I applaud Matt Taibbi ("Why Baltimore Blew Up") for keeping the focus on Baltimore after the nation's attention seems to have shifted elsewhere. But Taibbi seems more intent on attacking police and Broken Windows – something never tried in Baltimore – than the crime and police issues that uniquely affect Baltimore.They didn't publish it.
If Baltimore police were to blame for the riots -- if overpolicing and too many arrests caused the violence -- why didn’t the "uprising" happen back in 2003, when Baltimore arrests peaked? (Tiabbi is in error when he says Baltimore arrests peaked in 2005.) It seems worth mentioning, at least in passing, that arrests have dropped every year since then, 65 percent in total.
If one were to put facts before anti-police ideology, one might blame the riots and subsequent increase in homicides on incompetent political leadership and the underpolicing of criminals. Baltimore's mayor and police commissioner, in particular, stand out for their incompetent handling of events after Freddie Gray’s death in police custody. Regardless, I find it odd that an article about policing and riots in Baltimore omits any mention of criminals and fails to quote a single Baltimore City police officer. I suppose it's easier to simply blame Baltimore cops, but the next time I urge Taibbi to perhaps speak to a few.
July 13, 2015
"Dear Sir or Ma'am..."
In late May Rolling Stone had a poorly conceived article about Baltimore police and riots. On May 30th I wrote this letter to the editor: