By Peter Hermann
7:23 AM EDT, May 14, 2012
Sunday's story on violence at St. Patrick's Day attracted many reactions. Most people writing me emails and in comments at the bottom story said the city had become scary. It's further proof of the uphill battle the city has trying to show improving crime numbers when one incident such as this can undermine the stats.
Many readers, as they do time and again, pressed for why the racial makeup of the crowd was not reported. Simply put, we don't include race unless there is a racial issue to the story. There was not, in this case. I know that answer won't satisfy the critics.
Read the story here, and listen to the police dispatch tapes. Here's what some readers had to say:
I was saddened to read the real details of what went on that night, but after the video of the attack in front of the court house in Baltimore City went viral, nothing else could surprise me. What a terrible reputation Baltimore has for its failure to fight crime, and that video only perpetuates the perception.
My late husband gave his heart and soul to making Baltimore a safer place to live. My daughter and I knew how important this job was to him, and we respected him for it. But, truth be told, we sacrificed a great deal for the City of Baltimore. And to think that so little progress is being made despite the efforts of many hard-working men and women makes me realize the futility of their work.
In 17 days I'm leaving Baltimore and moving back to where I grew up--West Virginia. The chances of a hillbilly hooking up with city lover like Mark seems highly unlikely, but we made it work. Living in Baltimore now is too difficult--it was his town. But I didn't want to leave the area without thanking you for the wonderful article that you wrote when he died. I read your words time and time again when I'm thinking of him, and it makes me remember ( as if I could forget) what a presence he was in the law enforcement community in Baltimore.
In closing, I would once again like to express my heartfelt appreciation for your kind words about my late husband. Good luck and keep covering Baltimore's crime scene in your outstanding way.
Mrs. Mark P. Cohen (wife of a former prosecutor)
A big thanks to you and the Baltimore Sun for that story. I would assume that the Baltimore City folks would want to cover that problem up. Might hurt tourism and the Convention Trade. However, that is a serious problem that folks inside and outside of Baltimore should know about. The City would be negligent for not letting the public know that they might risk life and limb if they come into Baltimore.
I lived in Baltimore for 13 years until 1993. I never heard about anything like that. What the hell happened? More importantly, what is the City going to do about it?
I still love visiting Baltimore (just visited last Friday) but I will definitely limit my visits from now on until I feel that the City has a handle on this problem.
After reading your piece "Downtown mayhem on St. Patricks" I am left wondering where is the rest of the article, the part with the facts, i.e. of those arrested how many were white, how old were those arrested, how many of the victims were black, how much did the extra police activity cost the city. If your going to report, than report the story with some cold hard FACTS. With the resources available to your paper , you surely have access to this. Report the whole story, sir!
Your investigation of the social breakdown St. Patrick's Day doesn't mention any racial component. Are we supposed to fill in the blanks or is your editorial board following the instructions of the Police Commissioner and Mayor?
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