It has been at least fifteen years since I have been to Baltimore. Except for the Inner Harbor area it was obviously a city in decline. Those were the days when it was called, probably justly so, "the murder capital of the United States".
It is a shame. Because Baltimore is a great tourist destination with Camden Yard right there by the Inner Harbor, along with decent restaurants, and the aquarium. Some aggressive leadership and constructive thinking could have brought Baltimore back to it's deserved place in America.
Apparently, any efforts fall under the classification of "too little, too late". Running a city is like running a home or running a business. As problems arise, deal with them quickly and completely and all will be under control. Barring acts of God, the leadership will not have to deal with disasters. Let problem go uncared for and rot sets in. People lose respect for their city, it's leadership, and finally, themselves.
As I watched the ongoing debacle, I saw an inexperienced mayor try to allow her citizens freedoms that should never be allowed. Anyone with reasonable insight could have foreseen that, on the day of Mr. Gray's funeral, there would be trouble. Police should have been in position before the schools let out. That would include State Police so that there would have been an overwhelming force. National Guard should have been staged in nearby in case they were needed.
Youths, starting to wild and cause trouble, should have immediately been isolated and taken from the scene. Most of all, the mayor should have acted with strength and resolve and not as the appeasing parent giving them "room to destroy".
So now, as always happens in situations like this, people have destroyed their own neighborhood. They have destroyed the businesses that they have relied on for services. The senior center is gone. What appeared to be a fine new drugstore is gone. Their check cashing service is gone. Many will never be rebuilt.
Baltimore, if it is to be saved, must turn itself around. Right now. The urban decay must be eradicated. Peaceful order must be restored. The police must be a presence. A firm, tough, but fair and professional presence. The days of a "hard ride" to the station house must end.
God bless the City of Baltimore. I hope they can do it.