Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Do Black Lives Matter in Baltimore?

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Do Black Lives Matter in Baltimore?

Article excerpt

"Black lives matter!" was the chant heard at recent demonstrations in cities and towns from Ferguson, Mo., to Baltimore, Md. Yes, they do matter, but apparently not so much to some other black people. Only when a white police officer shoots or engages in other behavior that results in the death of a black man do black lives seem to matter.

While Memorial Day weekend featured the traditional parades, barbecues and moments of silence at baseball games for those who gave their lives in wartime to preserve our freedoms, in some of America's biggest cities virtual shooting galleries produced carnage more likely to be found in the Middle East from Islamic State terrorists.

In Baltimore, which was wracked by violence just one month ago after Freddie Gray, an African-American man, died while in police custody, 32 people were shot. Nine of them died. That brings to 35 the number killed in Baltimore just in May and the month isn't over.

In New York City, eight people were shot and killed.

In Chicago, where murder has become common, 12 people died and 44 were wounded.

These three cities are presided over by elected Democratic mayors and majority Democratic city councils.

In New York City, the murder rate reached a record low in 2013. Following the election of Mayor Bill de Blasio, the murder rate jumped 20 percent in the first two months of 2015. Might the reason be de Blasio's order to dramatically curtail the stop-and-frisk program that had sharply reduced the number of murders in minority neighborhoods under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg?

In Baltimore, where Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (who is African-American) reportedly ordered Baltimore police to stand down during the recent riots, thus allowing the rioting to continue, police apparently are still obeying that order. Arrests in Baltimore have declined significantly, while incidents of criminal activity, including violent crime, are up. …

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