Tag: justin fenton

These Stats on Baltimore’s Murder Victims Might Surprise You



In August, 2012, a middle-aged, white Mt. Vernonite was shot and killed in his neighborhood. The city’s shock and outrage highlighted a disparity in how local media reacted to murders, Baltimore City Paper editor Evan Serpick wrote at the time:  “When a white per­son is killed or is the vic­tim of a serious crime, as with the hap­less tourist whose beat­ing and robbery were captured on down­town secu­rity cam­eras ear­lier this year, it is front-page news, and the source of angst: Is our city safe? It’s hard not to trans­late the sub­text of that angst to, Is our city safe for white peo­ple? Because if the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion was con­cerned about whether or not the city was safe for black peo­ple, there would be a whole lot more vig­ils and angst.”

Several of our very own commenters gave what’s become a typical response: “Innocent victims” deserve vigils, but most of Baltimore’s murder victims are probably somehow themselves to blame — they’re involved in drugs or gangs or other criminal activity. But in a year-end analysis of Baltimore’s 235 homicides in 2013, Baltimore Sun crime reporter Justin Fenton found that just 3 had a known drug motive, and 30 victims were verified gang members. In 164 cases, the motive was listed as “unknown.”

After Vozzella: Will Her Truth-Telling Voice Fade Away?


Yesterday marked for The Baltimore Sun the first Thursday without Laura Vozzella’s witty, snarky, tell-it-like-is presence.

After 11 years as a Sun writer and almost six as columnist, the astute reporter (and sassy observer) has relocated to The Washington Post, which leaves us wondering who her replacement might be — who could fill her wise word-count, if indeed she’s being replaced at all? (No sign of a new columnist, and no gossip on the street, could very well mean the ever-shrinking paper considers the provocative city column category said and done.)

If so, it’s a shame. We’ve relished Vozzella’s insights. We loved these highlights from her farewell column last week, in which she thanked high-profiles locals who made her revealing columns hilariously readable and teachable: “Former Mayor Dixon, for your passion for furs, Jimmy Choos and a married man doing business with the city. Developers A, B and C, for all those gift cards you donated to Mayor Dixon’s favorite charity: Mayor Dixon. Olympian Michael Phelps, for taking that Vegas cocktail waitress home to meet mom one Thanksgiving…A convention of out-of-town bishops, for downing $55 bottles of wine at Cinghiale…A Catholic priest Who Shall Not Be Named, for denouncing me from the pulpit of my own church for writing about the aforementioned bishops…Molly Shattuck, the Grandma Moses of NFL cheerleading, for proving motherhood and ripped abs are not mutually exclusive….Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, for scolding a constituent who called you “Stephanie,” overcoming your Cleopatra-wig phase and managing to always look bored with the family business (politics), even when the job brings you within inches of Barack Obama.”

Just in case the brightest Sun powers that be are considering cocky columnist applicants, here are some candidate ideas from BFB:

Justin Fenton, Baltimore Sun reporter–has been named best reporter by City Paper and Baltimore Magazine. Pros: He’s a skilled and dogged crime reporter, a solid writer, and well-trained journalist. Cons: He’s likely a tad too serious to tackle the gig’s fun-poking requirements.

Max Weiss, editor of Baltimore Magazine
Pros: She’s funny, clever, and well-versed in pop culture and politics. Cons: She might love Baltimore a little too much to knock our heroes from their pedestals.

Marion Winik, nonfiction writer, poet, Baltimore Fishbowl columnist
Pros: She’s intelligent; knows what’s happening around town, around the world.
Cons: Her best, most heartfelt writing may be found in those small moments in which she takes ruthless aim at herself, rather than the jerks all around her.

Which local thinker/scribe would you nominate to be Vozzella’s replacement? Let us hear.