“We cannot clog up our hospitals and their beds with people that are being shot senselessly, because we’re going to need those beds for people who might be infected with the coronavirus,” said Baltimore mayor, Jack Young on Wednesday.
Mayor Young said these words in response to a shooting in a West Baltimore park that left seven people hospitalized. It is no secret that Baltimore has had its fair share of violence in the past decade, evidenced by having more than 300 homicides the past five years.
As residents of Baltimore, we may have hoped that one silver lining could come from the Coronavirus. Maybe, with mandates to shelter-in-place and practice social distancing, we would not see the violence that has plagued this city in our collective effort to contain the Coronavirus. Schools became closed for two weeks, while restaurants and bars closed, with an entire nation devoted to stopping the spread of a pandemic.
For once, it seemed like we may have had some respite from the violence, as the newsreel focused almost exclusively on the breaking developments from the Coronavirus in America, as well as our efforts to contain the pandemic. Since I didn’t hear about the violence for just a couple of days, part of me hoped that it wasn’t there.
And then it was. On Tuesday night, in a park on the corner of Eutaw and McMechen Streets, a gunman shot seven people with a semi-automatic rifle and left all of them hospitalized. A responding officer was also wounded at the scene. The gunman is still at large. According to Baltimore Police Department Commissioner, Michael Harrison, there has been an uptick of violence since Friday, March 13.
It was yet another sobering reminder of the consuming violence in Baltimore, violence that not even a pandemic could stop. For people outside Baltimore, the statement from Jack Young about victims of gun violence taking up hospital beds meant for COVID-19 patients was sad and disappointing. For residents of Baltimore, the news was unsurprising.
For me, the violence hits close to home, as a resident and teacher in Baltimore City. I will always remember lockdowns in the classsroom where we fear the…