents, and their parents, and so on…and on top of that you had to deal with generation upon generation of social issues tied into poverty such as (probable) crap education, poor healthcare, poor mental healthcare, (probable) poor nutrition, most likely broken families, most likely bad neighborhoods ridden with crime, and at least some of your family turning to drug use in order to cope with these issues, you might look to crime as a way to escape all this BS, too, particularly in a country where we view people who pull themselves up by their bootstraps and make a way for themselves as the only ones worth a damn anyway.

        People like to shout Education! And that’s all well and good, if you have the tenacity to make it through school. But this is no easy feat for people who have to may have to deal with a myriad of other issues. Furthermore, higher education has actually become less and less accessible due to various restrictions placed on financial aid over the last decade or so. Beyond all that, a basic education is simply no guarantee for success anymore, especially if you don’t have the right connections.

        Put yourself in this situation, Frank1. How well would YOU do?

    • 7. wilkinsbarbera  |  February 10, 2014 at 2:01 am

      Untreated drug addiction to heroin (also known as “heronn”) and crack is the pink elephant winking in the room. we need more rehabilitation and training to teach coping skills and ways to earn income as self-employed, instead of a revolving door of multiple arrests of the same people with the same addiction problems.

    • 8. Tina  |  February 10, 2014 at 1:06 pm

      Inequality is a pathetic excuse for black kids going wild. It’s really ‘unequal’ if you’re sitting in a jail cell because YOU committed the crime.

      Black kids need to own up to what they do.

      It’s pathetic to say I just ‘had’ to murder somebody cuz things are ‘unequal’.

      Grow up.

      • 9. getreal  |  February 10, 2014 at 4:23 pm


      • 10. Kate  |  February 11, 2014 at 11:00 am

        Wow, you have a narrow and uncomplicated view of the world. I bet that’s working out for you.

      • 11. der ragun  |  March 16, 2014 at 7:30 pm

        It’s always white peoples fault. They move in and it’s gentrification. They move out it’s ‘white flight’.
        White…Indian…Japanese…Korean…SouthAmerican…Filipino……Vietnamese…etc… privilege?
        Or black dysfunction?

  • 12. Tommy Bee  |  February 7, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    This isn’t a race thing or a class thing. What you are noticing is the difference between people like Tracey and people from the “other Baltimore”….its about being seasoned and being wet behind the ears. The mentality in the “other baltimore” is that its hopeless….noone wants to see anyone get murdered, robbed or assualted..Difference is Tracey is willing to fight still…the people of Canton and Fells and Fed are all willing to fight….And Baltimore as a whole should embrace and join the fight if we want anything to change anywhere….

    • 13. b  |  February 7, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      This is all about class and race, people in pleanty of other neighborhoods are fighting.

    • 14. Paul Tupelo  |  February 8, 2014 at 11:29 am

      I agree Tommy Bee. I lived in Baltimore for 8 years, always wanted to try and help but people in some areas didn’t want help, didn’t want improvements. I gee tired of the opposition of change for the better and was very happy to move.

      Things have gone horribly wrong in Baltimore and every time something moved forward in a positive light, there were two or more shoves back to a situation worse than before. Add to this the cities crumbling infrastructure and a “New” light rail to go along with one that is already ineffective and it adds to peoples already rising frustration.

      Just saying.

    • 15. wilkinsbarbera  |  February 10, 2014 at 2:05 am

      trust me. we see these people downtown loud and nodding off in the middle of the street. drug addiction is a huge problem. all these crazy looking people are high as a kite on heroin and crack. if they are not rehabilitated, it continues a cycle that never ends. they keep arresting the same people because they never treat the addiction at the core. none of these people robbing and doing crimes are sober, lets stop acting like they are.

    • 16. Tired Too  |  February 13, 2014 at 9:56 am

      I totally agree. As Tommy Bee mentions, people in those areas are still willing to fight. In other areas people feel hopeless. They feel hopeless because even if they muster up the courage to call the police, they either don’t respond or they put the caller in the position of being identified so that after the cops leave they can be retaliated against in some way. So that’s where that type of attitude comes from. I believe in zero tolerance as well. I am also black. I don’t care anymore how many people get locked up. Because in that group, there will be more guilty than innocent. The people that need to be arrested are still hanging around on the streets. They haven’t gone into hiding. Has it gotten to the point where the police are afraid of the criminals and are just doing the bare necessities? I’m beginning to wonder.

  • 17. DH  |  February 7, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    We can’t just pin the blame on inequality, even though a crushing poverty in Baltimore has certainly led to a great number of the city’s problems. The city has been poorly managed for years, with a real lack of vision for what it could be. The Station North area, for example, should have been a gem for the city years ago, but for whatever reason, the city has been incapable of encouraging re-development there, which could help lift the very desperate areas around it. The city has also been unable to re-develop other corners of the city that should have real appeal to people who would normally flee for the suburbs. The public transportation system, and the emerging bike infrastructure, is a joke — and that makes a difference for the next generation of city dwellers, who want robust bike and rail systems. And the failures extend to individual Baltimoreans, where crime and violence has become normal, and where a disregard for education extends back for generations. There are lots of great cities out there — cities that have been able to get their shit together, to embrace new modes of transportation and sustainable living, and have spent money and effort on attracting employers and fixing schools. Baltimore is chronically dysfunctional, unfortunately.

    • 18. wilkinsbarbera  |  February 10, 2014 at 2:10 am

      we need a basic drug rehabilitation philosophy if we ever hope to reduce the crime. all of these violators are on something. most on heroin and crack when breaking into people’s homes or robbing 12 year old children in broad daylight. recognize, none of these actions are done by sober people. they are done by desperate drug addicts, they don’t have cable television or want to participate in the ‘discussion’. they need to be rehabilitated, and learn coping strategies, in addition to entrepreneurship. most have criminal records and people won’t employ them – its a no-brainer.

      • 19. der ragun  |  March 16, 2014 at 7:33 pm

        No brainer is right.
        There is plenty of rehab available but guess what? A lot of people want to get high. They choose the life. Most of them aren’t victims.

  • 20. Kit  |  February 7, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    I thought this piece was a nice counterpoint: http://www.salon.com/2014/02/05/too_poor_for_pop_culture/

  • 21. erik boring  |  February 7, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Ms. Halverson, does in fact, deserve to feel safe. I had almost forgotten the mixed feelings I had about “the lines between us” until I read this. Yes, the rampant poverty and lack of education and opportunity that are crippling parts of Baltimore City, and our society as a whole, are in need of media attention, and corrective measures. But I can’t really fault Ms. Halverson for her concern for her future in Baltimore. And I can’t see the value in trying to discredit her concerns and fears. She fully admits to having a knee-jerk reaction and obviously was writing from a very raw and emotional place. But she isn’t wrong and for you to try and tell her she doesn’t understand her heart and when it is breaking is presumptuous, and a wee little bit offensive.

    • 22. Jen  |  February 7, 2014 at 9:15 pm

      agreed on all points.

    • 23. keith  |  February 9, 2014 at 3:01 pm

      I totally agree.

  • 24. bmorethreadquarters  |  February 7, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Thank you! As a business owner and a mother raising kids in the city I appreciate you addressing the real Elephant in the Room!

  • 25. janjamm  |  February 7, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    DH – “There are lots of great cities out there — cities that have been able to get their shit together, to embrace new modes of transportation and sustainable living, and have spent money and effort on attracting employers and fixing schools.” Name those cities, please! I bet not one of them has the income inequality or racial segregation that Baltimore has.

    • 26. mzingg  |  February 7, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      Chattanooga, TN has done a pretty good job of turning itself around in the past 20-25 years.

      • 27. janjamm  |  February 7, 2014 at 10:21 pm

        Chattanooga has significantly broken down the walls of segregation and diversified and “re-gentrified” the city. They do not have the income inequality nor segregation that Baltimore has.

      • 28. DH  |  February 7, 2014 at 11:16 pm

        Right. It takes time. Janjamm says they have significantly broken down the segregation, etc. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened in Baltimore, and I don’t see it happening anytime soon. It’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem.

    • 29. mojomo  |  February 7, 2014 at 9:29 pm

      Boston? Philly? Boston has approx. the same population as Baltimore, but we will eclipse Boston’s annual murder rate by March 1 at the current pace.

      • 30. janjamm  |  February 7, 2014 at 10:30 pm

        Boston and Philly both have crime rates similar to Baltimore. The segregation in these cities is also a factor in their crime rate. Studies show the “(w)hile we know that isolating our poorest residents is really bad for them, it turns out that segregating the rich and poor leads to the worst outcomes for a city as a whole. Economic integration, where the rich and poor live side by side, leads to the safest cities.” – http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/The-312/January-2013/Does-Segregation-Make-a-City-More-Vulnerable-to-Crime/

      • 31. DH  |  February 7, 2014 at 11:17 pm

        Boston’s crime rate is nowhere near Baltimore’s.

  • 32. ER  |  February 7, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    The problem here is that people are constantly looking for a reason to shoot down articles like this and bash them because they are profiling crimes in white/affluent areas. But I am sorry…if you are a homeowner in Baltimore paying ridiculous taxes, doing your part to support this city, and wanting to see it better..YOU SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO BE MAD. Those who pay into the system expect to see things improving. And let’s all be honest with the fact because god forbid we sound racist for saying it…the affluent people of Fed/Canton/Fells are not the ones out robbing people/selling drugs. It’s not racist…it’s a fact. You cannot fix poverty if you drive business owners and the only people paying taxes out of the city you wish to help. Stop bitching about the inequality, because being poor does not have to mean being a criminal. The system did not fail them…they failed themselves. Saying “they don’t know better because they’re poor” is as bad as the kid who got off for murder due to “affluenza”. Manners and decency know no racial/socio-economic divide..

    • 33. leavin withbeaver  |  February 7, 2014 at 5:47 pm

      You rule. Thanks for saying what i would have so i dont have to type all that on this tiny phone.

    • 34. Andy  |  February 7, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      I don’t know the number of ways I can say thank you for writing this.

    • 35. derek  |  February 7, 2014 at 5:59 pm

      Completely Agree! If it wasn’t for Fed Hill, Locust point,Canton Fells point, Hampden,and a handful of other neighborhoods, we would be in Detroit’s situation. About 30% of the city is carrying the remaining 70%. Damn right She should be upset! Property taxes in Baltimore are twice as high as anywhere in the state of Md. Why should the flourishing areas have to fend for themselves?

    • 36. Dan  |  February 7, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      I was going to leave a comment but you have already made it for me. Plus there are plenty of poor white neighborhoods in Baltimore, I know I grew up in one of them. Its not about race, it’s about the mindset. I remember going on a call to repair a furnace in a house in Brooklyn, the place was a pig sty, it was a white family, when we left I said I felt sorry for those people, and he said he didn’t, and then said, just because your doesn’t mean you can’t keep your house clean. No Mr. lanahan it is not about equality, its about mindset. I started from the same point, I was just raised better.

    • 37. chngthengteng  |  February 8, 2014 at 12:01 am

      ER, did you grow up in an urban decay/ poverty stricken/ broken family environment? If not, empathy may be a good characteristic to try and learn to understand the motivations of people. Individual responsibility is important, but everybody starts from different places when looking at themselves and their place in this world. Trying to see it from where other people start from may help you understand people’s motivations better.

      • 38. ER  |  February 8, 2014 at 4:02 am

        You’re being quite ignorant right now. I don’t need to be born into poverty to understand why people rob people. But I wasn’t born into affluence if that’s what you’re asking. Sympathy is great but the real issue is that people don’t hold themselves accountable. No matter your situation, growing up stabbing people to death isn’t okay

      • 39. Lisa  |  February 8, 2014 at 5:11 pm

        Accountability is everything. I am sick of excuses, and sick of the comment, “He didn’t mean to kill him. He’s a good boy.”

