New Baltimore Killings Show Crime’s Pervasiveness

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In “the mind-numbing, spirit-breaking pace of homicides and lesser violence” in Baltimore now in its third consecutive summer, Baltimore Sun columnist Dan Rodricks notes “three tragic ironies: The brother of the chief spokesman for the Baltimore Police Department is shot to death in his apartment. The stepson of a prominent criminal defense attorney is gunned down at a gas station. An assistant city health commissioner who oversees anti-violence efforts is assaulted at midday on a downtown street corner.”

In the first case, T. J. Smith, the man who almost daily provides official notice of killings, finds the name of a younger sibling, 24-year-old Dionay “Dion” Smith, among the latest victims. The thing to take away from the three cases “is how pervasive crime is here,” Rodricks says. Among prospective jurors in Baltimore, dozens of hands go up when a judge asks if any prospective jurors have been victims of crime, or are related to victims of crime. It is a “stunning and shameful reality,” write Rodricks. Baltimore has been through five decades of population loss, the loss of industry, the abandonment of thousands of rowhouses, a heroin epidemic, a crack epidemic, and surges in homicides. It’s a “long history of tragedy and trauma pushing against all good efforts at resurgence. Baltimore is a city in perpetual recovery,” Rodricks concludes.

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