Once the home of literary giant Edgar Allen Poe and the notorious polemicist HL Mencken, Baltimore has now become synonymous with rampant crime and political corruption. Its homicide rates are among the highest in the nation, with the city on pace to rack up over 300 homicides for the 7th straight year.
People often wonder why Baltimore has reached such a nadir in terms of quality of life. A lot of this can be explained by its flawed law enforcement methods and the state of Maryland’s draconian gun control policies that favor criminals.
An incident where Baltimore Police shot and wounded a man who pointed a firearm at police officers on August 12, 2021 provoked a response from Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison. Although Harrison said that the gunman was wounded and not under any risk of dying, he proceeded to go on an anti-gun tirade.
“Once again, this speaks to the amount of guns that are unlawfully in our city,” Harrison declared. Harrison added, “and the willingness of individuals to illegally carry those guns and then willingness to use those guns. Many people could have been hurt.”
While illegal gun use and possession should be cracked down on, treating gun control as an instant fix to criminal issues is naive at best. The problems go beyond gun policy. The present crime wave afflicting cities like Baltimore are largely explained by hostility towards law enforcement and a lax approach to policing criminals that has become fashionable among urban political elites. The Ferguson Effect, where police departments have scaled back their policing efforts out of fear of public backlash or even legal reprisals, is very real and Baltimore has been clearly affected by it. It also doesn’t help that lawful Baltimore residents can’t arm themselves against would-be criminals.
Such an exclusive focus on guns could easily be diverted towards broad-based gun control against lawful citizens. There has to be a total reassessment of the problems America faces, and this entails correctly identifying root problems.