      • 40. chngthengteng  |  February 11, 2014 at 2:23 pm

        ER just so you understand, sympathy is not empathy. Empathy is an understanding of where people are coming from. Sympathy is feeling bad for someone’s suffering. I am just encouraging an understanding.

      • 41. Steve Gregg  |  February 13, 2014 at 4:07 pm

        While you can not choose where you begin, you can choose where you are going. If you choose to never improve your circumstances, they you are to blame. So, yes, poor blacks are to blame for not even attempting to rise above their circumstances as so many people in America do. And as so many immigrants do with worse disadvantages.

      • 42. chngthengteng  |  February 13, 2014 at 6:39 pm

        Steve Gregg It is nice that you are willing to blame poor black people for not trying to rise above their situation. I assume you are familiar with the life context of all poor black people to make such a judgement. I would also encourage you to learn a little more empathy for the context of people’s struggle before such a quick rush to judgement.

      • 43. Steve Gregg  |  February 13, 2014 at 7:42 pm


        I would advise you back to stop making excuses for black screwups. Yours is the bigotry of low expectations.

      • 44. chngthengteng  |  February 13, 2014 at 8:10 pm

        Steve Gregg I am not making excuses for incorrect behavior. I just believe if you wish to diagnose a solution to a problem, understanding the problem is the first step. Rushing to judgement without understanding the full context is an easy way to come to incomplete conclusions. What I read from you is generalization of an entire group of people with little empathy to the complexities of the problem and no regard to the historical context. Human society does not exist in a vacuum. Context is key and I would hope you seek to understand the full situation before making judgements.

      • 45. Steve Gregg  |  February 13, 2014 at 9:09 pm


        But you are making excuses. Funamentally, you make the mistake of claiming that blacks are made by their circumstances and can not change them, that they have no free will, that they have no moral agency. You are arguing for fatalism. I reject that.

        Blaming one’s fate on history or context is nonsense. America was built by people who rejected their circumstances and took the risks to improve them. You have to be a loser to fail in America, where you are given every advantage in a country full of opportunity. Holding blacks accountable for their behavior is the kind of tough love they need to give up their dysfunctional culture and improve themselves.

        This is no snap judgement but one made over decades. I’ve seen how people succeed and how people fail. The current culture of poor blacks is a culture of failure. Instead of promoting it we need to confront it.

      • 46. Donato  |  February 13, 2014 at 9:25 pm

        Right on. Just look at the Latino immigrants/illegals. They work hard and make it.

      • 47. chngthengteng  |  February 13, 2014 at 9:32 pm

        There is a kernel of truth to cultures of failure in urban decay environments. But how can cycles of violence be confronted? Does condemnation help break this cycle? What should be done to keep one generation from repeating the same cycle of suffering from the previous? If opportunity is what it takes, what opportunities exist for people in urban decay environments? What kind of schools exist here? The MD state government budgets 20,000 dollars a child for kids in Montgomery and Howard county yet Baltimore city and Prince Georges only gets 10,000 dollars a child. The quality of facilities for kids in rich neighborhoods compared to blighted ones are like night and day. Family life for urban decay children often involve one parent on drugs and another incarcerated. Growing up in such rough environments only perpetuates this cycle. I do not wish to promote this, I would like this cycle to end. But how?

    • 48. farazars  |  February 8, 2014 at 12:51 am

      1. Everyone in the affluent areas who “do their part” and are still “mad at Baltimore”: remember that your taxes ARE working to get you even this safety.
      2. I know you know that you have it better than the rest of Baltimoreans because you never step in those other neighbourhoods.
      3. Now you want more: more safety, more affluence. Sorry, you cannot be better off without the entire city becoming better off. Baltimore already has incredible disparity (20 year disparity in avg life expectancy!) it may be impossible to have more disparity without just building a wall between the neighbourhoods.
      4. So if you now want to make things better, you need to stop complaining about your neighbourhoods, and your taxes, and start understanding about integration, empathy for everyone.
      5. but because there’s disparity already, the initial period of integration will be risky for the affluent. however, there is no other way.
      6. Baltimore’s is not so much a race thing as it is a geography thing. neighbourhoods. which is founded on a race thing. so my white friends, I feel sorry for your discomfort, and your ire, but somethings that we set in this country 50 years ago are still playing out.

      • 49. Donato  |  February 9, 2014 at 11:46 am

        The Black middle class left Baltimore years ago. They voted with their feet. What percent black teachers in Baltimore have their children attend Baltimore city schools?

      • 50. Steve Gregg  |  February 13, 2014 at 4:09 pm

        The real problem is that your taxes are paying to propagate the problem, rewarding a dysfunctional culture and sustaining it. My bet is that all those black criminals were raised with welfare checks.

    • 51. mom_of_infant  |  February 8, 2014 at 12:32 pm

      It’s a bit unrealistic to insinuate “the affluent” are only part of the solution. I bet that (some) affluent people in Fed/Canton/Fells are the ones buying drugs from those selling the drugs, making the wheel go round. The issue is so complex. I, too, live in Baltimore City, grew up here, came back here to buy. I not only pay my taxes and maintain my property, I am a community leader. I’ve organized numerous initiatives over the years and continue to brainstorm/work with other leaders to clean-up, engage, unite – and was recently targeted by having by tires slashed. No doubt, we can at least agree that it’s frightening to have crime at your doorstep, and to also become a victim of that crime. I not only have been robbed in my car, held up at gun point, several places I have lived were robbed, including my current home – as well as experiencing various other property damage incidents and knowing there have been various shootings within blocks from my front door – over the past 18 years. I have to process this most recent incident through the lens a mother of a year-and-a-half would. What is our comfort level? What is our limit? Do folks negatively experiencing life, recession, joblessness, homelessness, substance abuse, PTSD, depression, health issues, have the right to shit on someone else? Absolutely not! Does living in the city have to mean enduring constant attacks? Absolutely not! The answer will involve many coming together and persevering for many years to come – as many have been doing for many many years. Some answers are easy. Some not so much. Pointing fingers does nothing to help. Holding folks accountable with facts, that is something different. Holding ourselves accountable, well, that is also something else we can look at. We can all do better.

      • 52. RedDonnaAnn  |  February 8, 2014 at 1:12 pm

        By facts do you mean accusing white people in Canton and Fells Point of buying drugs? That really undermined your credibility.

      • 53. satch  |  February 16, 2014 at 3:10 am

        donna ann thinks the white folks are not buying drugs in baltimore!crazy thinking .a white drug dealer told me plenty of drugs are bought by whites it is not done on the corner but in homes and bars

    • 54. Lisa  |  February 8, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      ER, you need to author your own article! Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    • 55. ER  |  February 9, 2014 at 12:15 pm

      Everyone, I decided to attempt my hand at writing today for one reason or another…https://medium.com/p/64b5677d3f17. I am aware it is not nearly as well written as what is out there, but I would like it to become a forum for what people would ACTUALLY DO to fix the issues. Complaining about it is one thing…acting is what is necessary.

    • 56. keith  |  February 9, 2014 at 3:04 pm

      I agree! My friends who are white middle class were the ones angry about Ms. Halvorsen said. My friends who were black middle class agreed with her. I know it’s anecdotal, but come on people. We all want a better Baltimore. Rich, middle class and poor.

    • 57. wilkinsbarbera  |  February 10, 2014 at 2:19 am

      they are not just poor, these people are all using. if you think about it, why would a person choose a 12 year old child to rob on the way to school. no options, no money, and no sobriety. rehabilitation philosophy is needed to address the crime, beyond the whole racial illusion. people are coming to where they think the money is, not for any type of ‘inequality’. they aren’t even sober enough to know that you hate them for their color. you validate what we all can see, but its not the sober people breaking into your house. all they want is money for a fix, if you keep that at the forefront, maybe we can not bring our own judgement into view and begin to look at people beyond a color, which is misleading. the poor, are not stupid. the poor are not motivated to lose their freedom for a risky thrill. the poor, play it very safe. the desolate, and persons without conscience are predominantly involved in substance abuse – heroin and cocaine, along with being culprits in the majority of these crimes.

    • 58. Steve Gregg  |  February 13, 2014 at 10:21 pm

      You change the violence by changing the culture, insteading of rewarding it with welfare checks, as we do now, and by openly condemning it.

      When the Europeand immigrants came to America, they were far more poor and living in worse conditions than the current population of blacks. They created their own opportunities. Take a look at a period photo of the tenements in New York City and you’ll find streets alive with vendors selling everything under the sun from pushcarts. Why aren’t the poor black neighborhoods alive with vendors selling stuff, stuff other than drugs?

      Money is not even a minor factor in the failure to educate poor blacks. Ten grand per student is more than sufficient to educate students. That’s $300K for a class of thirty, for Pete’s sake. You could spend $100K for the classroom, $100K for books and materials, and $100K for teacher salary.

      However, this has already been tested. A judge forced the suburbs of Kansas City to pay for the city schools, lavishing over $2 billion on them to build the state of the art school system. The scores for the poor black students did not budge an inch. They remained the same.

      The problem is the dysfunctional black culture, not money. The first step to break this cycle is to stop paying single women to supprt their babies. When Uncle Sam is no longer their default husband, they will make sure they have real husbands to support their babymaking.

      • 59. satch  |  February 16, 2014 at 3:06 am

        those white folks from europe did not have government sanctioned racist laws on the books banning them out of schools jobs,trades insurance policies.look really LBJ frees the slaves not lincoln because until the civil rights act of 1965 was passed white folks did any and all kinds of crap to black folks.the white man socially engineered the blacks into a dependent position in america for 400 yrs then gets mad at the result

  • 60. micpenpick  |  February 7, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Getting all this feedback, I hope I didn’t convey that people shouldn’t feel the feelings they’re having or that it’s not legitimate to feel scared or outraged. I just felt the points I made were lacking from the original piece and tht this context is often lacking from this perennial Baltimore conversation.

    • 61. Jen  |  February 7, 2014 at 9:35 pm

      My problem with your piece is that you attacked and diminished the author vs. just alerting us to another perspective or providing a good reminder or different vantage point.

    • 62. Mike T  |  February 8, 2014 at 10:44 am

      I think that you were spot on. There is a very similar article to yours here: https://medium.com/p/3e8ac15cf037 . I have read the feedback to your article, and I see people with viewpoints very similar to Halvorsen’s. They live in a place surrounded by crime and drugs, and expect to be completely isolated from it. That is very unrealistic. What they haven’t done is put themselves in the shoes of people living in the “other Baltimore”. There are well intentioned people living in those neighborhoods as well, and they are forced to deal with the realities of crime and drugs on a much greater scale. When you look at the Wbal crime statistics, ALL of the victims up until recently were blacks. There was no big uproar of indignation until a couple white people became victims.

    • 64. Kathy  |  February 8, 2014 at 11:15 am

      All points are well taken, but why has no one talked about the decline of basic values and who is teaching vulnerable young people values? Without a value system, you inevetibely end up with the moral decay that drives these outcomes.

  • 65. Bob  |  February 7, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    I love how because the original author was white, it automatically becomes a race thing. Take her race out of it, it is still a citizen of Baltimore that does not feel safe in her home because of the rampant crime that takes place freely in this city. White or black, brown or red, purple or green, criminals are criminals, their color does not matter, only the bad things they do.

    We need to place the blame right were it belongs, first on the horrible people who murder, rape, and pillage, and second on the police who fail at each opportunity they are given.

