It is always tough to see something that you love be destroyed. I don't know why I followed the Baltimore Colts when I was young. Especially since I grew up in North Jersey. Maybe I was influenced by the numerous books written about John Unitas and the greatest game ever played that I read from cover to cover.
It was August of 1984 when Rondi and I got married, moved to Hollins Street in West Baltimore and I started graduate school. We lived in a neighborhood that some would call the Urban Frontier. It was also the historic dividing line between white Baltimore and black Baltimore. Everyone coexisted but there was a complete separation of color in regards to where one lived and socialized.
No question that the police in Baltimore have a very difficult job. For many decades drugs have been a major problem and the crime and other social ills associated with drug addiction led to a significant reduction in population (both white and black). What was left where large areas of abandoned homes, poor schools and a lack of jobs. The police do become frustrated because very often just hours after they arrest someone, that person is back on the street engaged in illegal activity.
But sometimes, the police do go overboard physically when making arrests. I have seen it first hand and it is not comfortable to watch and you begin to understand some of the frustration that the Baltimore residents have been expressing. However, being destructive is not an answer. In neighborhoods that have not recovered from the riots following the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., the rioters were destroying their own employment and shopping centers.
It is painful to see the city, where we lived for 20 years and our two children were born, to take such a major step backwards. So many areas of the city have been transformed from the decaying industrial city that it was to a high-tech employment center. Large sections of the city have seen new housing developments and people moving back. I now wonder how many people and businesses will consider investing in the city.
The city leaders, police and the residents have a long uphill battle in restoring confidence in each other and moving forward together. I wish them well.