I suggest that my fellow Baltimore residents take off their gloves and defend our beloved city against the onslaught of unjust criticism by smug suburbanites. My family enjoys a lifestyle that could never be duplicated in the suburbs. While you enjoy your perceived safety, you live a life in a boring monoculture filled with chain stores and restaurants. You endanger your lives on a daily basis driving long distances for work, school and entertainment. Your children spend hours in the car staring at the headrest or some electronic device. In comparison, I drive less than 2,000 miles a year.

My chances of being murdered — especially since I'm not in the drug trade — are a drop in the bucket, compared to your chances of being killed in an automobile accident. Our children grow up in a diverse culture, get to walk places and have more empathy for their fellow man than children of the suburbs. We enjoy several farmers' markets that we can walk to, along with some of the finest restaurants and shopping in the nation. Not to mention the cultural institutions, large and small, which include; symphony orchestras, opera companies, theaters, concert venues and festivals. We live in solidly built homes with beautiful and interesting architectural features, and are much more likely to know our neighbors. Adversity draws us together to work toward a solution, and we don't bunker down in the perceived safety of our cul de sacs.

Ironically, one of the top schools in our state, Baltimore School for the Arts, has folks from outside the city clamoring to have their children admitted and paying tuition for the privilege of having their children attend. So, please, if you choose to avoid Baltimore, whether due to racism, fear, or ignorance just keep it to yourselves and let us enjoy our lives.

Carol Baker, Baltimore