    The only person who made this a race issue is the Mr. Lawrence Lanahan. Shame on you sir.

  • 66. rd  |  February 7, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    I grew up in a diverse area outside of DC. My best friend growing up is in jail for 30 years for murder. He’s African American, I’m white. I bought a home in Canton in 2005, which I have owned and lived in since. I’ve never been in trouble with the law, except for spending 30 hours in Central Booking in 2005 with no charges and no explanation. But I saw the racial issue behind O’Malley’s and the BCPD’s push in 2005. But in reading Ms. Halverson’s piece I don’t agree with this blog’s take:

    The “other Baltimore,” which I assume she’s referring to when she says “they go do that shit somewhere else” (and where I assume she believes “they” are coming from) has been scared to death for decades. That other Baltimore is mostly black.

    I believe that “other Baltimore” is not defined by race or financial status, I think she is saying go to that “other Baltimore” that has currently or in the past embraced the “no snitching culture”, where certain criminal behavior may go unreported by certain residents, where there are surely many fed up people whose voices are drowned out by the criminal culture and where their elected leaders live in relative comfort as to their re-election status.

    I don’t think those of us that live some of the “safer” areas are turning a blind eye to the crime in other areas, but I think we can all agree that it is easier to cage a mouse rather than an elephant. Elephants won’t be welcome in Canton, because we’d rather learn the hard lessons that some of the “other Baltimore” communities have taught us, no one should turn a blind eye to crime (be that violence, theft, drug abuse or political corruption).

  • 67. derek  |  February 7, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    At a time during the early 90’s, D.C was know as the murder Capital of the U.S, with nearly 500 murders. Back then D.C was far more dangerous than Baltimore. Now they average about 100 murders a year. Philly, D.C,NY,Cleveland,Cincinnati,Newark,Chicago,Richmond,Va, and many many other cities have got their murder rates under control! Lets not act like this can’t be done! It requires strong Leadership which this city lacks. Mayor SRB has her aloof head up in the clouds.
    How the hell is this city going to attract 10,000 new residents with a murder rate that puts us in DETROIT territory.

  • 68. Mark  |  February 7, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    “Stop bitching about the inequality, because being poor does not have to mean being a criminal.” <–This.

    I know "Because Inequality" is the new liberal buzz phrase, but it's profoundly misapplied here. It's being used as a catch all to try to make a pretty package out of a complex issue which doesn't necessarily fit into politically correct talking points.

  • 69. Shereen  |  February 7, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    I think the problem here is that many white and/or upper/middle-class residents of Baltimore—and, of course, the Maryland suburbanites who work or play in Baltimore—show no sense of the structural problems plaguing the city and the roots of violence. They say very little about what’s making life difficult in the “other” Baltimore, the parts they don’t live in or like, and they are mostly only upset when those problems manifest in a way that impacts THEM. The fact that Tracey says “This is why people leave” is telling: most people do not have the privilege to pack up and move somewhere more comfortable. The fact that she points to gentrified areas as the “good” stuff is telling: there’s no sense of how this kind of development is DIRECTLY related to the “other” less desirable areas and the violence that emerges from them (i.e. no sense of the violence done to these areas to begin with!). There’s no sense of the history of the city, of “white flight” (which is basically what this article is about!) and redlining, how ghettoization was public policy. Although we can’t change history, it’s obviously important to how we diagnose the problem and design solutions. On that note, Tracey EXPLICITLY promotes further policing, which as explained here might make the white, richer residents safer but only means more violence for everyone else. All in all, these narratives end up pathologizing Baltimore and are actually harmful in that they promote solutions that do not address these underlying causes. I see this all the time with Detroit as well.

    So we can take Tracey’s concerns about violence seriously and embrace her worries, but also acknowledge the utterly problematic framing (you could call it racist too, but no one wants to think she “means” to be racist, so let’s just make clear that her piece totally neglects and erases black residents, whatever her intent was).

    • 70. Jen  |  February 7, 2014 at 9:44 pm

      her piece erases everyone but her. it was a vent. why does it have to be a treatise on race or inequality in baltimore or even give a nod or disclaimer as to that? to appease you?

      • 71. Shereen  |  February 7, 2014 at 10:34 pm

        It doesn’t erase everyone but her! It mentions her neighborhood and names specific victims of homicide (all of whom were white).

        And it matters because these published words have import and we should be careful about what we say. Medium isn’t just a diary for people to vent, she’s writing because she wants something to change—and yet she promotes policing as an idea, and focuses on the concerns of neighborhoods who already receive more resources than the rest of the city. She’s allowed to speak about her own experience, but we’re also allowed to say “hey there’s more to this that you’re missing” if she is genuine wanting about substantive change in the city.

  • 72. John Hammersley  |  February 7, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Christ Baltimore is such a trash pit.

    • 73. ecogordo  |  February 8, 2014 at 4:53 am

      If Christ were going to be somewhere, it would be in Baltimore.

  • 74. j k  |  February 7, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    why do people begin to play the race card? i dont understand it … if the situations were reversed and the “affluent” areas were predominantly hispanic and african american, then i feel like all would be ok …. i dont care what color your skin is. thugs are thugs , criminals are criminals …if im a prodcutive tax paying citizen and i want to ask to keep “them” out of my neighborhoods, i should be able to do so..I purposely used the word “Them” because i guarantee someone jumps to conclusions and says “why do you use “them”, you racist. Quick to put words in someone mouth, thats the problem with pieces like ms halverson wrote…. I would love to see data on some other parts of baltimore for the percentage of citizens on assistance and who pay taxes….. I cant speak for everyone, however, im pretty sure good people like myself would love to help someone in poverty. or give good direction. in fact, there are programs out there to help and provide good role models for our youth…..so lets not make this about race please and let the hate die

    • 75. Paul  |  February 8, 2014 at 6:22 pm

      If you choose not to see the obvious presence of “race” in all of this, you aren’t really talking about the issue.

      • 76. ER  |  February 9, 2014 at 11:11 am

        Paul, I don’t think anyone can ignore the “race” issue involved with this yes, but that’s purely from a statistical point of view that is most violent crimes committed in these more affluent areas are committed by residents of “other” neighborhoods and HAPPEN to be african american. It’s not racist to say this, it’s really the truth. Most of the murders in Baltimore are not given press because they are black on black violence (not giving those press could be racist) and occasionally it spills over into the more gentrified areas and the community gets scared. Baltimore has a crime problem, and regardless of what races are committing those…it’s everyone’s job to clean it up at the end of the day

  • 77. momto681115  |  February 7, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    People in any given society have always had more or less than someone else in the same society. Get over yourself and make your life responsible with what you have. Crime in the city of Baltimore affects you whether you are white or black. Poor schools are another huge problem. I cannot send my children to a Baltimore City public school, and I know few middle class, not necessarily “affluent” parents, black or white, who will. If we don’t start building bridges between us in 2014 and stop obsessing about the lines our parents and grandparents created, Baltimore will be another Detroit or Trenton, bankrupt, lawless, and having to sell our treasures to meet payrolls.

  • 78. AK  |  February 7, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    “The elephant in the room is inequality.” Bollocks.

    There has always been inequality in this world and there will always be inequality. What there has not been up until now are people with such a wanton disregard for the norms of society that they feel it is perfectly acceptable for them to violently rob and kill innocent people for their possessions just because they don’t have what the other person has. I grew up in a poor inner city, but we never experience this type of violence by such young people. It is only done because somehow they feel it is OK for them to “even the score” by doing whatever they want.

    As ER said, “The system did not fail them…they failed themselves”,

  • 79. Marie Kelly  |  February 7, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    I think you missed the point. Tracey is speaking from her point of view. ALL OTHER neighborhoods are going through the same thing. I am sure she knows that but her perspective is from her front porch. If writers like you could acknowledge the others points as valid and add your own suggestions or points of view- that would be productive. Everyone is right on this issue – there is a major problem that needs to be addressed. No one said the fix belonged in the white neighborhoods. Or the African American neighborhoods. Or the latino neighborhoods. Instead of pointing out her faults, I would suggest that you ADD to the conversation. JOIN her bandwagon to motivate those in YOUR community to speak out. Together. With Tracey. And other people who are voicing the same thing in their communities. Then take it to the next level. Writing gets other people involved only minimally. Organize a group who can gather, plan and take back your streets. Leaving it here on our computers and making it a “race thing” allows the politicians to ignore it all because they can’t fix race and they can ignore blogs. Motivate each other to get outside and take back your communities. There is massive power in numbers and even more power in passionate people.

  • 80. CC  |  February 7, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    My problem with this article is it suggests we are all suppose to be commiserating equally and since we aren’t living in the worst neighborhoods with more murders, crimes and despair we shouldn’t be complaining…
    Well, if I wanted to live in a crime ridden neighborhood than I wouldn’t have paid $400k for a home and $6550 in taxes a year. The difference is, we pay a premium to live in a city neighborhood that we expect to be fairly safe and protected and the city is failing us.
    Life is not equal and it never will be unless you want this to be a communist state. People come from different backgrounds, educations, careers and incomes.

  • 81. Canton_Resident  |  February 7, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Every city citizen has the right to feel safe. You can’t pin inequality on this. Even those with less income fight back just as Mrs. Halverson is. The city largely touts that most violent crime in the other areas (outside the waterfront) is drug related and is black on black crime, that in itself is unfortunate. Many good people in the lower income neighborhoods also fight back, and have vigils, and town hall meetings with leaders to attempt change in their own communities.

    Canton & surrounding areas are attempting not to succumb to the same hopelessness that many of the city already feel. You can look at any surrounding county, they operate the same, the roads through Greenspring valley and Towson are repaved much more than the roads in Dundalk or Randallstown. The bridges decorating the beltway are stone trimmed with beautiful lighting in those areas as their tax base feeds county services. Edmonson Village, Park Heights, and Loch Raven were all once vibrant neighborhoods in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Those neighborhoods have crippled as crime crept in and has riddled them for 2 decades! Good for Mrs. Halverson for attempting to not let her neighborhood suffer that same fate!

    It’s a defunct government that causes this never ending change. Baltimore & St. Louis are the only two major cities that operate independent of their counties in the U.S. Both are on the top 10 most dangerous city list! The question should be when do we remove those in power, and seek to benefit from the greater resources of the county around us by eliminating the failing jurisdiction that is the 20 square miles of Baltimore City.

    • 82. Lorraine  |  February 8, 2014 at 9:52 am

      San Francisco is a City and County. DC is a City, County and State.

  • 83. Abe Drewman  |  February 7, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Inequality is an oversimplification of a far more complicated socio-economic problem that plagues Baltimore and other cities like it. Attacking Ms. Halvorsen for her concerns was a pointless exercise because she is absolutely CORRECT! We left Baltimore, then Maryland completely, 5 years ago and never looked back!

  • 84. Nancy Michel  |  February 7, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    I love ER!

    • 85. ER  |  February 9, 2014 at 12:16 pm

      Nancy, Thank you! I attempted my own piece and would love to see some comments from you and others on how you think we can actually deal with the issues. Complaining on the internet as we all enjoy is one thing…an action plan is the next step.

      View at Medium.com

  • 86. erik boring  |  February 7, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    It doesn’t cost anything to vote – one election with 85% voter turnout in the downtrodden neighborhoods of Baltimore would go a long way to addressing the ills of inequality in the city. Sadly, I’ll never be proven wrong or right

  • 87. Meredith  |  February 7, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    Thank you for writing this and summing up what I could never express so clearly myself.

