Thursday, August 2, 2007

How Much is that Number in the Window?

A full week has passed since Baltimore’s own NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) began an insipid campaign to reduce the number of Baltimore City homicides. Details later. Suffice it to say, I would expect nothing less from an organization who not only cleaves to a horribly outdated and politically incorrect moniker, but also fails to advance its stated goal of relocation to the nearby nation’s capital.

As of July 25, 2007, Baltimore's homicide tally stood at 178When they started this revolutionary plan of action, the murder tally in Baltimore City stood at 178, give or take, depending upon whom you asked, and whether Teetoe tried to give Peanut’s woman a ride home from that wild block party.

As previously noted, Pigtown’s crime situation is out of control. Not that local crime has ever been tolerable, but around the time Martin O’Malley threw his hat in the ring for governor (this, mind you, after only three years as Baltimore’s mayor), violent crime took a decided turn for the worse. Just yesterday, two police officers were shot in a neighborhood populated by a mixture of working-class and affluent residents. About a month ago, only blocks from the Inner Harbor, a mother returned home from work to discover her 15-year old daughter slashed to death in a bedroom. For almost a decade, gang activity has escalated to new lows.

The problem is compounded by delusional residents who believe their civic duty requires releasing violent offenders back out on the streets. Police commissioners come and go in a bizarre musical chairs twist. Pausing to catch their collective breath, officials anoint the next great white hope, only to snatch the throne away as the latest set of alarming statistics surface.

The numbers are fugly. Baltimore occupies a top spot second only to Detroit, Michigan as the most violent city in America. Time and time again, outsiders pound this dubious distinction into our collective unconscious. Like war veterans participating in Memorial Day ceremonies with concealed battle scars, it’s hard to be proud, but we try.

What are local institutions doing to combat the problem? Not too long ago, the NAACP helped effectuate positive social reform in America. Not so much anymore. Perhaps I shouldn’t gripe about the apparent demise of the NAACP and its declining influence. After all, I’m not a card-carrying member. Oh, what the hey.

“Your leaders have sold you out, man.”

There. No putting that genie back in the bottle.

Sorry, but African-Americans generally are the worst affected by violent crime because they lack responsible leadership. Every other immigrant group in America has been able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and live the American dream through hard work, determination, and community support. Those who achieve a modicum of success set up institutions and services dedicated to the care and welfare of their own. Those in need of assistance take until they are able to give back. The cycle continues throughout each generation until gradually, collective life improves. If you don’t believe me, just look at the Italians, the Russians, the Koreans, or the Latinos.

For some reason, these concepts never caught on in the African-American community. One-parent households are the rule rather than the exception, contributing to higher levels of promiscuity and use of recreational drugs. Those in the lower echelons largely rely upon government support. Muckety mucks encourage such dependence because it helps them retain positions of power. Unfortunately, it does very little to help downtrodden African- Americans. And so, the cycle of poverty and crime continues with no foreseeable end in sight.

What did the questionable leadership at the NAACP propose to help stamp out escalating city violence? Well, it wasn’t responsible parenting. It wasn’t even increased construction of recreation centers to get younger kids off the street. No, these fine illustrious people at the N-double A-C-P recently urged Baltimoreans to post the current number of homicides in the windows of their residences and businesses. Hoo boy. Criminals, better watch your backs.

As if. As of today, give or take where you hear it and the status of Peanut’s woman, the homicide tally stands at 183. Wonder if there's anyone left in the city still foolish enough to post that.