Tag Archives: Baltimore

Presidents must never denigrate communities

Donald John Trump won an election in 2016 to be president of the entire United States of America.

Why, then, can this individual say with a straight face that one of this country’s great cities in effect is not fit for human habitation?

The president has gone after U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, who represents a largely African-American congressional district in Baltimore, Md.

My memory at times fails me, but I am trying to remember ever hearing a president say the things that Trump has said about Baltimore. The very idea that he would chastise a community and its elected representatives using language such as what he used is reprehensible on its face.

He called Baltimore  a “rat- and rodent-infested” hell hole. No one should live there, he said. Why did he drag this issue into the sewer? Because Rep. Cummings, who has represented Baltimore for 23 years in Congress, has criticized the president’s policies. Trump responded by calling Cummings a “racist.” Of course, he repeated the idiotic mantra that he is the “least racist person” on Earth, which to my ears is the kind of thing that comes from the mouths of people with racist intent.

I simply cannot tolerate a president who denigrates communities in the manner that Donald Trump has done. He has castigated the leadership in cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and now Baltimore. What do they have in common? They’re all governed by politicians who disagree with Trump.

They also have something else in common. They all are part of a nation governed by the individual who has heaped insults on them.


Is race still a part of the Freddie Gray story?

Allow me this brief observation about the case involving the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore and the riots that have ensued since that tragedy.

Baltimore authorities have charged six Baltimore police officers with homicide in Gray’s death, which occurred when he suffered a severed spine while in police custody. Gray was black and his death touched off another storm of protests by African-Americans about the treatment they receive from the police.

Then the charges came forward.

It’s fair to point out something about the events that have developed since Gray’s death.

Three of the six officers charged with a felony are African-American; the other three are Anglo. The prosecutor is African-American.

This case should turn, as President Obama noted, on whether “justice” will be delivered. By my way of looking at the arrests of the officers and the charges they face, the officers’ racial composition suggests that race doesn’t have quite the sting in this case that it once did.

Yes, let’s allow justice to be done. Let’s also dial back the race-baiting.

Baltimore riots hit home in strange way

Strange as it might sound, the Baltimore riots are troubling to my wife and me in a way we didn’t quite anticipate.

We spent a week in that beautiful city in the summer of 1996.

We attended a meeting of editorial writers and columnists. I was a member of what was then known as the National Conference of Editorial Writers. I had the pleasure of attending several of those national conferences over the years: Lexington, Ky., Phoenix, Ottawa, Seattle, Kansas City, Mo., Providence, R.I. — and Baltimore.

Of all the places my wife and I attended together, Baltimore is the one city she said she’d visit again and again.


Now these riots have hit us harder than they would have had they occurred in virtually any other great American city.

The Inner Harbor with its row houses, the crab cakes, Fort McHenry and the general ambience of the city charmed us to no end.

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley — who also served as a Baltimore mayor — believes the city will recover from this dark chapter in its storied history. I do hope he’s right. I, too, believe the city will recover — eventually.

Two former visitors to that lovely city — my wife and I — are pulling hard for the city to reassemble itself and return to the charming place we remember.


'Thugs' is not a racist term

Let’s try to dispel some chatter out there about a term that’s been tossed around to describe the individuals who’ve destroyed businesses, burned buildings, injured police officers and created a whole lot of mayhem in a great American city.

They’ve been called “thugs.” Some folks now are bristling at the term because they contend it carries a racist connotation.


The violent outburst in Baltimore came after an African-American man, Freddie Gray, died while in police custody of a severed spine.

How did some individuals react to that death? By attacking individuals who had nothing to do with it.

Does that sound like thuggery to you? It does to me.

Oh, and who has used the term “thugs” to describe what’s gone on? President Barack Obama has called the perps “thugs.” Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said it, too. What do these folks have in common? You know what it is: They’re both African-American. Other civic leaders have chimed in with the term as well. Many of them have been black.

Granted, the mayor hasn’t done a good job of taking control of the situation, but that’s another story.

A single word need not become the focus of the discussion that should be occurring with regard to the violence that has exploded in Baltimore. It diverts attention away from the bigger problem, which — as I see it — relates to the hideous behavior of some individuals who have hogged all the attention from those in Baltimore who’ve sought to maintain order and protest in a civil manner.

Of course, there’s the issue of police relations in the African-American community, which also must be discussed. That discussion cannot occur, however, when thugs are tearing up the city.

Baltimore becomes new face of urban insanity

Now it’s Baltimore’s turn in infamy’s spotlight.

A young man, Freddie Gray, died in police custody after suffering a severed spine. He was African-American.

Two weeks later, while the young man was saying good bye to him at his funeral, Baltimore erupted.

Thugs tore into innocent bystanders. Police were assaulted, some of them were injured seriously. Property has been damaged and destroyed.


This is how one responds to tragedy? This is how you seek to make political allies to whatever cause you seek to promote?

The nation is witnessing a shameful act of willful destruction.

The violence and destruction defies my understanding of what goes through people’s minds at times like this.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said this: “Too many people have spent generations building up this city for it to be destroyed by thugs who, in a very senseless way, are trying to tear down what so many have fought for, tearing down businesses, tearing down or destroying property. It’s idiotic to think that by destroying your city, you’re going to make life better for anybody.”

How, then, do you deal with idiocy?