  • 88. Matt Wilson  |  February 7, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    A couple of thoughts —

    Income inequality explains part, but not all of what is facing us. Most poor people, even here in Baltimore, don’t go around stabbing people to death or bashing their head in. Had Kim Leto and Jon Fogg “just” been robbed and moved on with their lives relatively unscathed, we probably wouldn’t even be talking about this problem. What has made us take notice is the overwhelming, horrifying violence of those crimes.

    That those crimes were committed by kids is also a big concern. For one, there are lots of kids around in that middle school/high school age range, and it’s taxing to be wary of all of them all of the time. For another, the hope has been that with crime on the decline, generally, that this is due to a generational shift, and so is durable. If the birth cohort starting in the mid-’90s or whenever is going to be significantly more prone to commit violent crimes than the cohort before them, then those of us who endured the violence of the crack era should be permitted to freak just a little.

  • 89. Rick  |  February 7, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Using “inequality” as a segue to crime is akin to the Texas teen using “affluenza” for his defense.

    I think Ms Halvorsen wrote a heartfelt and very very accurate piece.

  • 90. Rebecca McWhite (@Rmcwhite1)  |  February 7, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    I’m sick of crime apologists blaming “white privilege” on every misaction or misdeed. Seriously sick. In the original article the author NOWHERE bemoans “oh it’s so horrible, the POC are all out to get me” – she is focused on what people do, not what they look like. She then adds a postscript to emphasize that crime in Baltimore transcends race, and that anyone of any color or background can become a target. Bottom line? If you live in Baltimore and are a good, law-abiding citizen – great! We need more people like you. If you live in Baltimore and participate in armed robberies, break-ins, muggings, the “knockout game,” shootings, and car hijackings – shame on you, and stop blaming race for what YOU do.

    • 91. Jen  |  February 7, 2014 at 9:50 pm

      the reality is that many crimes done in canton and patterson park are by white teens.

      • 92. ER  |  February 8, 2014 at 10:01 am

        Jen, I want some stats here. Not saying you’re wrong but I’d honestly be shocked if you could prove “most”. We’re not talking public urination or jaywalking here

  • 93. Tim Otte  |  February 7, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    People want to take pride in the place where they live just like they want to take pride in their place of employment, their family etcetera.
    When any of these things is so dysfunctional that it becomes embarrassing to be a part of it, one has a right to complain. One does not have to sympathize with the dysfunctional parts or feel sorry for them in the slightest. It’s up to the dysfunctional to get its shit together, not up to the healthy to empathize, for all to take pride in what was a great city.

  • 94. Kate  |  February 7, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    Fair comments about white privilege and inequality. However, you don’t pose a possible solution. If more police presence isn’t the solution, then what is?

    • 95. G. Williams (@epsilonicus)  |  August 21, 2014 at 11:27 am

      1. Improved community/police relations. This way residents feel more comfortable actually talking to the police.

      2. More investment by city in neighborhoods instead of just downtown development. The city needs both.

      3. More jobs

      4. Increase drug rehab spots. Baltimore only has 1/3 of the spots it needs.

  • 96. Lorraine  |  February 7, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    The city has not been poorly managed for years. I say this having lived in West Coast cities, southern cities and the nation’s capitol. It takes a lot to balance all the competing human needs, to say nothing of an aging infrastructure. Baltimore’s present mayor and former mayor, now governor know exactly what they are dealing with and have recruited or kept able key staff. Not easy. I live in Ednor Gardens-where we seem to be in compliance with a not so invisible tipping point (white/black ratio needed to make it “safe”). While schools closed elsewhere, a NEW ONE has been constructed here. I appreciated the article. I appreciate the MIC Pick n Pen response. Oh, and everyone in Ednor Gardens has dogs.

  • 97. Jim  |  February 7, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Baltimore crime is a problem with a long, long history. I was born, downtown, in 1946 and lived in the heart of downtown til 1974. But, for decades before my birth, there was a divide between the police Department and the black community. Police were often slow to respond for distress calls from ghetto neighborhoods…as long as it was “only” some black guy cutting another black guy with a razor…and as long as it didn’t spill out of the ghetto…who cares ? “Good Riddance !” I believe that the seeds of mistrust between the police and the black community are well over 100 years old.

    When I was growing up, the police controlled the streets, via foot patrols. One of the regular nighttime sounds was that of the beat cop rattling our door, to make sure it was locked.

    In the late 60’s, an out-of-town police commissioner appeared on the scene ; one of his first acts was to abolish foot patrols and to put everybody in cars. The police quickly lost control of the streets, as the criminal element took over block after block.

    A frequent downtown sight, of my late childhood / teen / early manhood was packs of black children roaming downtown in the wee hours of the night (I’m talking about 10pm to 2 or 3am). These were not young men, nor even teenagers…but mere children…not even ten years old, in some cases, most likely. What were they doing, loose on the streets, at ungodly hours ? Why was there no parent, in their lives, to tuck them into bed at a reasonable hour ? These were literally just children, and probably without any intention of getting in trouble…nonetheless, such activity is a blueprint for trouble…later, in life, if not then.

    People who continue to have children they neither want, love nor are willing to care for (to the best of their circumstances) should not be encouraged by having the system give them money every time a new child arrives. The children should be taken from them…they couldn’t possibly be worse off in an orphanage or in foster care.

    The black community is offended by having their dirty laundry discussed in public, but they also need to accept some ownership of the problem.

    By the same token, the news media and generations of government leaders have done nothing to address the problem by pretending that there is no real problem. During the 70s, my Dad & I used to listen to a police scanner almost nightly. There were always, plenty of “incidents” reported….a body in the street, an unruly crowd somewhere….almost NONE of this ever appeared in the news, either in print or on TV or radio.

    When I worked for a department store, I used to occasionally ride the #7 bus from Paca Street, all the way up Pennsylvania Avenue…deep in the heart of the ghetto. “The Avenue” was a very sad-looking strip with pawn shops & liquor stores in virtually every block…at least it seems so in memory, No matter that it was the middle of the day….every block had seemingly able-bodied men, just hanging out…presumably because there were no jobs for them ; perhaps some were such that preferred not to work. I don’t know.

    This is a terribly complex problem, underscoring generations of failure on virtually everybody’s part. There will be no “quick fix” solutions.

    I loved growing up in the heart of the city, and felt pretty safe, wandering the streets at all hours. That was truly another era.

    But I believe that this is the type of problem that CAN be alleviated…but it will require parents actually being parents, good schools for all students, good jobs available for those that graduate or leave school. It will require mending fences between the police and “the community” and civic leaders willing to tackle these problems honestly, instead of trying to minimize them.

    It will also require very harsh penalties for all perpetrators of serious crime. Let’s make the consequences so horrifying as to make the criminal think twice. We need a two-pronged attack…take serious criminals off the street….permanently, while trying to find solutions to prevent, or lessen, such behavior in future generations.

  • 98. Marta  |  February 7, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Inequality? Seriously? My parents moved to Baltimore city when the crime wasn’t as bad. They didn’t speak English well and were broke trying to give their 4 children a nice life. My mom was a seamstress making minimum wage and my dad picked up work at the dock as many hrs he could to get first dibs on jobs. They NEVER too any government help even when my dad was injured on the job and couldn’t work. Times were tough but they saved every penny. We had very little. No cool tennis shoes, clothes or even toys. The basics and that was it. Then all their hard work and pride in their home became threatened when the neighborhood started changing. Crime, violent fights and then a gunshot. My parents had enough and took their savings and moved to Baltimore County. Fifteen years later the same cycle started to happen. Section 8 homes started to creep closer and so came the violence with it, forcing them to move again. This is not a inequality thing. This is unfortunately a group of people within a community that have a different mentality and they keep producing offspring with that same mentality. As for the poor folk that get a bad rap for living in those communities, they need to want to get out far more than they want to buy nice tennis shoes and get their hair and nails done. My mom NEVER would have given herself that luxury! Sorry to generalize so much for the poor soul that is struggling and working but even they would probably agree that there is a lot of that going on because I saw it, first hand, every day! (No matter the color)

  • 99. ae  |  February 7, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    nicpenpick – Please pay CLOSE attention to the statements by ER……

    “Stop bitching about the inequality, because being poor does not have to mean being a criminal. The system did not fail them…they failed themselves…….Manners and decency know no racial/socio-economic divide..”…

    THAT is the fact that you and others like you need to focus on (instead of playing the ‘victim’ card and/or inequality card)…….and THAT is the problem with Baltimore and many other US cities in need…

    Resident for of Bmore for 16 years….loved Bmore and its potential when I moved there..spent years trying to improve it thru creative real estate…..and despised it when i left a year ago. I still get physically nauseous and angry when I think about how that place functions and what a wasteful place it is. I’ve watched DC, Boston and NY do something with inner cities in the past 20 years…and I’ve watched property taxes in places like canton, fed hill and pp, go thru the roof…..thru the roof…with no discernable benefit to the overall potential of the city. At $300-400k, 1 row home in fed hill is generating 10x the tax revenue it was as a $40k home in 1995…10x the amount..and thats true all over down town..ALL OVER down town……and where’s the payoff city wide? The payoff is not in those neighborhoods…crime is much lower than it was…and not major services have been increased…so where has all that ‘increase’ gone?

    Someone earlier mentioned Station North…oh how right they are…its a GEM waiting for polish…..and……yeah…well….still waiting…10 years now…

    I was in the inner city construction and real estate business…so my numbers are somewhat scewed..but in 16 years I was the victim of over 60 burglaries (home, car, jobsites,etc). 60….and I was within 2 blocks of at least 15 shootings and/or stabbings, and these were NOT blocks where those events are more typical…these are not blocks that would have made most urbanites feel totally freaked out.

    A 65 year old latino employee ( a guy who swept floors for me) was beaten to death one night in Patterson Park….did you know that there is a ‘group of folks’ in Baltimore that refer to latinos as “ATM’s” because on Friday’s its known they all typically have money in their pockets from working all week….and this same ‘group of folks’ then targets Latinos on Fridays for their cash? Barbaric…

    Another latino employee of mine was one of two guys shot by the 13-14 year old girls in highland town a few years ago. His roommate opened the door in broad daylight and got his head blown off, and the bullet meant for his face bounced off the side of his head…and they were doing it for what…some kind of initiation I think….

    yeah..those girls were ‘victims’ of the system…sure whatever….lets not forget about the fact they were shooting at two men who paid $1000’s to leave their families and homes in countries that are economically challenged to get smuggled into this country to do the work that our own citizens won’t do….hum…so those latinos are victims of countries were poverty and corruption are the norm…..and the migrate1000s of miles for work…so they can send money back to their families at home……and our ‘victims’ of poverty just like causing problems for others and claim they can’t find the city line to get out….

    Our cities police force (legislative force…city council and mayor) ALLOWED groups of 30-40 motorcyclist on non-street legal bikes to drive right into town on Russell street Sunday evenings around 7pm when weather was good. It’s like straight out of an escape from NY movie. Nothing could be done because we had laws preventing chase….its utter insanity. Tack strips, bean bag guns and clothe lines were more than justifiable for that type of intentional, irresponsible, disrespectful and very dangerous behavior…those vehicles were lethal weapons…yet even when they caused accidents and a death, it was ‘tolerated’ because if those violating the law were injured trying to preven them from violating the law, lawsuits against the city would follow. If as a city you can’t put your foot down to that type of egregious behavior, what message is really being sent….

    Get over the victim mentality crap and start asking everyone to take responsibility for their actions…no matter their crappy circumstances…..those circumstances exist in every third world country around the world…but many in those areas don’t come close to the barbarianism that Baltimore incubates.

