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The Baltimore Sun reported today that 217 people were killed in Baltimore City in 2012, up from 197 killed in 2011.  Most of these people were killed by guns, although most categories of gun violence declined.  

Two days in August helped illustrate the obstacles police face in reducing violence.  On Aug. 16, gunmen shot brothers Troy and Euclides Manley and ransacked their Southwest Baltimore home.  As detectives worked to identify and apprehend the killers, the cycle of retribution was already in motion:  The next night, the mother and brother of a suspect were killed outside their home
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For the year, more than 60 percent of those who died in shootings were shot in the head, which experts say points to a high number of execution-style killings. That's the highest percentage in 10 years' worth of Police Department data.

Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts said the number of homicides was up largely because the city was the stage for two violent gang wars that were fueled by targeted attacks meant to kill, as opposed to unplanned bursts of gunfire that might have left victims wounded but alive.  "Those gangs were shooting each other in the head.  They were assassinating each other," Batts said. . . .  Batts attributed the increase in violence to warring gangs, saying that the prison-based Black Guerrilla Family was extorting other gangs, leading to a turf war between the BGF and the Bloods.  But it was unclear how many shootings were gang-related.

The Sun reported that gun violence was actually down 6 percent, but gang slayings increased the number of gun caused homicides.

So many neighborhoods of my city are marked by horrible slums, with many of the row houses boarded up.  In this environment of extreme poverty, unemployment, third rate schools, and drug infestation, society gives up on these fatherless children the moment they are born.  Gangs represent the only life they will know, and the easy access to guns ensures their lives will be short.  But few care, they are poor and black.  And we must not limit our precious Second Amendment "rights" to guarantee that every one of these children gets a gun.

Originally posted to Maryland Kos on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 05:19 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (30+ / 0-)

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

    by Navy Vet Terp on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 05:19:31 PM PST

  •  back when The Wire was on (15+ / 0-)

    it was Obama's favorite tv show, and it was truly great, but when we don't invest in communities and so there is no hope, and then we let our gunmakers go after the market, what could anyone expect.  

    It is time to invest in inner city Baltimore, way past time, but there is still time.  

    "oh no, not four more years of hope and change?" Karl Christian Rove

    by anna shane on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 05:22:32 PM PST

  •  This is a national (6+ / 0-)

    disgrace---and has been for years.

    Poor--black---male---young and inner city:

    ---Yeah---you can just bet your ass this country has given up on these young men.

    The waste of lives and the waste of very real potential is absolutely shameful------and there is no damned excuse.

    The Onion says----scholars have discovered---the Mayan word for "Apocalypse" in fact---translates more accurately as: "Time of pale obese gun monsters."

    by lyvwyr101 on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:26:50 PM PST

  •  It is a screaming pity. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalSal, Creosote, Joy of Fishes

    Baltimore actually has a lot going for it.  Museums, wonderful concert venues, national sports teams, a revitalized harbor downtown, a world-class medical community, good universities, excellent access to rail and air transport.  

    But what has happened over many decades to its inner neighborhoods is an absolute tragedy.  Everyone in the city deserves better.  There has to be a solution to this.

    "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, v3, n18 (-8.50, -7.23)

    by Noor B on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 06:37:59 PM PST

  •  What a brutal waste of human life (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Creosote, Joy of Fishes

    It's going to take massive investment in the affected communities. Like other industrial cities, Baltimore lost thousands of union jobs. They were hard challenging jobs, but ones that could support families.

    I'm originally from the DC area, but I live in Chicagoland now. Chicago had over 500 gun deaths this year. Whole neighborhoods are going through holy hell. Chicago lost thousands of good paying union jobs also, and the results have been devastating.

    What a damned shame.

    "Don't believe everything you think."

    by BobboSphere on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 10:12:45 PM PST

  •  Gun violence in -my- hometown (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Navy Vet Terp

    I live in a rural area where the town, such as it is, is and has been on the "most economically depressed" list for my state ever since the factories closed up shop and moved overseas. Boarded up businesses, nearly abandoned shopping centers, the usual. We're not as big as Baltimore, but despite having rifle season for deer, muzzle-loading season, turkey season, bear season (and coyotes are always in season), we have far less gun violence per capita than Baltimore.

    The same thing was true when I was growing up some decades ago, when the national gun violence rate was perhaps 40% higher than it is now. The town was a little bigger, but all the major employers went under or went away. I was not looking at the stats back then, but thanks to the miracle of the Internet, I can go back and look at the before & after homicide statistics and again, nothing like Baltimore in terms of the murder rate per capita.

    Un- or underemployed youth and easy access to guns does not necessarily equal gun violence. Easy access to guns for anyone who thinks violence is the first or best solution to a problem? That I certainly agree needs to be dealt with, preferably at the same time you are working to change that attitude.

    •  When I was a kid, back in the 60's (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shamash, DefendOurConstitution

      Crime was growing exponentially, murders were uncommon in the 50's but by the late 60's Baltimore was having a murder a day, so 212 murders is an improvement over > 365 murders.  But back then the economy was booming - 40,000 people worked at the Sparrows Point Steel Mill, now it has been bought up by vulture capitalists who sucked it dry and permanently closed the mill, putting the last 8,000 workers out of work.  So the problem, as you point out, has no simple answers, but I see generation after generation after generation of hopelessness in the inner city, and young boys can look forward now to little more than gang warfare and an early death.

      My younger son went to a public high school over 90% AA.  It was an excellent school but it was symptomatic of the solution that with limited public funds you segregate out the kids who might be worth saving and leave the rest to die.  Not an ideal solution, but better to give educational opportunity to some than to none, I guess.

      "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

      by Navy Vet Terp on Thu Jan 03, 2013 at 05:16:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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