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Posts Tagged ‘murder’

Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun

A passerby moarns Stephen Pitcairn

Summer is the drippiest of love-fests in Baltimore. There was Artscape, of course, then came a sweatstorm of art-rock at Whartscape, the monthly baby and dog parade at First Thursdays and weekly dose of sno-balls and popcorn at AVAM’s oldster movies. All: colorful, boozy, laidback, and mostly free.

But lately, my buzz has been way harshed by the sober truth of summer in the other Baltimore. Earlier this year, and it was probably not a coincidence that there were two feet of snow on the ground, The City Paper marveled that murders were way down.

After six days without a murder, there was one homicide this week. As of March 15, there have been 14 fewer murders in 2010 than on the same date in 2009. This is a decrease of 32 percent.

With the mercury, Baltimore’s murder rate shot back up to 8 in one week in May, starting with a fatal shooting of a 16-year old boy near the H.L. Mencken House in west Baltimore. This past week, the 7 murders included Stephen Pitcairn, a promising 23-year old research aid at Hopkins who was stabbed after handing over his wallet to experienced criminals in Charles Village. He died lying on the pavement holding the hand of a stranger, a neighbor who called the police. The frankly random nature of the killing has been stunning. (more…)

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Could this tee save lives?

Could this tee save lives?

I’ve been wearing my Obama tee from MoveOn.org a lot recently, for a few reasons. It’s a stylishly retro nod to past campaign memorabilia and I support the guy. But in Baltimore, backing Barack cuts across racial, class and other divides. So when I wear the tee I get hollared at, in a good way.

Interaction with strangers is normally limited to the classic greeting, “you got a quarter for the bus?”

But these days, I’ve gotten thumbs up, fist bumps, and grinning salutes from trash collectors, yoga teachers, liquor store cashiers and oldster hipsters in Joe Squared. I’m thinking, if Baltimore invested a few thou in a truckload of Obama tees, in sizes XS through XL, they might put Murder Ink , the City Paper’s weekly register of killings, out of business. I’m seeing rival drug gangs dropping weapons, robberies averted, and muggings abandoned. Herein lies the power of the hope that we all genuinely BELIEVE in, here in Baltimore.

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Reading about Baltimore’s heroin addiction rate. In 2002, it was estimated at 7%–45,000 users in a population of about 650,000 people. Many link high drug addiction rates to Charm City’s “stubborn” homicide rate, which remains, unlike nearly any other American city, at 1990 levels.

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