    I feel better now…this good feeling will likely last until the next article i read about how inequality is creating victims that are tying the city down…

    • 100. RTF  |  February 8, 2014 at 10:45 am

      Amen! The fact that plenty of Americans rise out of poverty and desperate circumstances without ever resorting to violent crime or robbery is proof that upward mobility is available to those willing to work for it. I, personally, am one of those people, and I have seen plenty of others follow a similar path.

      The problem is that these inner-city punks don’t want to work for it. They would rather not spend their evenings and weekends studying to become professionals. They would rather not work after school and during summer vacation in order to earn some money to improve their circumstances.

      The work ethic seems to be completely lacking. Rather, they see Latinos and whites as “walking ATMs” because it’s a quick and easy way to make some money. Flash a gun and look intimidating, and people will throw money at you. And if they don’t, you gang up on them and crack their head open. Easy money.

      Or deal drugs. Very little “work” is involved in the act of dealing drugs. It’s dangerous as can be (there is no doubt about it), but it takes an entirely different work ethic to spend eight hours each day cleaning floors or washing dishes than it does to hand over some drugs in exchange for some money.

      There’s just no discipline there. That’s why I have no time and very little compassion for the “inequality” argument. It’s one thing if you have a group of people who try incredibly hard to improve their lot in life, but the system is literally rigged in order to prevent them from succeeding (think, Jim Crow laws). It’s a completely different thing when you have a group of people who literally demand money for nothing.

      I consider myself a liberal, but liberals need to take a page out of the conservative playbook when it comes to personal responsibility, because every person, no matter how desperate the circumstances, always has a choice.

  • 101. Fleeing Baltimore  |  February 7, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    See the documentary Fleeing Baltimore:

  • 102. Edit Barry  |  February 7, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    Because I “liked” this post, I feel I should explain why, particularly because Tracey Halvorsen is a longtime colleague of mine and you are not generous in your reading of her piece.

    First, I like that you point out the obvious: There are those who have lots of choices about where to live and those who don’t. Choices are not equally distributed. So it would behoove those who bemoan their options to recognize the privileges they enjoy on the basis of class and, in this case, race. Tracey’s piece does not acknowledge privilege. A sentence could have saved her article from that criticism, but (or so) I’m glad your post includes it.

    Second, the fact that the fluke murder-spike in her neighborhood is the norm in too many other neighborhoods is an important one to introduce. Crime in Baltimore is a longstanding problem, and there are people in this city for whom it is and has been a fact of everyday life. Thank you for introducing a broader perspective than her first-person essay does (or could, given that it is a first-person essay).

    Where your response loses traction is the moment when you “assume” that the “somewhere else” she refers to is code for black neighborhoods that are some combination of poor and working class. “Somewhere else” could mean anywhere. Anywhere but here. It could mean the next street over, the next neighborhood, the next county. It could mean Timbuktu. Your assumption reveals more about your lens on the world than hers. It splits Baltimore into black and white, struggling and comfortable. As if there are no middle class black neighborhoods or poor white neighborhoods; as if there are no immigrant communities. That reading reveals more about your lens on the city than hers. Moreover, it creates distance between two people who could probably have a productive exchange about what’s going on crime-wise. With that dangerous assumption about what she meant, you drew a line between you. I think that was a mistake.

    Where both pieces falter is in their last sentence. Crime is not an elephant in the room. Neither is inequality, however defined. If there is an elephant, maybe it’s us – a group of around 685,000 people, call them Baltimoreans, who are lots of different colors and classes and genders and ages, who have lots of different opinions, and who, at least while they live here, are all in this together.

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading your piece and thinking about it. I hope the conversation continues. And I hope you and Tracey figure out a way to take action, whether or not you do it together. I’d really like to read about that.

    • 103. Helen Atkinson (@hatkinson333)  |  February 10, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      Thanks for this response. I think there is value in showing that the two authors may not be that far apart. I think it is important to recognize that Tracey is trying to gain a perspective that allows her to keep living in Baltimore. Many of us would be liars if we tried to claim that living here doesn’t give us pause for thought. Some of my family from England won’t even come and visit me here because they are too afraid. And perhaps using the shorthand of “inequality” does not do the rest of the argument justice. But there is a substantial difference between people who have the means to make the choice to live in a trendy place and people who are stuck in poor and dangerous neighborhoods for lack of another alternative. Of course we can’t and should not excuse the people who turn to violence and robbery, but they are not the majority. To live in the city we all make a careful calculus around safety, schools, sanitation, aesthetics and cost, and then some of us try to change that calculus in a real way that looks beyond our own front steps. It isn’t news that we have to be on the look out and continually weigh the dangers. What would be and should be news are efforts to resist the building of barriers and barricades between neighborhoods, efforts to build recognition across neighborhood boundaries, efforts to increase knowledge of what lies beyond our comfort zones. Because much of this discussion would be different if there were not two very different Americas and two very different Baltimores.

      • 104. Edit Barry  |  February 10, 2014 at 1:42 pm

        Hear, hear.

  • 105. Lisa  |  February 7, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    The police department claims they went more officers…politicians say more are needed..and yet when qualified candidates apply and pass everything from there written test, aptitude test, polygraph, psychological, background and so on for whatever reason they decide not to accept him into the academy. Oh and he has military training…..special forces at that. And this isn’t the first I’ve heard of this happening. So until the police department fulfills it’s promises things will not improve.

    • 106. ER  |  February 8, 2014 at 10:12 am

      Lisa, sadly I suspect a good bit of this issue is that there is no money to pay them. And I know that’s the worst issue in Baltimore. As someone said in an earlier “30% supporting the other 70%”, which will not improve until more people pay in. It’s a chicken or the egg issue. How can we get more tax paying citizens without having an attractive way to lure them into Baltimore? They attempt some development programs like CHAP to incentivize development (gentrification) but so far it’s not happening fast enough. I sort of pity the politicians here…they have quite a conundrum here with seemingly no solution and we are forced to taking to blog posts to rant as opposed to taking some defined action plan to improving our city

      • 107. Brit (Station North)  |  February 8, 2014 at 10:48 pm

        Our political leaders in Baltimore give away revenue – to the Hyatt, to the BDC, to the Grand Prix and to every “consultant” from outside the city that they hire whenever they are called to address the legitimate concerns of residents and businesses. They “lose” money awarded to them for homeless services. They refuse to operate transparently, look out for those new speed cameras, y’all. They are not looking out for the citizens of Baltimore. We all deserve better. I appreciate this discussion; maybe more of us will be voting SRB out of office after her extra two years. I want to stay too, but there is no will at City Hall for anything but the status quo.

      • 108. Donato  |  February 9, 2014 at 2:21 am

        Maybe we should get back some “honest” politicians like Sheila Dixon. Please listen to Nina Somone’s song. “Baltimore”. Sung many years ago and it is worse now

    • 109. Stan Modjesky  |  February 8, 2014 at 2:02 pm

      Police are not crime-preventers. They are the historians of crime.

      Case law in Maryland and the other 49 states has ruled that police have no duty to protect the public.

      I will not stir the pot here by advocating one thing or another. Connect the dots for yourself.

  • 110. she g.  |  February 7, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    It is apparent that everyone is so
    very passionate about the article and a response to that article. Thank u for freedom of speech.
    Question if the crimes that where mentioned happen in the other Baltimore , would u even know about them or would u even care?
    Would u agree that it is ok for a blk women to not feel safe in her own neighborhood. And if she does are u willing to defend her right to say so. I am just sayn these senseless crimes suck no matter who the victims are but the fact that when its white / in a white area everybody pays attention that is what inequality is.

  • 111. Ty  |  February 7, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Oh ok i get it… So it’s the” inequality”… For some reason i thought violent crime is violent crime and must be dealt with. God forbid, if you ever get your teeth knocked out and skull cracked open on the sidewalk or get killed in your own house… Blame it on the “inequality”… You’ll feel much better… What nonsense. I am a law abiding, tax paying citizen and i am entitled to a safe environment in which to live in. Period. No this or that.

  • 112. eric  |  February 7, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    Since inequality is the problem, how do we solve it?

  • 113. farazars  |  February 8, 2014 at 12:09 am

    Love you Lanahan! The article has also been bugging me all day, more so because I had just read another article about Baltimore that shook me to the core (I feel that after working for the city’s health department, I had some idea of the lives of some of its residents but this is a “poetic” reminder of the injustice)

  • 114. Rob Bennett  |  February 8, 2014 at 12:13 am

    This is awesome, thank you.

  • 115. w  |  February 8, 2014 at 12:56 am

    What is heartbreaking to me is ignoring the fact that the mayor is indeed trying her very best to help out the city with the battle against crime. People need to support the mayors staff. Facets of revenue have been created to help the city to progress….it is not a negative but a positive. If Tracey is complaining…maybe she should run for mayor and attempt to fight the battle herself as she doesn’t understand the battle that she is fighting against with all political angles. Our leaders in Baltimore indeed have a high desire for positive change and need the citizens full support.

  • […] Whose Heart is Baltimore Breaking, Really? by Lawrence Lanahan […]

  • 117. Jeff Adamson  |  February 8, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Why wont anyone consider this…. The fact Shall Issue Concealed Carry lessens crime? Right now in Maryland, we are helplessly disarmed. The only people allowed to carry a firearm for protection are the police and those few holders of the coveted Maryland CCW(to get one you must fit into certain criteria…rich, politically connected) Self defense ISNT a good enough reason according to the MD State Police.

  • 118. Anonymous  |  February 8, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Oh, please. There is no Baltimore and “other Baltimore”. I work there. It’s ALL a shit hole.

  • 119. Anonymous  |  February 8, 2014 at 9:35 am

    You know what, I want to amend my comment above. I know there are neighborhoods that struggle to do their part. I just think it is too far gone now and it IS sad because there used to be such great communities.

  • 120. Jamie  |  February 8, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Crime and inequality aren’t elephants in any room. Crime is the result of individuals that have no fear of consequences and feel they can live outside of the law that govern social behavior and inequality is a fact of life. There has and most likely will always be the” have and have not’s”.

    I do believe the city officials share the responsibility of the City’s ill’s. But a individual must accept responsibility for their own safety and educate themselves on the dangers of their environment and mitigate that risk or perceived risk.

    We also need to stop perpetuating fear.More Police would help as well as productive arrest’s but its not the complete solution. They’re aren’t any easy answers.

  • 121. curious george  |  February 8, 2014 at 9:51 am

    “you don’t have the right to complain about crime because [poor people]”

  • 122. formerbaltimorean  |  February 8, 2014 at 9:55 am

    I lived in Baltimore City for 15 years (Patterson Park) in the ’80s thru the mid ’90s and I visit every couple of years. It’s really heart-breaking to see what the city has become…..crime-ridden, thugs hanging out on the street corners at all hours of the day and night, murders and violence galore, crooked politicians turning that [once beautiful, historic and vibrant] city into a ghetto, etc. If the tax base (of course that’s the working, struggling middle-class of ALL colors and cultures) are fleeing Bloodymore, I sure don’t blame. They, like myself, work too hard for the few things they want–that includes feeling safe in and out of the home. Baltimore City IS a ghetto; when the city does lose its tax base, it will be another Detroit…and that’s incredibly sad to me. I drive around Patterson Park when I visit–I just shake my head and remember how nice it was 30 years ago.

