The British Broadcasting Corp. broadcast a piece on crime in Baltimore, “a macabre pageant of urban ills, dysfunction and misfortune,” says Baltimore Sun crime reporter Peter Hermann. On the day the segment was shot, a man was shot on a street near a school. “The streets were gritty and seedy enough to fit the image you get watching the cop-show dramas, and thus perfect for BBC’s international audience,” says Hermann.
A group at a makeshift soda stand across the street from the shooting claimed not to have seen much of anything. “Nobody knows but everybody knows,” a city official said. There were later three arrests. Hermann says the BBC producer was surprised at the laid-back attitude of the police, the residents, and the folks in a liquor store who couldn’t care less that someone had been shot. In London, the BBC’s Sarah Gilbert said, “people would be incensed at what seems to be normal here. We accept the unacceptable. Death becomes routine. And it shows, now on worldwide television.”