So, Baltimore had this brilliant idea to cut down on crime: Just ask everyone not to kill anybody for, oh, say, 72 hours.
Now, this will come as a huge shock, no doubt, but — it didn’t work! People killed each other! Even though they were expressly asked not to!
“A 24-year-old man was shot in Pigtown, near Carroll Park, around 5 p.m. Saturday and pronounced dead at Maryland Shock Trauma Center,” The Baltimore Sun reported Sunday. “A 37-year-old man was killed in a shooting in the 1600 block of Gertrude Street in Northwest Baltimore about 10 p.m. A nonfatal shooting occurred earlier in the afternoon in the 4800 block of Park Heights Avenue.”
Baltimore has long been the murder capital of the U.S. In 2016, the city of 621,849 had 318 murders — that’s 51.1 per 100,000 people. And they’re on record pace again, with 208 murders so far this year. Make that 210 with Saturday’s murders.
But Errika Bridgeford, a 44-year-old mother, called for a 72-hour truce. Organizers aimed to stop the shooting from Friday, Aug. 4, through Sunday, Aug. 6, with a unified and blunt message: “Nobody kill anybody.”
Their message has been printed on T-shirts and flyers. They designed a website and held community meetings. More than 1,600 people visited their Facebook page. The grass-roots campaign has swelled since it began in May.
“I’ve seen the momentum build over the past several weeks,” said T.J. Smith, spokesman for Baltimore police. “We are all in this together, and we’re 1,000 percent supportive of the efforts.”
While the violence-free weekend was marred with murder, it is, of course, a noble cause.
For Bridgeford, the effort was personal, CNN reported:
“One of my brothers was shot in 2001 and survived,” she said. “In 2007, I lost another brother to homicide. Two of my first cousins were murdered. Three of their brothers were murdered. One of my stepsons was murdered. Two weeks ago, somebody that I watched grow up was murdered. I go to three or four funerals a year…”
“We don’t believe this is a cure for violence,” Bridgeford said. “What we do know is that we are showing the world what happens when people all decide together to try to do something.”
Well, it’s a start, anyway.