  • 123. LL  |  February 8, 2014 at 10:18 am

    I think it would be interesting for both authors to note that two of the three crimes listed (Patterson Park and Canton) were perpetrated by former and current Baltimore City School kids. (The Canton criminal was one of my former students – an Iraqi refugee actually, not African American.) The education system is failing the students. Baltimore City Schools are a joke – run by an old girl network who need to hang on to their jobs and their status and have forgotten about the students (and you can include SRB in that network). Until children are valued enough to put heat in the classrooms and books on their desks – there will be crime and violence. Education offers hope for the future. Currently – there is no hope in Baltimore. Ask a high school kid what he wants to do when he grows up. He will tell you he doesn’t expect to grow up – or that he wants to “get a check” every month. When does a middle class kid say that? Why do middle class kids have hope and chances and lower class do not? Look at the education. Find me a City with an excellent education system – and I’ll show you a City with low crime (Boston and New York come to mind).

    • 124. RedDonnaAnn  |  February 8, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      I taught in East LA for seven years. You are missing one crucial element in your dead on assessment of the need for schools to succeed: parents.

      • 125. Rick  |  February 8, 2014 at 1:39 pm

        Thank you! People complain about the School System here in Baltimore City, but there is absolutely positively no substitute for Good Parenting. Without Good Parenting, you end up with a School System like Baltimore’s and Good Parenting does not cost anything or know financial boundaries.

  • 126. RTF  |  February 8, 2014 at 10:26 am

    If a city permits its residents to act like barbarians with near impunity, don’t be surprised that – in time – the city has nothing but barbarians left.

    • 127. Steve Gregg  |  February 13, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      Exactly. Take a look at Detroit. When black crime gets out of hand, the white people flee the city for the suburbs. Ten years later, the black middle class follows them. Then you have a dead city core full of abandoned homes and feral dogs.

  • 128. Musings by Jacqueline  |  February 8, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Thanks for this and the Between the Lines work as well. I also thought the other piece was worth a read. It felt more desperate – when folks are scared and desperate – it is sometimes more difficult to look at the bigger picture. You did a great rebuttal while keeping this all in mind.

    Much peace,

  • 129. Chuck Speers  |  February 8, 2014 at 11:39 am

    It’s the fools who have been brainwashed since their college freshmen orientation about white privilege who are a major part of this problem. You people vote as if your college professors are there with you and you sensing them nodding in approval. You people refuse to acknowledge reality. You are the first to attack Christianity in the name of gay rights or abortion rights, but respond emotionally when confronted with information about the treatment of gays in Muslim countries (or by Muslims in America) and you cry that blacks are too stupid to care for their children, so it’s okay when Planned Parenthood has killed millions of black babies. You think that having a gun free zone sign saves lives, despite evidence that guns save lives. Why am I even wasting my time on YOU PEOPLE?

  • 130. Mick Feisty  |  February 8, 2014 at 11:55 am

    I don’t understand all this talk of segregation, isolation, wall building, etc. One of the most prevalent comments I hear from out-of-towners is how the city changes drastically from block to block. My impression from non-locals has always been that we are far LESS segregated than most other cities.

  • 131. RedDonnaAnn  |  February 8, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Baltimore was an Underground Railroad destination city in one of the original thirteen colonies. It has been a majority black city for hundreds of years. When I was growing up the city was almost 80% black, now it hovers at around 65%.

    Additionally, Baltimore has always had a thriving middle class black community, it just has a long history of being sadly silent on the issues both articles raise. When Schmoke was mayor and tried to get the needle exchange program going and also tried to shut down a bunch of public libraries in poor neighborhoods, the most notable voice missing was that of middle class blacks. There are plenty of well to do blacks in Charm City and many of them are just as scared of crime as whites. I do wish they would speak up, loudly and continuously. And I wish they would offer solution, so that we who are not black can know what shoulder to throw and to what wheel.

    But let’s get real. Some of the basics are just undeniable: the education system in Baltimore city is dismal, the city services in Baltimore city’s poor neighborhoods are dismal, the job availability in poor Baltimore city neighborhoods is dismal. And yes, it IS the government’s fault. It’s their JOB to use tax dollars to help ALL citizens have a decent standard of living. And while not all poor neighborhoods in Baltimore are neighborhoods of color and you’ve got plenty of heinous activity in poor white neighborhoods, those neighborhoods are much smaller in number.

    A poor economy makes poor people more desperate: crime is up all over the country and much of it is being committed by the already disenfranchised poor, much of it people of color. When you are in a black city, you have to take race into account. On all levels, not just the lowest performing ones.

    • 132. Donato  |  February 8, 2014 at 3:56 pm

      Baltimore is controlled by African Americans. Can’t blame “Whitey” anymore.

    • 133. chris lee  |  February 10, 2014 at 1:21 pm


      • 134. Frank Burns  |  February 13, 2014 at 3:31 pm

        Crime creates poverty, though, both directly and indirectly. The “directly” part is obvious enough. As far as “indirectly” goes, it should be fairly obvious that the type of person who is likely to commit crimes is also likely to not be interested in, or maybe not even capable of, gainful employment. That’s the direction of the causation in the poverty/crime correlation, not the other way around.

  • […] Finally, read: Whose Heart is Baltimore Really Breaking? […]

  • 136. Alex  |  February 8, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    The high (and increasing) crime level in Baltimore and in Maryland in general is a result of the gun laws in the state. It’s a fact that when decent people are allowed to carry guns, the crime level goes down, as the crimnals (who will always carry guns) think twice before attacking someone as they know that anyone can blow their heads off. Obtaining a carry license in MD is practically impossible, so the decent people are kept un-armed and the criminals know that and take advantage.

  • 137. HK  |  February 8, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    I moved to Baltimore a year and a half ago for grad school. I’m getting ready to graduate now. I’ve been offered a really good job doing exactly what I want to do and so I’m seriously considering buying a house here in the city. I’ve liked Baltimore from day one and it’s only grown on me. I see the unique charm and the potential.

    But I do have my reservations; not because of the crime, but because of the way crime is acknowledged here in Baltimore. I almost feel like people accept the crime as part of the Baltimore ‘charm’. It’s talked about in a near nonchalant tone. I hear people talk about the crime as something you just deal with. I’ve heard people talk about getting mugged and they just laugh about it. I hear people talk about the violent crimes and just shake their head and go back to talking about what they watched on tv last night. I’ve never experienced this in any other place.

    • 138. Mark Ingram  |  February 8, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      Lived here my whole life and you hit the nail on the head. We have become numb to many crimes. The author sticks it to the lady who wrote the original article as she should shut up and deal with the crime. It makes no sense, and it’s almost like he’s saying Stop Snitching. Disappointed

      • 139. Mick Feisty  |  February 9, 2014 at 12:45 pm


  • 140. Stan Modjesky  |  February 8, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Just curious: why are so many census tracts on this map not colored? No data for those areas?

  • 141. Bill  |  February 8, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    I guess you realize that the people who read this are the ones who already left.

  • 142. Shackleford  |  February 8, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    People: ending poverty and inequality is not complicated. You simply redistribute wealth to the poor. Or better yet, get rid of means-tested programs and make a universal income available to all citizens (this actually has support from prominent conservatives). That way, poor people won’t have to make an equally unappealing choice between welfare and an $8/hr job (also, raising minimum wage should be on the table).

    I’m going to get blasted with the usual conservative counter-arguments about socialism, which I’ll address when they come. But regardless, crime correlates to poverty, so a cash transfer to the poor will help alleviate that. Will all crime problems be solved? absolutely not, there are still cultural problems that will linger (namely, young black males seemed to pushed into only one role, ie hyper-masculine violent), but some of the divide will close. “better education” only reshuffles deck chairs when all the wealth hoarded at the top. This is a federal issue and local outreach cannot solve the problem.

    • 143. chris lee  |  February 10, 2014 at 1:19 pm

      strange..other minorities get by without all this coddling..jews in NYC’s lower east side eg..

    • 144. Steve Gregg  |  February 13, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Stealing from workers to give to non-workers will create an even larger non-working culture. Why should anyone work if they are guaranteed a salary? How could such a scheme work if nobody works?

  • 145. Char  |  February 8, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Inequality?! Yup, your right the big elephant in the room that city officials should face is the inequality of financial resources in Bmore. By them not funding proper resources crime is increasing. More money should be placed towards schools , after school and summer programs. Right now the problem in southeast Bmore are the young kids who are roaming the streets. Its sad that during the summer all you hear residents say is to watch out for large group of kids because they may not be up to no good. Its not about inequality of where they live because if they go to school in your neighborhood they live there theyre not coming from far away in Baltimore. The problem isnt inequality because now youre not safe anywhere in Baltimore. If someone who was from a really bad neighboorhood in Baltimore vs someone from Fed hill/Canton/Patterson park had come out and say what the author stated would you have the same opinion?

    • 146. chris lee  |  February 10, 2014 at 1:18 pm

      mo’ money, mo’ money…social capital is what’s needed..not more tax dollars

  • 147. Donato  |  February 8, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    Pat teenagers to produce more babies that become thugs but can keep on electing our worthless government. Three generations of unemployed and illiterates prior to the eldest reaching 45 years old. This has been going on for years.

  • 148. SoboJoe  |  February 8, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Bleeding heart secular white elitist apologists never look at the real elephant in the room, they just throw good money after bad and feel good about themselves as they read Kerouak, stroke their salt and pepper beards and yearn for their long summer breaks from the rigors of their cushy tenure-protected jobs at local universities.

    In Baltimore City a failure of leadership has helped 2 generations of inner city residents to degenerate into a culture of pure ignorance. When we speak of cultures, we generalize…get over it. The NAACP hasn’t helped either as they are too busy playing the race card than they are about working to fix the real issues.

    I don’t want to hear about race and minorities…there are plenty of minorities in this country that have strong cultural and family values that use the assistance that the U.S. provides to better their lives and put their children through college in 1 generation.

    If you can’t afford to raise kids, don’t have kids.

    If you have a burning desire to better yourself, then take enough assistance to get on your feet and have enough pride to stop once you’ve achieved situation-changing success.

    If you value education, don’t let your kids stay out until 2 am on weeknights and either no-show the next day of school and/or be zombies all day.

    Take some responsibility. Be accountable.

    Democrats have run this city into the ground. There hasn’t been any change of political philosophy or vision since 1968. What is the definition of insanity again? It is in all of our best interests to try something new.

    • 149. RedDonnaAnn  |  February 8, 2014 at 7:28 pm

      So with all your advice and wisdom, this former middle school teacher would love to know how you plan to effect this change. In practical terms, how do you create accountability?

  • 150. Mark Ingram  |  February 8, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    I agree with most of the article but the last sentence lost me. “The elephant in the room is inequality.” Neighborhood inequality? Gentrified vs non gentrified? Should the lady that wrote the article just keep her mouth shut and not complain because other neighborhoods have worse crime rates?

  • 151. 10-7  |  February 8, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    baltimore (it doesn’t deserve to be capitalized) is a cesspool. Whatever fuels it doesn’t matter. What needs to be done is to set off a nuke and start over. There are criminals and gangs of all races that operate in baltimore whether it’s the DMI, Bloods, Crips, BGF, Aryans, or the MS13. The reason you here so much about Black gangs is because you roaches love to stir the race pot. How about you kill yourselves or move out of the damn city then never venture to the city or a post about it again. I’m so sick of all of you with this shit! Now that I got that little rant out let’s be honest, whomever the bitch is that wrote the blog, or whatever the shit is that’s all she’s going to do. She is a complainer not a doer she’s the same one that will call the cops and will say something is going on outside and not follow up. So what are we to do? We can’t make cases without evidence or witnesses, so if you aren’t going to step up shut up. The reason they don’t have enough cops is because baltimore city doesn’t give 2 shits about their police. The internal affairs will spend time trying to set up a decent cop while the most corrupt walk the streets and don’t get caught until they get greedy. The bottom line you are all a part of the problem that is baltimore just as much as the trash that blows and walks on the street!

