Homicide clock ticks louder as year ends

Look at our national standing.

In 2004, there was one killing for about every 6,500 residents of Chicago, and one for about every 14,550 in New York City. In Baltimore, there was one killing for about every 2,350 of us.

Maryland is the third-wealthiest state in the country, but Baltimore remains one of the poorest and most violent cities.

How long do we abide this?

"We are a strong state, with one major city, we ought to be able to lick this problem," O'Malley said yesterday. "With the wealth of a great economy we ought to be able to do this."

This is my last column of 2005.

I don't apologize for presenting this dreary subject just when we're all revving up for New Year's Eve.

Next month, I hit my 27th year as a newspaper columnist in Baltimore, my 30th as a citizen in Maryland. I'm sick of the waste, year after year, and I'd like to see us defeat this cancer - the drug addiction that drives the violence - before it scrapes away another generation of young people.

Some day I'd like to see Baltimore in full recovery, the worst neighborhoods of the city transformed and made new, with working-class families and renovated rowhouses, and Baltimore's population at a million again, and great crowds forming as the clock ticks peacefully, happily toward the new year.

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