Baltimore’s murder-free weekend wasn’t. Community activists had hoped that the first weekend in August would come and go without a homicide, but criminals in Baltimore had other ideas. Forty-one hours into the weekend, on Saturday afternoon, a 24-year old man was shot and killed on city streets. That night, a 37-year old man lost his life in another brutal killing. Police say at least one other person was shot in Baltimore this past weekend, but survived.
Community involvement is going to be one key to Baltimore successfully addressing the violence on its streets …Community activist Erricka Bridgeford helped to organize what they called the Baltimore Ceasefire, and despite the homicides she says the movement isn’t going anywhere. On Facebook, hours after the first homicide of the weekend took place, Bridgeford poured out her heart, telling followers: “If you are going to run around here acting defeated, A. Part of me wants to give you this nub to your eye, and then, to hug you, and B. You are not ready for this revolution. It's fine. But please sit down & quiet yourself. Stop panicking out loud. Find a corner & watch us keep GETTING THIS WORK.”
I wish her well. Community involvement is going to be one key to Baltimore successfully addressing the violence on its streets, and hopefully this is the start of a grassroots movement in Baltimore, not the end of one.
Meanwhile, city leaders seem powerless to do much of anything to fight the violence. Mayor Catherine Pugh introduced a bill mandating a year behind bars for anyone caught illegally possessing a gun in the city, but after protests broke out in the City Hall chambers and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party questioned the potential disparate impact on young black men, the bill was watered down to the point of meaninglessness. From a mandated one-year jail sentence, the bill passed by a city council committee instead specifically said that first-time offenders would not face jail time, unless there were underlying crimes associated with carrying the gun. There are many activists in Baltimore who don’t support new gun control laws. In some cases, the reason might be support for the Second Amendment, but in most cases the opposition stems from a belief that the criminal justice system is inherently biased against minorities. They believe more laws mean more chances for laws to be abused. Either way, it makes additional gun control laws an unlikely proposition.
Meanwhile, city leaders seem powerless to do much of anything to fight the violence.Equally unlikely is an embrace of the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Baltimore residents. Even if the mayor and members of the city council become reluctant to cram another gun control law down the throats of city residents, the current crop of elected officials have never indicated any support for the idea that the average resident of Baltimore has the right to protect themselves in public, as well as at home. If that is to change, it’s going to take a cultural push by the residents of Baltimore or a Supreme Court decision establishing once and for all that the right to bear arms is equally important as the right to keep them in the first place.
I’ve extended an invitation to Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh to join me on “Cam & Co.” to talk about the violence wreaking havoc on Baltimore, but I was told that her schedule was too busy to allow her to come on the show. I’ve extended the same invitation to Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis. As of the writing of this column, I’ve yet to hear back.
Regardless of whether or not these public officials are willing to discuss Baltimore’s historically high homicide rates, I’m going to keep shining a spotlight on the criminals perpetrating these crimes, as well as the work of those activists doing what they can to restore a relative peace to the city’s streets.
Cam Edwards is the host of “Cam & Co.,” which airs live 2-5 p.m. EST on NRATV and midnight EST on SiriusXM Patriot 125. He lives with his family on a small farm near Farmville, Va. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @camedwards.