  • […] “I think the problem here is that many white and/or upper/middle-class residents of Baltimore—and, of course, the Maryland suburbanites who work or play in Baltimore—show no sense of the structural problems plaguing the city and the roots of violence,” said Shereen at a local blog that focuses on journalism and music operated by NPR reporter Lawrence Lanahan. […]

  • 153. Karyn LaFayette  |  February 9, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    You can’t help those who don’t want to help themselves, yet were still supposed the suffer the consequences of those who don’t want to help themselves? Stop blaming the white man for these so called inequalities. When mindless black women stop having babies for the welfare money, leaving the broken school system and the streets to raise their misbehaved, drug-addled children (you know, those who don’t want to help themselves, unless they are helping themselves to welfare) then what else is left to do? Fight back. Tougher gun laws don’t stop criminals, they stop law abiding people from defending themselves. And throwing money at the problem doesn’t help. History has demonstrated this. A lazy person who doesn’t want to work will only take that money, spend it on garbage and continue to be lazy. A friend of mine once said, ‘if you care about the welfare of blacks, get the blacks off welfare.’

  • 154. Julie  |  February 9, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    The problem of crime & poverty is a complex one for Baltimore City… I personally think that police can’t fix problems, only impose punishments. On the other hand, if we poured money into education in inner city neighborhoods, treated drug addiction as a disease instead of a crime… Then some of the problems might start solving themselves.

    • 155. Donato  |  February 9, 2014 at 9:44 pm

      I live downtown. Just an hour ago, after having returned from a meeting in the county, my car was surrounded by 9 black youth on South and Lombard street. I guess they were showing me what black power is in Baltimore. If I do not move the car I get attacked or shot. If I move the car and I hit them they sue me and my life is ruined. F!! Baltimore. Somalia is probably safer, at least I am allowed to protect myself there.

  • 156. Rachel  |  February 9, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    I wish people would focus less on what the city is doing for them and think about what they can do for themselves and for one another. Get to know your neighbors. Look out for one another. Report suspicious activity. Even volunteer and help turn around “the other Baltimore.” No one cares about your wellbeing more than you do — take ownership of it, and work together.

  • 157. Michael Bochenski  |  February 9, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Inequality is not the problem. Opportunity is the problem. Baltimore has none. We do not teach kids the Law but we teach them punishment and fines through regulation and statues. We do not teach them in School to create business we teach them that we have fines and taxes to pay. WAKE UP BALTIMORE.

  • 158. Tim Drake  |  February 9, 2014 at 11:29 pm

    I don’t buy that zero tolerance policing is not a solution. It worked in NYC when Guiliani cleaned up that city and the NYPD enforced quality of life violations.

  • […] Whose Heart is Baltimore Breaking, Really? […]

  • 160. Donnie  |  February 10, 2014 at 11:29 am

    America doesn’t have the stomach to deal with large populations of feral hominids. At least not yet.

    • 161. Donnie  |  February 10, 2014 at 11:33 am

      White Privilege is only as legitimate as Black Criminality.

    • 162. chris lee  |  February 10, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      it’s a job for the dept of fish and wildlife

  • 163. chris lee  |  February 10, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    The responses on this site are exactly why you can’t get anywhere with this issue. “Apologists” and defensive statistic deniers..we’re doomed

  • 164. Kent Otho Doering  |  February 10, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Goodness gracious. I was born in Balitimore in 46, grew up in Linthicum. Then, after a stint in the Army, took a European out and settled in a German city that had been bombed to smithereens during World War II and was still rebuilcing even in the early 70s.

    It is not a matter f “race”. Munich has a lot of African residents, coming in via the liberal German pollicies toward “political asylum”. The German Federal Government, the state and the city go over backwards to train and assimilate all, and give everbody jobs.
    Hm, as for “drug dealing”, the asylum seekers know selling marijuana or hashisch is treated like a minor offence. 1st. offence fine, 2nd offence short jail term. 3rd offence, a “one way ticket” back to the place they fled from. Ergo, few are tempted into dealing.

    All in all, I do not regret the decision to go back to the “old country” one bit. Life in a European city has a different quality to it. The lack of violent crime for residents of all races- makes life enjoyable for most European urban area residents no matter what the race.

    It is not a “race” thing, but rather a “pop culture” “gangsta” thing.
    I have spent time in predominately black cities in places like Addis Abeba, Nairobi, Capetown, and Lagos- where the “gangsta” mentality has not taken hold, and the youth are disciplined and well behaved.

    In all my years abroad, the only time I was exposed to danger was in Bari harbour region in Southern, Italy back in 94 as I was caught in the middle of a 25 minute, three way shoot out between the local Camorra- local police and Albanian cigarette and drug smugglers. (played dead flat on the ground during the duration of the gun-fight.)

    I really have no solutions for the “gangsta” mentality that plaques American cities. I pray for Baltimore, but thank God that I live in postwar Munich.

  • 165. getreal  |  February 10, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Yes inequality is the reason why Baltimore is ridden with crime and poverty….Believe. Use your brain.

    • 166. chris lee  |  February 10, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      “inequality” of social values

  • 167. Tanika D.  |  February 10, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    Lawrence, thank you so much for this eloquent, thoughtful, data-driven and very human-centered piece. I always knew there was a reason I liked you so much! 🙂

  • 168. Jeff Beck  |  February 10, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    I had the opportunity to visit Baltimore in 2004. I went to the aquarium and did some other tourist-ey things like take pictures of the architecture, etc. But all the while, felt like we were being “stalked”, for lack of a better term, by potential thieves, robbers, muggers.
    So much so that my wife and daughter didn’t want to leave the hotel room. It did bother me, but not enough to deter me, maybe because I don’t look like a victim, that helped me, but I still felt watched. Whenever I felt like I was being sized up, I would give a stare back like, “Come on MF’er, lets see what you got”, and that seemed to work.

    Black boys won’t confront a white man, when there’s a certainty that they will end up in the ER.

    That being said, I have no reason to return. Aside from the architecture and museums, It’s a dump. I feel for the people who have to live there.

  • 169. Alice Smith  |  February 11, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    I lived in Baltimore all my life and both of these pieces make very valid points. It breaks my heart that the city I grew up in has so many places that look like a ghost town. We no longer have a “downtown”, long abandoned back in the 80s for the glitz of Harborplace. My old neighborhood; Broadway between North Avenue and Federal Streets had some of the most stately three story houses in the city. Most of the residents were gainfully employed, God fearing, law abiding citizens. The fathers worked and there were quite a few stay at home moms. Neighbors knew and looked out for each other. That was the rule not the exception. Then Vietnam, the MLK assasination and the riots came. Baltimore, the one I knew was never the same. Bright boys came back from the war shattered young men. Espousing Black Power but having no power. Urban renewal came in and placed a band-aid over some of the really gaping holes and others it just left alone to die a nasty death.
    There are a myriad of reasons why Baltimore is in the condition that it’s in and there are several plausible solutions. I suggest better lighting on some streets, sell at a nominal cost those boarded up and abandoned houses, stop taxing the hell out of the citizens, have an amnesty week for those with astronomical water bills, do away with those red light cameras and those revenue producing tickets (Safety was never the intention of those cameras.),make politicians accountable to their constituents and develop more meaningful partnerships with the several colleges and universities here in the city.
    I am always amazed that white folks feels like because they live a certain place their safety is assured. (Did 911 not disavow you of that myth?) And while you’re so busy cringing thinking about being attacked by that ominous black person, who’s keeping an eye on your family members who drive in from the surrounding metro area keeping the drug trade alive? So Ms. Tracey I don’t see Baltimore making any monumental changes in the real near future, so you probably should move, to some place where you will feel safe.

  • 170. B-Moor  |  February 11, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    We are always going to be at an impasse because white people are refusing to take responsibility in their part for the condition of Baltimore. The ball has been in their court for decades.

    • 171. Donato  |  February 12, 2014 at 12:48 am

      Bmore’s government is almost all Black, I refuse to accept the blame for their incompetence.

    • 172. Frank Burns  |  February 12, 2014 at 2:28 pm

      That can only be meant sarcastically. You should write for The Onion. Freaking hilarious!

  • 173. Frank Burns  |  February 12, 2014 at 2:19 pm

    “White privilege” is to blame for “African Americans” dropping out of school at insane rates. “White privilege” is to blame for the wheel never having been invented in Africa. “White privilege” is the reason Asians outscore Caucasians on IQ tests. “White privilege” is the reason blacks score lower than Asians and Caucasians on IQ tests. “White privilege” is to blame for 70-75% of black kids being born out of wedlock. “White privilege” is to blame for Haiti. “White privilege” is to blame for Detroit. “White privilege” is to blame for Rachel Jeantel. “White privilege” is is enjoyed via Affirmative Action programs that blatantly discriminate against whites (and Asians). “White privilege” explains why we have a black president, Attorney General, black mayors and governors, etc. “White privilege” is the reason blacks are far better off, by any measure, in the U.S., than in any African country. “White privilege” is to blame for rampant black crime rates. “White privilege” explains why 80% or more of NBA players are black, despite being just 12% of the population.

    Race being a “social construct” explains how race can be determined from skeletal remains. Race being a “social construct” explains…

  • 174. Sharon Watson  |  February 12, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    SOCIOECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT TO THE PEOPLE! 10,000 citizens INVEST on our PUBLIC market date. We purchase land, build a go-cart & adventure park. We split the profits EQUALLY, do business HONESTLY, and INCLUSIVE. We do this to decrease crime,… improve health, strengthen community bonds, and contribute to the economic landscape in America. We do this TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION. http://www.scribd.com/sharon_watson_6 . PLEASE SHARE. Copyright 2009….PLEASE GIVE THE BOOK A SCAN.

  • 175. michela caudiil  |  February 12, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    To blame murder and robbery on inequality smacks of blindness and an unwillingness to acknowledge that there is a very real problem in Baltimore where there is a real threat of the breakdown in social order. It is naive and simplistic to take a moral high ground and declare that inequality excuses the terrible misdeeds that continue to plague this City. A murder of an innocent woman in Canton by the same two teenagers who had broken into her house and this is supposed to be viewed as a consequence of inequality and racism? Really! How naive and blind are those who defend the criminals who engage in these actions. All of the ‘social empowerment’ in the world will achieve nothing if there is not a change in the moral landscape of many in this City.

    The Mayor needs to spend more time in Baltimore instead of traveling across the Country at tax payer’s expense, and the Chief of the Police should do more to work on tactics to reduce crime in this City. He has to begin to listen to people and send teams of Police to areas of high crime.

    If something does not change in this already scarred City, I fear it may be too late.

  • 176. Michael  |  February 12, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    I’m a married black male with 4 children at home that makes 70k a year, live in West Baltimore, stuck in a home that’s underwater, that will never see it’s peak values again, dealing with a pitiful public school system, and 0 police presence. What irks me is why is it residents in the so called affluent neighborhoods, which are literally blocks away from the slums, feel they are more entitled to police resources than the heart of the city with outrageous crime. The truth is, that many of the east and west baltimore communities are filed with long time homeowners with ever shrinking home values, I understand that what we see standing outside are junkies and criminals, but no thought goes into the many homeowners that are living quietly in there homes, hoping and praying the police make a arrest of the brazen criminal element that’s not hiding, while we are being taxed out the nose for services that were not getting. The city has strived in the divide of the so called affluent and the so called section 8’ters and welfare recipients, when in reality this city is made up of a lot of senior and lower middle class homeowners.

    • 177. Donato  |  February 12, 2014 at 9:52 pm

      You have elected a black mayor, a black run city council, a black chief of police and a basically black school system. You have a Democratic Governor who gives much of the states money to the city. I am leaving the city as soon as possible. Baltimore IS Zimbabwe. I feel for you!

