Baltimore Endures Incredibly Violent Memorial Day Weekend

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Boy Scouts Plant Flags At Cemetery For Memorial Day

As residents were preparing for a long weekend of barbecues and services for those who died in war, a 16-month-old boy in Cherry Hill was added to the list of fatalities in the ongoing war that is Baltimore’s outrageous murder rate. The shooting, which also critically injured the boy’s father, inaugurated a weekend of violence that saw at least 12 shot. The holiday weekend typically comes with a spike in shootings, but this year eclipses the particularly bloody Memorial Days of 2012, when eight people were shot, and 2010, when nine people were.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake promised to “continue to focus our efforts on repeat violent offenders and illegal guns.”  City Councilman Brandon Scott echoed the thrust of the mayor’s sentiments and said, “The people who get shot and shoot people are the same people over and over.”

Getting illegal guns out of the hands of would-be murderers and even incarcerating them — not as a deterrent, but as a safety measure — could very well save lives, and to that extent, those avenues should be pursued. But fighting violence with nothing but police work and legal consequences sounds a little bit like fighting a fruit fly infestation with nothing but a fly swatter. You may bring their numbers down slightly, but it’s a method that requires unflagging vigilance, and anyway you’ll never be rid of them until you take care of the rotten bananas on your kitchen counter.

But that’s not really a great analogy because violent criminals are not of a different species. In that way, they are not an infestation to be eradicated. Ultimately, we are going to win the fight against violence not by finding new ways to foil violent offenders by finding ways to stop creating them.


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