It was a dark night two years ago, and I had to head out to a prayer service just a mile away from my home outside northwest Baltimore City. The carjackings and break-ins had spread to the suburbs, and the security situation was worse than at any time in my entire life, including during the Freddie Gray riots in 2015 and during the crime wave of the early 1990s. My neighbors were scared to even take their trash to the curb at night, although there were plenty of muggings and carjackings occurring during broad daylight too. To carry my gun or not to carry – that was the question on my mind this particular night.
You see, growing up just outside northwest Baltimore City (the county is also called Baltimore) my entire life, I developed a good sense of caution mixed with a good sense of geography. I always had negative feelings associated with the direction “south,” because the further south we’d travel from home, the worse the potholes would be to maneuver and the more likely you’d get mugged … or worse. Perhaps it was ingrained in me from the day I was born in the hospital in the northwest, where there are shootings every night behind the Saini Hospital campus.
But that’s the thing about Baltimore City, or as we call it, “the City.” The criminals could carry guns all they want and rack up more homicides per capita than in any other city. Yet law-abiding citizens could never carry guns to protect themselves. The police would never be there for us if we were in a pickle, but boy would they clamp down on us if we were caught “illegally” carrying in Maryland.
This was the thought that weighed on me that summer night in 2017. For the first time in my life, I considered carrying my full-size H&K VP9 just to go out to the prayer service, which was a few blocks into the City’s northwest area. It would only be for a half-hour, and I felt I needed it just to get to my car in front of my own home in a suburb! Yet, like most law-abiding citizens, even though I knew that Maryland was violating the most inviolable natural right enshrined even before the Bill of Rights, I decided to abide by the state’s lawless law and not carry.
I knew how strict they were. You see, the police will never be there for you if you are violently attacked in one of the very common beatings that take place in the city and often wind up on Drudge’s website. Even after the fact, the “youths” who have accrued multiple felonies within a few months won’t serve a day in prison because … “criminal justice reform!” But let me tell you, if you are a peaceful citizen seeking nothing more than self-defense via a natural right enshrined in the Bill of Rights, those cops will somehow be there to catch you. And you won’t be a beneficiary of “criminal justice reform, either.
As a result of the criminalization of basic police work since 2015, Baltimore police have retreated from the procedures and policies that have resulted in the two-decades decline in crime in most other large metro areas. Crime in Baltimore has skyrocketed to the point that the city set a new record for homicides with the most homicides per capita of any city in the country last year. While most of the murders have been downtown, the robberies and muggings have spilled over into the suburbs. My neighborhood is, on and off, in the worst security predicament I’ve seen in my lifetime.
With the police on the sidelines, certainly it is up to the people to protect themselves, right? Well, the leftist deviants thought of everything. While they let criminals out of jail and prosecute police officers for doing their jobs, they seriously infringe upon the gun rights of law-abiding citizens. Very few people are allowed to carry guns in Maryland, and many individuals who want to become first-time gun owners must go through a long process lasting several months to even purchase a single firearm for home defense.
Baltimore has a higher homicide rate than Central America! Baltimore’s homicide rate in 2017 was 56 per 100,000 people. That tops the 51 per 100,000 rate in El Salvador and dwarfs the rates of 40 and 22.4 in Honduras and Guatemala respectively. Incidentally, the homicide rates are plummeting in those countries while migration skyrockets.
And guess what? The homicides spiked right after the state passed a strict gun control law regulating purchase of firearms and banning magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.
Thus, in many ways the Twitter spat between President Trump and one of Baltimore’s congressmen, Rep. Elijah Cummings, is the perfect issue over which to frame the future of the country. Do we want a country like Baltimore? A country that will be a sanctuary for illegal aliens, drugs, cartels, and gangs, weak on crime, and tough on self-defense?
The primary purpose of a government is to protect the liberties of its citizenry. Citizens have no liberty without security because they are restricted from movement. Growing up in the Baltimore area, we always had to work around that restriction of movement and ascertain the “no-go areas” within the city. Do we want all of America to be that way, and do we now want to import the criminals of other countries as well? If the president frames his campaign message in those terms and actually chooses policies that will drive the wedge even farther between Baltimore and safety, security, and sovereignty, he will easily win a second term.
The media class is feigning outrage over Trump referring to west Baltimore as a “rat-infested” area. The Baltimore Sun, the house organ for the local Democrats who helped turn this once proud city of one million people into a failing cesspool with fewer than 600,000, retorted to the president, “Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one.” Well, as a lifelong resident of the area, I’d agree with that sentiment, but with one caveat: It’s better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to have violent criminals and gangs protected by vermin politicians with no ability to protect against them. At least rats usually don’t kill and aren’t on drugs, so they run away when you try to defend yourself.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.