      • 178. Steve Gregg  |  February 13, 2014 at 4:36 pm

        There is the problem in a nutshell: A Democrat machine that is turning American cities into little banana republics.

    • 179. DanInBaltimore  |  February 13, 2014 at 5:50 am

      I’ve lived in different parts of the city and agree it’s largely the same in regards to public services, police response, etc. Inequality, race, class, are all excuses, diversions, or tangential to the direct problem. It’s the crime, stupid. We can blame the leadership as it is their charge to establish order, as they are the appointed stewards of public welfare. So, fix it. I pay taxes, you pay taxes, we all pay taxes. Or maybe some don’t. Who cares. We all want life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We live in the city, we know what the risks are of living in the city. It’s had “problems” for decades. I agree with Halverson, it’s a police – or better, a criminal justice at large – issue. Front and center. I don’t care if little 11 year old Johnnie is depressed or profiled or there was some bias in targeting him as a potential thug. I don’t care if affluent whites will think, publicly or not, that other races or classes are the problem. We’re human. We stereotype, for better or worse. When we feel safe, the rest of it will come in line. Crime is crime, murder is murder. We have a legal system to deal with crime. So, public officials, use it. Prosecute it. Remove it. Lock it up, throw the key away, or even execute it under law. But fix the crime or make a positive change there, first, and we’ll volunteer our bleeding-hearts out to take care of the rest.

    • 180. edtitan77  |  June 1, 2014 at 7:48 am

      Your home doesn’t yield value because you and your neighbors have failed to create a safe, thriving community. Your schools are probably so atrocious that even young black married couples avoid them. Until and unless black culture is addressed nothing will change, your home values will continue to shrink.

      Folks need to understand the police are primarily a reactive unit. If there is a crime they respond for the most part. It’s hard to be proactive especially in a city where the even the slightest whiff of police aggressiveness is met with cries of racism.

  • 181. CJ  |  February 13, 2014 at 9:51 am

    I’ve been saying this for years. There is no reason people paying a higher rate of taxes should put up with this crime. SRB has squandered several opportunities to retain businesses and events (Gran Prix, Otakon). I’ll never forget how crazy downtown was on Independence Day 2011 shootings, fights downtown. It’s not a race thing it’s a entitlement thing. The less fortunate thinks it’s ok to prey on citizens that don’t carry guns or fight back. I can’t even imagine what will take place wishes this so called “Casino” sets up for business. It’s time for real leadership starting with the mayor.

    • 182. Donato  |  February 13, 2014 at 11:29 am

      The Casino is great for the City’s residents. The hoods can now target the visitors and not the residents.

  • 183. Steve Gregg  |  February 13, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    The real elephant in the middle of the room is culture. This is not just a Baltimore thing, it is a national thing. 80% of the homicides in Nebraska are committed in north Omaha, the black side of town. Take a look at the homicide map for Washington, DC, and you’ll see virtually all the homicides happen on the black side of town. Martin Luther King street is the most dangerous street in any town.

    I don’t buy that it is all about poverty, either. My Dad came from a poor single mother family with eleven kids. They all worked their way up from poverty to blue collar at least, most middle class, or better. Why can’t black people do the same?

    Black families from the Caribbean immigrate to America and out-earn white Americans. Why can’t native born blacks do the same? The difference is culture. Many native born black Americans propagate a dysfunctional culture of losers. It is significant that the first black president came from a foreign culture, not from local black culture. His fellow black politicians in Chicago taunted him for “not being black enough.”

    Real Africans from Africa come to America and make successes of themselves. I see them programming away in my computer shop, far outnumbering native blacks. Why aren’t all those jobs filled by American blacks?

    Why are so many businesses in poor black neighborhoods run by foreigners who come to America without a dollar to their name? Why is it that a Korean can run a store or restaurant in a poor black neighborhood and make it a success but the blacks in that neighborhood can’t?

    Why are schools in black neighborhoods mad houses where nobody learns to read nor write? Teachers complain that they can’t even keep order in the classrooms, let alone teach. The students have had so little discipline at home that they have no discipline in public. And their parents don’t care if their kids learn anything. If they did, they’d be raising hell at PTA meetings, but they can’t be bothered to even show up for parent teacher conferences. Hell, when their kids are arrested in school, they can’t be bothered to show up at the hearings to spring them from jail.

    In America, you will not be poor long if you graduate from high school, take any job that pays, and wait until you are married to have babies. Black culture holds values that oppose all that. Academic success is “acting white.” Mothers have baby daddies instead of husbands. Many prefer welfare to work.

    I’ve lived all over the country and one story kept popping up in every city: The job office in the poor black side of town that had more job openings than workers. Without home training, the guys resent taking orders from bosses. They show up for three days, maybe a month, and quit. They don’t show up for work. They have an attitude when they do. They have no work ethic. Sixty Minutes ran a piece years ago where poor blacks were taught how to get a job and work. Most washed out. Of those who passed, most did not stick with their jobs.

    Instead of blaming racism and poverty and inequality and the man in the moon for their screwups, black people in America need to take a long look in the mirror, admit their faults and fix them. Most of their problems are self-inflicted. Those problems ultimately originate in bad values. They live in poor, crime-ridden ghettos because they choose that. When they lift their values and do what is necessary to succeed, then all those ghettos will disappear.

  • 184. maw72  |  February 14, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    “I am focused … on action and finding partners who are doing more than complain, that are willing to do more than write a check for their property tax,” Rawlings-Blake said.
    I took this to mean we can’t count on Baltimore City and its Mayor to make a real difference in neighborhoods so we need to do it ourselves.
    My suggestion for every willing and able neighborhood and neighbor is to start an active citizen block watch effort which could consist of a minimum of two people with flashlights, whistles and phones-ideally with cameras (and whatever protection they deem as necessary) to actively patrol a five-ten square block section of their neighborhoods from 12am-6am for example. Or for those who can’t or don’t want to walk, maintain a watch from your window and/or door and make sure people can see you doing this or at a minimum turn on your outside lights. The more people that get involved the better so a small group is not always doing this shift or maybe some neighborhoods could just start this effort on the weekends until the success and publicity encourages more people to get involved.
    The goal of this effort would be to have a physical and visible citizen presence to start documenting and taking pictures of the people that are causing the problems and making those phone calls to the Police and City Council and the Mayor at all hours of the night when we see and document suspicious or criminal behavior so they all know we’re doing something. Perhaps the Sun could get involved by posting pictures of the drunks, druggies and criminals that are observed on public streets.
    Yes, there will be problems and dangers associated with this effort but it seems the Mayor has not given us a choice and so we can point to the above quote of hers when something bad happens.

  • 185. satch  |  February 16, 2014 at 3:30 am

    look baltimore has been screwed for the 43 yrs i have been associated with it.white folks got to take some of the blame for the conditions as long as they had theirs they did not give a damn about the black folks and did everything they could to freeze them out of economic advancement/jobs.i saw siblings and freinds graduate from college and not get jobs/interviews in baltimore and then get hired right away in other cities,so if you hosing those folks the hs grads got nothing coming there.i have lived in seven major cities and the baltimore whites are some of the biggest racists outside the deep south in america.go downtown and see how many black men coming out those office towers and it has not changed in 40 yrs damn near zero.how many black folks go DC to get jobs a freaking ton of them? those black criminals have been preying on the working class black folks forever and the judges slap then on the wrists. william donald schaefer was really did nothing about crime he never even mentioned it all he did was yell baltimore is best and the roots of the baltimore bs go even past him.

  • 186. edtitan77  |  June 1, 2014 at 7:41 am

    The wealth inequality canard doesn’t pass the smell test because the city has a significant non-black poor population which is both White and Hispanic. Their crime rates are nowhere near the crime rates of Blacks.

    It’s funny some are charging Tracy with racism when she goes to such lengths to even acknowledge the obvious racial components here. Yet she is still attacked it’s quite remarkable the depths liberals will go in their quest to appear enlightened even putting their own bodies at risk. Oh well to each their own.

  • 187. Mary K  |  December 20, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    George Orwell would be tearing his hair out reading this blog. Why is the Truth so difficult for you liberals to deal with. It is actually sickening to read the mental gymnastics you guys perform with each other simply to avoid speaking or seeing reality without all your bullshit theorising and smokescreens. I live in Brisbane Australia. We do not have tough policing laws, quite the opposite and yes we do have poor areas and we do have crime. There is even a kind of red light district in the valley. However there is not a single area or street in our city or surrounding suburbs that is a no go zone or that is deemed too dangerous to walk down or through. No park that is off limits and no walkway or bike path that people, even girls avoid. Other cities in Australia are pretty much the same except for areas of Sydney and Melbourne where Muslim gangs have congregated and a couple of streets in Redfern Sydney where Aborigines have claimed territorial rights. So what makes Australia different to the US? And ‘no’ it is not the differing Gun Laws.

  • 188. Ro  |  June 16, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    Interestingly, it’s a known fact that many, many poor immigrants from LOTS of different countries have come to America seeking a better life. They live in poverty for a while, but within one generation they learn the language, are self-sufficient and even, affluent. They see America as the Land of Opportunity-and it is! It’s there for ANYONE who will buckle down and do what needs to be done to better theirself.

    I remember my mom taking me to the Inner Harbor when the McCormick Spice Company still had a factory right there. And saw Mayor Schaefer and the Rouse Company transform it into a showplace where people from all over the world came to visit.

    I was moved to a county north of Baltimore by my parents when I was four. I went to college at Towson and hung out in Fells Point to hear good music for years-and the Inner Harbor. Now, I won’t drive through the city because I’m afraid of the stupid, random drive by shootings. And, when I did venture to the Baltimore Arena to hear people like Rudy Giuliani, Zig Ziglar and former Ravens’ Michael Oher speak about opportunity and attitude with my two elementary school-age children, I overstayed our parking meter by 26 minutes and came out to find my car TOWED. It cost me $300 to get it back and I had to walk the streets looking for an ATM with minutes to spare before the towing yard closed and we were left stranded.
    That’s the kind of politics that is wrecking Baltimore and chasing away people who WOULD visit.

    But, the opportunity is still there for anyone. Think about what our grandparents lived through: TWO World Wars, the Great Depression…but that didn’t keep them down. If our citizens who are living in poverty-black, white or any race-would try harder, they could change their situation.

    My father came from the poorest circumstance you can imagine in rural West Virginia. He got drafted for the Korean War. They release him in Middle River, MD. He got a job at a gas station. Then, he bought the gas station. Then he bought more properties and businesses. That’s how he could afford to send me to college. I have not been as successful as he and my mom. I became a widow with two toddlers. I am still working on getting on my feet.

    It’s possible. Stop blaming your circumstance and get to work. And, learn the Bible-it’s got lots of guidance. The opportunity is right in front of you. My parents didn’t even have the internet. Wow! The opportunity we have that they didn’t. God Bless!

  • […] as WYPR producer Lawrence Lanahan claimed in a response to Tracey’s piece titled “Whose Heart is Baltimore Breaking, Really?” (attempting to rationalize black crime as a response to oppressive ‘white […]


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- A much prettier website with my journalistic highlights is at lawrencelanahan.com.
- Disappearing Ink released its first album, "There Is No Time and Nothing's Been," in December 2014. It's available on iTunes.
- After almost five years at WYPR, I'm back to freelancing. Editors can reach me at llanahan@gmail.com.
- The Art of Social Critique: Painting Mirrors of Social Life includes my chapter "New Possibilities and Old Limitations of Political Art in The Wire."
- You can still buy my 2004 self-titled EP.


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